The French Revolution   View more episodes

Aired at 06:00 AM on Sunday, Jan 09, 2011 (1/9/2011)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:01North America.
00:00:04ill-fated conflict all bupted France of money and prestige, leaving the country's coffers drained even as its population is growing bigger every day.,, With diseases like the plague a distant memory, fewer people are dying, but more and more of them >> France grew from 20 million to 26 million in the 18th century after having grown only 1 million in the preceding two centuries.
00:00:35That put tremendous strain on what was there, and so there was a lot of anxiety.
00:00:41>> Herrmann: Four years after the royal wedding, Princeou' grdfather se his final battle...
00:00:48with smallpox.
00:00:50Louis XV dies a defeated and unpopular king and leaves behind a country on the brink of chaos.
00:00:59In a lavish ceremony, young Prince Louis inherits the throne and is crowned King Louis XVI.
00:01:07Despite his insistence on a grandiose coronation, Louis is all too aware that he is woefully unprepared for the job.
00:01:16>> Louis XVI, the moment his grandfather dies and it suddenly is clear that he's king, he doesn't know what to do.
00:01:23He feels as if the world is falling in upon him.
00:01:25So although he's been educated in the full expectation of becoming king, he doesn't feel ready for it.
00:01:34>> Herrmann: For a kingdom in crisis, Louis XVI is the worst man to have on the watch.
00:01:41The 20-year-old king prays, "Protect us, Lord, for we reign too young." Ensconced in their royal apartments in Versailles, Louis and Marie begin their promising new lives as young monarchs while, only 12 miles away in the city of Paris, another new era is dawning, one that is on a collision course with the monarchy itself.
00:02:08It is a dangerous new age of ideas, the Age of Enlightenment.
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00:04:20ó#qñf w,, >> Herrmann: As the royal carriage approaches the esteemed Louis-le-Grande college, crowds gather for a glimpse of grandeur.
00:06:13It is a day to welcome the newly crowned king, Louis XVI, and his lovely Austrian wife to the city of Paris.,, And at the head of the welcome party is a promising young law student, Maximilien Robespierre >> When Robespierre was a schoolboy, the king visited the college, and Robespierre gave a Latin address to the king.
00:06:43So he actually spoke to Louis XVI when he was a teenager.
00:06:47>> Herrmann: As robespierre respectfully delivers his Latin soliloquy, the king hardly notices the boy.
00:06:54But years later, their fates,, will again intertwine under very different, much darker circumstances.
00:07:03>> It was one of these rituals that take place in every school.
00:07:07And yet, of course, it was so charged with irony, because here you had the young Robespierre reading this discourse in honor of the man he would later kill.
00:07:16>> Herrmann: For now, the welcome is warm and the flattery sincere.
00:07:23The visit from the royals may have won the hearts of the people, but their minds are leaning increasingly in an entirely different direction.
00:07:32Since the Middle Ages, European society had been broken into three distinct classes dictated by birth.
00:07:39There was a great divide between the wealth of the nobility and the clergy and the poverty of the peasants.
00:07:46Then, at the blossoming of the 18th century, reason and science began to challenge this age-old tradition.
00:07:54Swept up on a current of innovation and new literature, Paris now radiates as the philosophical center of the world.
00:08:01The city pulses with a great flourishing of knowledge, a shining beacon of possibility.
00:08:08It is the Age of Enlightenment.
00:08:11>> The enlightenment is a movement which says, "Don't trust authority.
00:08:15Don't trust anything that you've been told by anybody else Think it out for yourself.
00:08:20Test it for yourself." >> In old-regime Europe, you were told what to think.
00:08:25You were given information from above by your rulers, by your priests.
00:08:30And so the idea that you could map out all of human knowledge and then have access to it was revolutionary.,, >> Herrmann: In elite salons across Paris, aristocrats gathered to discuss Enlightenment authors and the burgeoning Age of Reason.
00:08:48Voltaire, Rousseau-- fresh voices who championed liberty, control of one's own destiny, and, above all, equality.
00:09:00The passion for this new literature is highest among the upper class.
00:09:05But as Enlightenment ideas take root at all levels of society, the drive for equalityegin to threaten the aristocratic way of life.
00:09:15>> What makes you dangerous is, it means you will eventually question, "Why are aristocrats the ones with privilege?
00:09:22And can't we change the world to make it a better place?
00:09:25Isn't progress possible?" All of that will eventually undermine the idea that monarchy is natural, aristocracy is natural, and hierarchy is natural.
