from the trial of King Louis XVI before the National Convention in 1792.
Louis was officially arrested on August 13, 1792
and sent to the Temple, an ancient Paris fortress used as a prison. On
21 September, the National Assembly declared France to be a republic
and abolished the monarchy.
were partial to keeping the deposed king under arrest, both as a
hostage and a guarantee for the future. The more radical members –
mainly the Commune and Parisian deputies who would soon be known as the
– argued for Louis's immediate execution. The legal background of many
of the deputies made it difficult for a great number of them to accept
an execution without due process of some sort, and it was voted that
the deposed monarch should be tried before the National Convention, the
organ that housed the representatives of the sovereign people.
On 11 December, among crowded and silent streets,
the deposed king
was brought from the Temple to stand before the Convention and hear his
indictment, an accusation of High Treason and Crimes against the State.
On 26 December, his counsel, Raymond de
Sèze, delivered Louis's response to the charges, with the
assistance of François Tronchet
On 15 January 1793, the Convention, composed of 721
deputies, voted out
the verdict, which was a foregone conclusion – 693 voted guilty, and
none voted for acquittal. The next day, a voting roll-call was carried
out in order to decide upon the fate of the king, and the result was,
for such a dramatic decision, uncomfortably close. 288 deputies voted
against death and for some other alternative, mainly some means of
imprisonment or exile. 72 deputies voted for the death penalty, but
subject to a number of delaying conditions and reservations. 361
deputies voted for Louis's immediate death.
"Louis XVI of France" Wikipedia
"The Inviolability Controversy in the
Trial of Louis XVI" (Ronald L. Hayworth)(pdf)
Indictment of Louis XVI, Account of
Execution, Proclamation of Death (The History Guide)
Mock Trial Exercise for the trial
Louis XVI (Society for French Historical Studies)
"Trial of Marie Antoinette" (by Thomas
"Marie Antoinette" Wikipedia
The execution of King Louis XVI
(January 21, 1793)
Scene from the two-day trial of Marie Antoinette (October 1793)
History Channel. The French Revolution
PBS. Marie Antoinette: A Film by David Grubin
(120 minutes, 2006).
Cronin, Vincent. Louis and Antoinette
Hibbert, Christopher. The Days of the French Revolution
Jordan, David. The King's Trial
California Press, 1979).
Mason, Laura. The French Revolution: A Document Collection
Schama, Simon. Citizens: A Chronicle of the French
(Alfred A. Knopf, 1989).
Walzer, Michael, ed. Regicide and Revolution: Speeches at the
Trial of Louis XVI
(Cambridge Univ. Press, 1974).