Following the Second Invasion of the Tuileries Palace on 10 August 1792, Louis XVI and his family were imprisoned in the Temple Prison.

Given the more radicalised government, with the Girondins and the Jacobins in the Convention and the Insurrectionary Commune also exerting significant influence, there were growing calls for the execution of the seemingly traitorous King. These demands primarily stemmed from the Jacobins and had widespread popular support as well; however, the Girondins were resistant to the idea of execution, instead favouring the idea of imprisonment or exile. The strong popular will for Louis XVI to be placed on trial ultimately prevailed, with the former King trialled as ‘Citizen Louis Capet’ on 11 December 1792 where he was found overwhelmingly guilty of treason. The National Convention subsequently needed to decide on a sentence for the judgement out of the three options of imprisonment, exile or death. The final vote count was exceedingly narrow with 359 voting for death and 327 for exile.

As such, on 21 January 1793, King Louis XVI was executed, irrevocably placing France as a republican state. It was a logical application of the common law as outlined in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, but France had now come a long way from the idea of a constitutional monarchy and initially declaring the King’s person as being sacred in the August Decrees.

This execution also intensified the extended war effort between France and the Grand Coalition, where neighbouring European nations such as Spain and Austria, who had monarchical rule themselves were fearful of the precedent being set by France, and thus wanted to crush the revolutionary movement.


See Also

Louis XVI