00:09:35>> Herrmann: To see Enlightenment ideals in action, one need only look across the Atlantic, where the Americans are fighting for freedom from France's,, old nemesis, Great Britain.
00:09:47Young King Louis wants revenge for his grandfather's defeats, and he sees an opportunity in the American war of independence.
00:09:55Louis commits to the cause a total of 2,000,000,000 livre, enough to feed and house 7 million French citizens for a year.
00:10:04His investment would mark the beginning of financial collapse for France.
00:10:09>> America bankrupts France, in effect, because the debt which the French monarchy incurs in order to fight the American,, war of independence turns out to be absolutely crucial in the situation of the French monarchy, because the French monarchy cannot pay those debts.
00:10:29>> Herrmann: While louis sends money and troops across the Atlantic, Marie is busy incurring debts of her own.
00:10:37Life at Versailles is a never-ending routine of archaic ritual and formality.
00:10:43There are ceremonies for the waking of the king and queen, for dressing, for dining, for retiring to bed.
00:10:50To keep herself amused,, amidst the ritual drudgery, Marie-Antoinette presides over a parade of increasingly outrageous fashions.
00:11:00>> Marie was obsessed with fashion, especially these towering hairdos that were several feet high that took hours and hours in the construction and fit all sorts of ornaments and fruits.
00:11:12And to many people, they seemed like an obscenity.
00:11:14They came to represent all that was wrong with her and with Versailles and that culture.
00:11:21>> Herrmann: Marie occupies herself with court gos,, of plays.
00:11:29As her expenses accumulate, Marie earns the nickname Madame Deficit.
00:11:35>> Marie is given the name Madame Deficit as the country is in economic chaos.
00:11:40And she continues to spend as if nothing's happened on dresses and jewels and shoes and-- she was the Imelda Marcos of her day.
00:11:50>> Herrmann: Of all the debts Marie incurs, the greatest is what she owes her country: an heir to the throne.,, In the seven years since their marriage, Louis and Marie have yet to produce a child.
00:12:05Marie finds herself in an increasingly humiliating position.
00:12:11>> The job of the queen is to produce a male heir.
00:12:16It's absolutely essential for there to be a son.
00:12:19And during that time, people criticize.
00:12:22People are dissatisfied.
00:12:23People say, "The king should never have married this Austrian archduchess, and now she can't even produce an heir to the throne." >> Herrmann:,, Louis' appetite for food is unquestioned.
00:12:35But sex is clearly nothe menu.
00:12:42>> Marie-Thérèse, the mother of Marie-Antoinette, questioned, "If a girl as gorgeous as my daughter cannot get him going, then what is going on?" >> Louis XVI and his young wifeonceive for seven years.
00:12:58This cast a pall on the beginning of his reign.
00:13:01And because his hobby as a locksmith was well-known,,, there were all sorts of salacious songs circulating to the effect that the locksmith was having a hard time finding the keyhole.
00:13:14>> Herrmann: Louis' disinterest in sex is seen as a lack of bravado as a king.
00:13:20Finally, after years of frustration and pressure from the court, Louis is diagnosed with a treatable condition called phimosis.
00:13:30>> Louis had a deformity that made arousal extremely painful.
00:13:34Therefore, there was no consummation until there was a surgical procedure that could correct this.
00:13:39But he was scared to death to have it, and it took years for him to agree to have it.
00:13:44And when he finally did, voila.
00:13:47[baby crying] >> Herrmann: After a simple surgery, the couple is able to have their first child, Marie-Thérèse.
00:13:55But there is no easy fix for the years of damage to Marie's image.
00:14:00Since the early 1780s, libelleshave circulated throughout the country, pornographic satire of the king and queen.
00:14:09Obscene pamphlets mock Louis' impotence and portray Marie as a promiscuous harlot in a debauched and decadent court.
00:14:18The people's view of the monarchy sours as conditions in the countryside worsen.
00:14:25After a succession of bad harvests, deregulation has raised the cos leading to a shortage of the very heart of the French diet, bread.
00:14:38But the hardships naturally stop at the gates of Versailles.
00:14:44As the royals continue to live,, in extravagance, complaints are committed to paper.
00:14:50One charge is leveled directly at the royal court.
00:14:54>> "Do you know why there are so many needy people?
00:14:57It is because your luxurious existence devours in one day the substance of 1,000 men." >> Herrmann: T behind this charge?
