When The King Took Flight Essay

Words: 1266
Pages: 6

Sunny Duong
HIST 426
When the King Took Flight In June 1791, King Louis XVI and his family snuck out of Paris during the night, hoping to escape from the French Revolution and its violence. He planned to escape the country and return with foreign assistance to reclaim control of France, but the people of Varennes stopped and detained him until authorities arrived and sent him back to Paris. Louis’ attempted escape, in addition to the letter he left behind denouncing the Revolution, “profoundly influenced the political and social climate of France” (223). His escape outraged many people and left the administration in shambles, and this caused tensions to break out. To control the situation, the people of France quickly organized
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When news of his disappearance first got out, a crowd entered the Tuileries, “intimidating and shouting insults against guards and servants” while some of them “destroyed portraits of the royal family” (98). In another instance, hostile groups cornered Duke d’Aumont of the Tuileries guards and assaulted him before the militia came to rescue him (98). The king’s absence set loose emotions of paranoia and alarm across Paris because they feared counterrevolutionary conspiracies, foreign invasion, or anything that threatened their Revolution. The nature of the violence however, changed after they realized that Louis had planned the escape instead. For example, when the National Assembly took their time deliberating on what to do with Louis, many Parisians suspected the possibility of his reinstatement. As a result, demonstrators and marchers periodically entered meeting halls expressing concerns, drafted petitions to get deputies to change their minds, and even demanded a “rejection of the National Assembly” (144). In response, the Assembly pressured Mayor Bailly to suppress the crowds with force if necessary, and he eventually declared martial law. During a standoff between the guardsmen and the demonstrators, rocks were thrown followed by a gunshot. In response to the violence and aggression, the “guardsmen opened fire on the crowds [for about] three minutes” (148-150). Elsewhere beyond Paris, truth of the king’s disappearance incited