The downfall of the French Monarchy

1. How far did the events described in Source B prove the writer of Source A correct?

The event described in Source B proves the writer of Source B to an extent but does not fully prove it. Source B is a detailed version of Source A and Source B is an event that was staged in the French Revolution which can be used to support the interpretation of the writer of Source A. Source B reveals the insignificance of the King and his impotency to rule his country but also portrays that the King had the power to veto. Source B describes him as an impotent-voiceless ‘dictator,’ “was drinking from a bottle. He was unable to make himself heard and several times he rang a little bell to get them to listen.”

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And each time the King made comments, for example, when he swore that he was in favor of the Constitution the people shouted it wasn’t true and that he had already deceived them and would do so again (Source B). The people intimidated the King in order to manipulate and persuade the King to take action; what the people want. There is no doubt that the King was easily manipulated by the people and especially the government, and the fact that no one really cared much of what he said since he was ‘lying’. Therefore Paris in particular was controlled by the government who supported the King in a way; to use him as a ‘puppet’ to advocate what the nobles or the Second Estates really wanted.

Therefore the government, the city of Paris had the power to send an army of 40 to 50 thousand citizens to surround the Assembly and dictate laws to it since all or majority of the French citizens opposed the King and was ready to support a new government; the Republican France. Even if the Source B proves the point of the writer of Source A, it doesn’t fully cover Source A’s interpretation because Source B only discusses one event and there are many other events that could possibly help support Source A. For example: the passing of new reforms and constitutions; the changes.

2. Explain what was meant by ‘he had already deceived them and would do so again’.

The phrase ‘he had already deceived them and would do so again’ portrays the King as a ‘liar’; untrustworthy person. In fact, the King did deceive the people by his lack of responsibility, knowledge and motivation to change the country and pull the country out of the financial crisis. He was unable to make new effective reforms, changes and constitutions; laws. In addition, the King later engaged France into war and attempted to run out of the country with no public consent. This phrase was used by the city of Paris to manipulate the King even further. This phrase is perhaps a propaganda used by the people who disliked the King and wanted a new government; end to monarchy and feudalism.

3. How useful is this source to a historian studying the importance of the Jacobins.

The source is useful to a historian studying the importance of the Jacobins because the source discusses the role of the Jacobin and the situation that the French society or the country it-self is faced in. Source C essentially outlines the dark characteristics that the Jacobins were trying to free from the nation which corroborates the Jacobins to a national heroic figure; a group of people trying to solve the problems; the advocates of the French citizens: “The Jacobin society is truly the committee of iniquity of the nation” (Source C).

This gives a positive image to Jacobins since it stresses how the Jacobin society was trying to eradicate problems that France is struggling from. Source C gives specific details of the role of the Jacobins and portrays how the Jacobins are necessary in order to make France a better place: “Not only is it the great instigator which terrifies the aristocrats, it is also the great instigator which redresses all abuses and comes to the aid of all citizens” (Source C). For these reasons Source C is very useful to a historian studying the importance of the Jacobins since it summarizes the Jacobins in a paragraph.

4. ‘Do these sources fully explain the downfall of the French monarchy?”

These sources do not fully explain the downfall of the French Monarchy but they do explain one of the major reasons that led to the downfall of the French monarchy. These sources essentially portray the weaknesses of the King; the King being impotent and weak and unwilled-lack of motivation. Source A and B basically portrays how with time and changes, the revolution, the King’s power was becoming limited and how people thought the King as someone that they could manipulate for their own interests and benefit. The people referred the King as a deceiver, “he had already deceived them and would do so again” (Source B).

In addition, due to the impotent King, the city of Paris was controlled by the people, “city of Paris has assumed the role of a king and that it can, if it pleases, send an army…” (Source A) Nevertheless, it is true that the Monarchy allowed himself to be the ‘puppet’ and to be manipulated by the people. Since he was an untrustworthy King, deceiving people, all the clubs came together to unify the nation, “all the clubs and assemblies and churches of patriots demand correspondence with the Jacobin Club and write to it as a sign of fraternity” (Source C). The Jacobins became the advocates of the French society; “is also the great instigator which redresses all abuses and comes to the aid of all citizens” (Source C).

Thus, the Jacobins did not hesitate to attack the King and further damage his reputation and bring monarchy to an end. They were ready to create a new government and a new nation: The Republic of Virtues. The Jacobins seized the power from the monarchy and became the great instigators of France. There is no doubt that the Jacobins and the impotency of the King was two major factors that led the downfall of the monarchy but these sources do not discuss about other major actors that drove the downfall of the monarchy such as the financial crisis, new changes, reforms and constitution and moreover the situation that France is faced in – wars.

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