00:15:07The same young man who, just a few years earlier, regaled the king and queen after their coronation, Maximilien Robespierre.
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00:19:03ioiol 2HR - Glob,, >> Herrmann: Versailles in the late 1700s is an oasis of extravagance surrounded by a land in despair.
00:19:29And with an uncertain king at the helm, France is charting a course for disaster.
00:19:38After 19 years of marriage, Louis has sired four children.
00:19:42Yet as a king, he remains impotent.
00:19:46In an attempt to demonstrate leadership, Louis dabbles in financial reforms.
00:19:51But his misguided interfering burdens the poor with heavy taxes while the nobility pay hardly at all.
00:19:59With the economy in ruins and the people restless, it seems as if even the heavens are angry, smiting France with the most bitterly cold winter in 90 years.
00:20:12>> If ever God intervened to make a situation worse, the summer of 1788 and the spring of 1789 is a moment when that happens.
00:20:21By the summer of 1788, you already have a burgeoning political crisis.
00:20:26And it's developing against the background of very serious food shortage.
00:20:32>> Herrmann: For the people of France in the 18th century, flour is the essence of life itself, bread the measure of existence.
00:20:42>> Most ordinary people in France ate at least two pounds a day of bread.
00:20:46Bread was all-important.
00:20:47Its price was immediately felt by everyone.
00:20:50If the price doubled, you were in big trouble.
00:20:53>> Herrmann: Under louis' financial mismanagement, the cost of flour skyrockets.
00:21:01Sparse food supplies are hoarded.
00:21:04The cost of a loaf of bread soon equals a month's earnings.
00:21:09Hunger turns to rage.
00:21:15Riots break out across France.
00:21:19Homes are robbed.
00:21:22[glass smashes] Bakeries are raided.
00:21:26Shopkeepers suspected of stockpiling bread,, are lynched on the spot.
00:21:35With the economy in shambles, the banks force Louis to hire a finance minister, Jacques Necker.
00:21:42An enlightened thinker, Necker is popular with the people in a way >> Jacques Necker was undoubtedly the most popular minister throughout the spring of '89, because he's taken the line publicly in his writings that the government's duty,, is to make sure that there is enough bread and grain for everybody.
00:22:08>> Herrmann: The nation in fiscal crisis, Necker urges Louis to call a meeting of the traditional representative body of the kingdom, the Estates-General.
00:22:17It is the first time the representatives have been called together in 175 years.
00:22:25>> France was politically organizing something called the Estates.
00:22:29The first estate was the clergy.
00:22:30The second estate was the nobility.
00:22:32And the third estate was everyone else.
00:22:34And by contemporary reckoning, the first two estates occupied 3% of the population and the third estate 97% of the population.
00:22:44>> A lot of people felt it was very unfair for this third estate, which was most of the population, to only have one-third of the deputies.
00:22:51They felt it was very unfair that this should be a three-chamber parliament where two chambers, the nobility and the clergy, could always outvote the commoners.
00:22:58>> Herrmann: May 4, 1789.
00:23:01A skilled young lawyer and politician arrives at Versailles.
00:23:06Maximilien Robespierre comes to stand before,, the Estates-General as a deputy to fight for a fair voice for the people he represents, the third estate.
00:23:18An orphan from the provinces, Robespierre had risen to academic prominence on a prestigious scholarship, becoming an eloquent speaker, prim in appearance with never a hair nor a phrase out of place.
00:23:33Back home in the small town of Arras, the Enlightenment ideas he had absorbed in the salons of Paris found a powerful voice, as he became a hometown lawyer for the downtrodden.
00:23:47>> By the time he went back and started to practice as a lawyer, he was reading very widely in the Enlightenment.
00:23:52And Robespierre was someone who, when he was practicing law in Arras, tried to a bring the ideas of the Enlightenment in to the cases he was fighting.
00:23:59>> Herrmann: At the Estates-General, Robespierre and his colleagues are demanding that the nobility and clergy pay taxes.
00:24:06But Louis feels increasingly threatened by the growing radicalism of the third estate.
00:24:11Then, on June 20th, after a six-week deadlock, the deputies arrive to find,, that they are being silenced.
00:24:17>> On June 20th, when the deputies come to their meeting and find the doors locked, they suspect a plot.
00:24:24They move next door to what we call a tennis court, which was really a handball court, and gather together and swear they will not stop meeting until they have a new constitution.
00:24:37>> Herrmann: The deputies declare themselves a new national assembly, the true representatives of the people of France.
