Louis XVI Condemned: January 17, 1793
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The Jacobins in the Convention feared Louis XVI. As long as the king was alive, he could be the focal point around which a counterrevolution could form. This threat had to be gotten rid of, and the revolutionaries of the Mountain were determined to get rid of it.
Accusations against the king were easy to find. Chiefly, he was charged with conspiring with foreign enemies against the republic. Agents of the Convention examined the king’s papers in the palace of the Tuileries and discovered evidence that he had been corresponding with the Prussians and the Austrians. On November 3, 1792, the Jacobins presented their allegations of the king’s “treason” to the Convention deputies. The Mountain pushed for a trial, but the Girondins resisted them. Did the Convention have the legal authority to try a man who had formerly been head of state, asked the Girondin deputies? But such bland, legal arguments could not triumph over the desire for revenge. Popular anger, stirred up by the Jacobins, won the day. The trial of Louis XVI was set for early December 1792.
On December 10, a committee presented its indictment of the king before the Convention. The next day, Louis himself and his three lawyers appeared before the Convention. For the next two weeks, the deputies debated; Girondin members sought to save the king, and the Jacobins pushed for his condemnation. Continue reading