Louis XVI was only 19 years old when he ascended the French throne, and his youth and inexperience made him an immature and indecisive leader. The country’s finances fell into disarray, and the expense of supporting the American Revolution almost drove the government to bankruptcy. The young king’s wife, Marie-Antoinette, was extravagant and unpopular; her lavish spending during times of financial hardship only heightened the growing revolutionary fervor. In January 1793, at the height of the French Revolution, Louis XVI was tried for treason and executed.
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Although the National Convention unanimously found Louis XVI guilty of treason and tyranny, the final vote on his death sentence was split 380 to 310.
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Classroom Study Guides
French Revolution (PDF)
Study guide to the events leading up to the French Revolution, from the grandeur of Versailles as King Louis XVI wed Marie Antoinette through the dramatic culmination of the revolutionary period as thousands of dead were left in its wake.