00:24:46>> The Tennis Court Oath is one of these great symbolic, moments in the history of the French Revolution.
00:24:52You had these people assembled in this great open space of the tennis court raising their arms in this sort of quasi-Roman salute.
00:24:58And for the National Assembly, this was a moment when they've realized something of their power and their dignity and saw that they really could defy France's king.
00:25:08>> Herrmann: In one revolutionary stand of defiance, the National Assembly is born.
00:25:14It will be a communion of voices from around the country, a parliamentary body enacting the people's will.
00:25:22But wresting power from the king would not be so easy as signing >> All of these early victories that take place at Versailles are largely paper victories, and they have no teeth to back them up.
00:25:36And the fear that happens, takes over the deputies at Versailles as we approach mid-July is that the king is gathering his forces to disperse them, to overthrow them.
00:25:48>> Herrmann: By early july, 30,000 of the king's troops are taking positions around Paris.
00:25:55To defend themselves,,, the people form a new national guard.
00:26:00Rioters raid Paris' armories and make away with over 28,000 muskets.
00:26:08The only thing missing is gunpowder, and the people know just where to get it.
00:26:15In the center of Paris, there looms a massive stone dungeon notorious as a symbol of feudal rule, the Bastille.
00:26:27The prison houses the city's stores of gunpowder and is legendary as a den of torture and unspeakable deaths.
00:26:35>> The Bastille had been the great symbol of royal despotism, the great symbol of the kings of France running beyond the just limits of their own power, a symbol of horror for the people of France.
00:26:46>> Herrmann: Amidst the rioting, there is a stunning outrage.
00:26:49Louis fires his finance minister, the people's beloved Jacques Necker, seen as too sympathetic to the masses.
00:26:58Hours after Necker is fired, word reaches Paris that their man on the inside has been ousted.
00:27:04There is nothing left but revolt.
00:27:08On July 14th, crowds band together, identifying themselves with a small cockade: red and blue for the colors of Paris separated by white, the color of the house of Bourbon.
00:27:20The Tricolore is born.
00:27:24From the feverish crowd, a voice cries out, "To the Bastille." >> Attacking the Bastille means that the people of Paris are saying, "You cannot get rid of the new National Assembly.",, The people are acting.
00:27:38They're arming themselves.
00:27:40And they're basically saying, "We take the side of the revolution." >> Herrmann: At the sight of the approaching mob, the governor of the Bastille, Bernard de Launay, attempts to lock down the prison.
00:27:53He mounts a hopeless defense, and the marauders storm the fortress and tear into the guards with knives and pikes.
00:28:01Finally, de Launay surrenders.
00:28:03But the enraged mob engulfs him, dragging him through the streets.
00:28:09The jeering horde kicks and stabs at him until he shouts, "Let me die." The crowd eagerly obliges.
00:28:17He is stabbed and shot, and a revolutionary tradition is born; his severed head is paraded on a pike.
00:28:30>> The deputies in the National Assembly do not immediately condemn this act of violence.
00:28:37In fact, they accept it.
00:28:39And it was this acceptance of popular violence that, in some people's view,,, created a pattern that was to have catastrophic consequences for the unfolding of the revolution.
00:28:54>> Herrmann: With the smoke still clearing over the Bastille, Louis XVI returns from a hunting trip.
00:29:01In his diary under the date July 14, 1789, he writes, "Nothing," a reference to his unsuccessful hunt.
00:29:13An aide interrupts and breaks the news of the riots and the fall of the Bastille.,, Louis XVI asks, "Is it a revolt?" "No, sire," he replies.
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00:31:08,,HdHd ,,ororInternational 2HR - Glob,, >> Herrmann: Victory at the Bastille unleashes the irrepressible torrent of revolution.
00:33:33The people had defied their king and won.
00:33:36There would be no turning back.
00:33:39As a symbol of the defeat of tyranny, the people-- men, women, and children-- dig in with bare hands and tear the Bastille apart brick by feudal brick.
00:33:51They are beginning to dismantle the past itself.
00:33:55>> The French went about,, the process of tearing down the Bastille as quickly as they could.
00:34:00In the absence of powerful explosives, this was done very painstakingly but with a tremendous amount of vigor.
00:34:08And the bricks were given away, sold as emblems of the demolition of despotism.
00:34:14>> Herrmann: The energy of the streets invigorates the National Assembly.
00:34:19A charter is penned within days called the Declaration of the Rights of Man.
