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Louis XVI. Towards Revolution. Louis XVI: Ancien Regime (old Order) Absolute Ruler. Massive Debt: French Wars American Revolution Versailles expenditures. 291 million livres of the 591 million livres of national debt was payment on interest alone.

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Louis XVI

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Louis XVI

Towards Revolution


  • Louis XVI:

  • Ancien Regime (old Order)

  • Absolute Ruler


  • Massive Debt:

  • French Wars

  • American Revolution

  • Versailles expenditures


291 million livres of the 591 million livres of national debt was payment on interest alone

Loans to France were actually refused by European banks


Noble Lifestyle choices made the disparity between rich and poor much more visually acute


  • Other French Problems:

  • 360 different codes of law

  • Conflicting weights and measures

  • Lords could charge tolls for crossing paths and bridges…


  • Lords could also could still demand road repairs and harvesting from peasants and

  • Collect fees on the use of mills, winepresses, bakeries and slaughterhouses


Nobles still had very exclusive hunting and fishing rights which ordinary folks did not.

For example, farmers could not shoot rabbits that destroyed their crops.


Lords still gave consent for the selling, leasing of land. Land passed on to a son required permission and fees as well.


Bad harvests contributed to rising food prices and widespread urban unemployment. It was estimated that one-third of the population was living in poverty.


The Austrian Marie Antoinette, queen of France, was very unpopular due to her life of luxury during hard times for ordinary people.


Her perceived insensitivity to the suffering of the poor was exacerbated by her alleged remark, “Let them eat cake,” in reference to the hungry masses outside the palace of Versailles.


The elaborate hairstyles and expensive dresses did not help matters. However, most noblewomen owned fancy costumes, expensive perfumes and wigs.


The royal family became a prime target of hatred at the start of the French Revolution


Ouch.


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