Was Marie Antoinette an innocent victim?

Originally published at: http://timeghost.tv/was-marie-antoinette-an-innocent-victim/

There’s been a few comments and replies regarding how much Marie Antionette deserved her fate under the latest DicKtionary episode https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxXz0LjB5yw We thought it would be fair to set the record straight a bit. Queen Marie Antoinette She was 15 years old when she was forced to marry the future king, Louis -Auguste who himself…


I agree with much of what you said; however I would mention more about Louis XIV who was ultimately most responsible for the death of the monarchy. He left the state in incredible debt for which there was no cure, and with increase taxes, etc… it pretty much meant that there was no way to recover. Of course it didn’t help that neither Louis XV nor XVI were in anyway competent, and started wars (or financed wars) when state was already in huge debt.

As to people hating Monarchy or even absolute monarchy. There I have to disagree with you on. History of the world is filled with absolute monarchies (Persians, Romans, etc…) for which there were no rebellions, that would abolish the monarchy itself.
It was the debt and taxation that made people rumble not idealism.
We today have a hard time understanding or accepting it, we seem to think that natural order of things is to have freedom, but such concepts are very modern and do not reflect past realities.

Obviously there were no public opinions done in the past, and therefore it is incredibly difficult to know what you average Joe wanted. Yet given realities of life, strong central government seemed to have been preferred by and large, as alternative was typically civil wars. Just look, as but one example, of the rise of Octavian, he was hailed as a god and made into a monarch (if not by title), credited with ending civil wars and giving people peace (even though he was also responsible for all that in the first place).

Similarly which monarchs are remembered? Henry VIII, Louis XIV, Edward III, etc… all very much despotically and tyrannical people. Yet Henry VII isn’t all that well remembered, even though he was one of the best monarchs that England ever produced.

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Fair points - I didn’t intend to say that hating monarchies was the natural state - for many reasons that was the state of affairs in France in the 1780s though. On a side note, I’m a huge fan of Octavian, despite being an autocrat he was a formidable warrior, ruler, and diplomat. The apotheosis of the pre-Caesarian Roman culture if you ask me.

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Makes sense, just wanted to clarify as to not propagate “let them eat cake” type of fallacies mostly due to projecting our ideas and world views on history. The sad thing is that until very recently in Human history the normal part of the world was monarchy and oppression.

I do love Octavian, I am not sure about his abilities as a warrior, there are anecdotal evidence of him getting sick prior to war. It was Agrippa that made Octavian successful. He was in charge of all major victories of Octavian, and should be considered one of the greatest general of Ancient World. Heck his ability as a warrior was only eclipsed by his ability of knowing his place. He never gave Octavian any reason to distrust him and was loyal to the core. He would have been an Emperor if Octavian didn’t live way too long for that.

Still though that said, Octavian was truly an amazing person. He was perhaps best politician and ruler in history of the world. The guy was outright mind boggling, in his ability, and energy.

He also was in a lot of ways the ultimate Roman, in both good and bad meaning of the word.


I’m not a proponent of “The Great Man Theory” but I do admit to being somewhat of a fanboy when it comes to our friend Gaius Octavius Thurinus. I could spend hours and hours diving into good old Augustus here, right now - immediately… but web site development and scriptwriting calls and beckons :wink: BTW I don’t know if being sick before battle is a bad thing, or that it makes you a bad warrior… I’d say it’s healthy sense of risk :sunglasses: But yes you’re right in that Agrippa deserves more credit for their victories than his boss, nonetheless as combined political and military tacticians they were a badass team indeed. In fact the loyalty that Octavian commanded, not only from Agrippa is in itself a sign of his amazing leadership skills (and maybe a tribute to his ability to eliminate opposition).


Marie Antoinette’s execution reminds me of how Nicholas II’s family was slaughtered. The sort of “guilt by association” mindset that takes form during many revolutions and periods of turmoil is quite sad.

I mean, if you want to argue that the French King was a tyrant, then go ahead and make that case. If you think that Nicholas II was cruel, then you have a fair point. But what did their wives and children do to deserve their fates? Absolutely nothing. They had no say in the matter.

Alexei Nikolaevich was 13 years old when he was executed by the Bolsheviks. No matter how tyrannical his father might have been, when you find yourself executing children, you really have to stop and ask yourself
“Are we the baddies?”

The same thing goes for Marie Antoinette. She never chose to marry Louis XVI. She was forced into the life of a noble woman, and she did was she had been raised to do. I feel just as bad for her as I do for Nicholas II’s children; Innocent bystanders who just happened to be associated with the wrong figure at the wrong time.




And a lot of people wanted Adolf Hitler dead because he was a mediocre painter ! In other words, he was germanophone, and spent too much on parades and uniforms, no reason to be hanged. :wink:

What you say is true, there was certainly some of that in the reasons for her condemnation, and i’ll add that the accusations of molestation on her son at her trial are very probably pure inventions, with a fictionnal confession forced from him.
But the version you give seems almost a caricature straight out of a hollywood film.

Leaving aside the fact she repeatedly wrote to her brother, Emperor of Austria, to attack France ( 22th of february 1791, ), and sent letters to Mercy-Argenteau, Austrian ambassador in Paris (25th and 30th of march, 1791 ) detailing the battle plans of the republic, something that’s called, if i remember correctly, “treason”, and usually punishable by death; that before even the evasion attempt, one letter of Mercy-Argenteau to her had been intercepted and revealed (1790), is leaving aside a fundamental part of the picture, wouldn’t you say ?

Unless i’m mistaken and these were discredited ?