00:34:25Under this daring new document, archaic class distinctions are to be abolished,, and all men considered truly equal.
00:34:34>> The Declaration of the Rights of Man was a declaration promulgated by the National Assembly which said in its text that the sovereignty belongs to the people, belongs to the nation.
00:34:43The king is nowhere mentioned in this document.
00:34:46Therefore, by issuing this document, the Assembly was effectively seizing power for itself.
00:34:51>> Herrmann: With the new National Assembly as their voice, the citizens of France set out to change the very fabric of their world.
00:34:59They demand a constitutional monarchy, equal rights for all men, and justice,, under reasonable laws.
00:35:07To provide a greater voice for the call of revolution, Robespierre demands increased freedom for the press, long muzzled under the old regime.
00:35:21The resulting free press is spearheaded byL'Ami du Peuple, "the people's friend." A fiery newspaper full of vitriolic rants and provocation, it is the brainchild of a former doctor, Jean-Paul Marat.,, After a string of unsuccessful careers, Marat found himself living in poverty, for a time finding shelter in the sewers of Paris.
00:35:47It was there he contracted a painful skin disease that now leaves him confined for long periods to a medicinal bath.
00:35:56A bitter and failed Marat finds in the revolution the perfect outlet for his venom.
00:36:02>> Jean-Paul Marat was just one of these professional malcontents.
00:36:06And, unfortunately, revolutions do offer opportunity to professional malcontents.,, Marat took all of that bile, all of that resentment and funneled it into a newspaper that became extraordinarily successful,L'Ami du Peuple.
00:36:22>> Marat was a man possessed of extraordinary anger.
00:36:25You just have to read the pages of his newspaper, The Friend of the People, to see this.
00:36:29In every issue, he displays a complete paranoid mentality.
00:36:33He sees plots everywhere.
00:36:34Everybody is plotting against the revolution.
00:36:36And the answer is very simple for him.
00:36:38The answer is blood.
00:36:39The answer is heads.
00:36:41>> Herrmann: Marat loathes the monarchy's,, relentless extravagance even as poverty grips France and needs only the slightest rumor to lambaste the king and queen in his newspaper.
00:36:53On October 2, 1789, his anger boils over.
00:37:02Word reaches Paris that the king has thrown a party at Versailles, that the decadent royals threw the new Tricolore flag, symbol of the revolution, to the ground and trampled it underfoot.
00:37:14Marat is enraged.
00:37:17He reports the insult in his paper just as a new threat breaks.
00:37:22e kiking has again ordered troops to move into positions around Paris.
00:37:26[horse whinnies] With the coup at the Bastille still smoldering in the minds of the people, Marat frantically urges them to take action.
00:37:36>> "People of Paris, it's time to open your eyes.
00:37:40Shake yourselves out of your torpor.
00:37:43Wake up.
00:37:44Once more, wake up!" >> Herrmann: October 5th.
00:37:50Dawn breaks to the furious,, ringing of bells.
00:37:54Women gather near city hall to protest the shortage of bread.
00:37:58And now fear of the approaching royal troops mixes with anger as news of the king's offensive party circulates through the crowd.
00:38:07Soon, thousands are marching to Versailles, pikes and guns in hand.
00:38:12The women are taking their complaints to the king.
00:38:16>> The core of the crowd was made up of the famouspoissardes, the fearsome fish ladies of the central markets who were known for their brawny,, build and their fearlessness.
00:38:28They were equipped with large knives for scaling fish.
00:38:31They were hugely muscular, because they carted boxes.
00:38:35You didn't want to tangle with these ladies.
00:38:37>> These are women of the poor quarters.
00:38:40These are poor women which are affected by the increased price of bread, by the scarcity of products, who suddenly begin to realize that they must act.
00:38:49It is quite extraordinary how these ordinary women-- probably most of them couldn't even write their name-- suddenly act as the protagonists of the historical process.,, >> Herrmann: Inside the palace, word of the approaching crowd of angry women reaches the queen's chambers.
00:39:06Legend has it that it is at this moment that Marie-Antoinette utters the most famous line she never said.
00:39:14>> Marie-Antoinette did not say, "Let them eat cake." That is a myth.
00:39:20Marie-Antoinette, unfortunately, probably never even noticed the poor people of her country long enough to make such a statement.
00:39:30>> Herrmann: As the mob of women gathers,, outside the gates, Louis understands that the revolution can no longer be ignored.
00:39:37It is being brought to his front door.
