The Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations - Vol. 2

By Cathal J. Nolan | Go to book overview

Suggested Readings:
François Bluche, Louis XIV (1990); Pierre Goubert, Louis XIV and 20 Million Frenchmen (1966); R. Hatton, Louis XIV and Europe (1976); A. Lossky, Louis XIV and the French Monarchy (1994).
Louis XVI (1754–1793). King of France, 1774–1792. He compromised during the first days of the French Revolution, but refused to accept the August decrees and always hoped for a full restoration of his absolutist powers. In disguise, he sought to flee the country (June 1791) with his Habsburg Queen, Marie Antoinette, to organize a counterrevolution and invasion of France with Austrian help. They were captured and returned to Paris in disgrace. They watched the radicalization of the revolution, including abolition of the monarchy, from prison cells. Louis was tried and taken to the guillotine in 1793. Marie Antoinette followed later. Their 10-year-old son, Louis XVII, died a cruel death in 1795, alone in a dark and isolated prison cell.
Louis XVIII (1755–1824). King of France, 1814–1815, 1815–1824. He was placed on his executed brother’s throne by the coalition that defeated Napoleon I. He commanded little loyalty from the army or the middle class, the two greatest beneficiaries of the French Revolution, and was forced to flee abroad during the Hundred Days, which culminated in Napoleon’s second, and final, defeat at Waterloo. Louis was restored to the throne, again by foreign armies. In foreign policy he deferred to Talleyrand and others who successfully rehabilitated France as a member of the Concert of Europe, paying the required indemnity imposed at the Congress of Vienna. Domestically, he wisely declined to dismantle all features of the revolution, as some aristocrats demanded, and thereby left intact—though he did not like—its more important social and economic reforms.
Louisiana. A French colony in North America, stretching from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from the Gulf of Mexico to western Canada. Unlike Québec, it was mostly untouched by French settlement. See alsoLouisiana Purchase.

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