00:39:39He agrees to sign the Declaration of the Rights of Man.
00:39:43Yet the crowd continues to grow throughout the night.
00:39:46By morning, 20,000 people are camped outside the royal palace.
00:39:51To close the centuries of distance between the king and his subjects, the angry mass demands that the king and queen move to Paris.
00:40:01Indecisive as ever, Louis is weak to respond.,, His hesitation would provoke a fury in the crowd and put the lives of the royal family in grave danger.
00:40:12>> When they don't get instant compliance with what they want, it really looks as if they're going to massacre the queen.
00:40:21>> Herrmann: A wave of women break into the royal palace, screaming for the blood of the queen.
00:40:29They massacre the guards, decapitate them, and impale their heads on pikes.
00:40:35>> They were like banshees, screaming throughout the palace, "Give me her entrails.",, "Give me her head." "I want a leg." "I want an arm." I think they had grown so frenzied that if they had encountered her, they probably would have torn her to pieces.
00:40:47[dramatic music] ♪ ♪
00:40:52>> Herrmann: Terrified for her life, Marie escapes to Louis' apartments only moments before the women break into her chambers and tear her bed to shreds.
00:41:06The king and queen are now at the mercy of the mob.
00:41:10What the mob wants is a little attention,, from their king.
00:41:14>> The only way the women can be pacified is for the royal family to agree to go to Paris, because once they're there in Paris, then they can ultimately be made to do what the people of Paris want.
00:41:26>> Herrmann: They march 60,000 strong, leaving Versailles with carts and wagons overflowing with flour from the king's storehouses, flanking the royal carriage all the way to Paris.
00:41:42>> The king and queen were forced to go back to Paris with the heads of their guards who had been massacred in the chateau.
00:41:52Their heads had been cut off.
00:41:55This is really a completely unbridled violence.
00:42:01The heads were then made up with makeup and paraded at the head of the cortege with the king and queen following.
00:42:11>> Herrmann: The king and queen must make their new home in the Tuileries Palace.
00:42:16They will never see Versailles again.
00:42:19>> Once the royal family moves to Paris, they are the prisoners of Paris.
00:42:23They know it.
00:42:24Everybody else know it.
00:42:25There are great limits to what they can do or even dream of doing.
00:42:29They are the prisoners of the capital city.
00:42:31There's no doubt.
00:42:33>> Herrmann: Versailles is abandoned, and the Assembly moves to Paris.
00:42:37Power is now with the people.
00:42:42France will have democracy, new laws.
00:42:45And a remarkable and unforgiving form of justice will make its debut on the revolutionary stage:,, the guillotine.
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00:46:08,,,, >> Herrmann: May 1791.
00:46:56Nearly two years have passed since the royal family and the National Assembly have moved to Paris.
00:47:03Robespierre appears frequently at the Assembly and at the Jacobin Club, a debating society named for the former Jacobin monastery where they gather.
00:47:13Now words are the very core,, of the revolution, and Robespierre speaks with an unfailing moral compass.
00:47:21His true north is always the people.
00:47:26He soon earns the nickname the Incorruptible.
00:47:30France is now a constitutional monarchy, the king forced to share power with the revolutionaries in the Assembly.
00:47:38But it seems Louis' share is growing smaller by the day as he is forced to sign law after law dimi his own authority and that of the other great feudal regime, the Catholic church.,, Louis decides the time has come to escape the confines of the new republic and mount a campaign to reclaim his kingdom.
00:47:58>> Louis had decided by 1791 that he needed to regain control of his country.
00:48:04And he knew he could only do that with the help of a foreign army.
00:48:08So the idea was to make a break from the Tuileries Palace and to head for the nearest border.
00:48:17>> Herrmann: June 21, 1791.
00:48:21The king and queen disguise themselves as servants,, and, by cover of darkness, slip out from under the watchful eye of Paris.
00:48:29They make an ill-planned run for freedom.
00:48:34It is long past midnight when the royal family arrives in the small town of Varennes some 100 miles east of Paris.
00:48:42They are close to the border of Austria, safety just a few miles away.
00:48:48But their dash to freedom will go no further.
00:48:51[bell rings],, Rumors of the royals' journey have preceded them to Varennes.
00:49:06A town official stops the carriage, demanding their passports.
00:49:21The official's suspicions are confirmed.
00:49:24It is the signature of the king himself.
00:49:27The townsman is overcome at the sight of his king.
00:49:32But revolutionary guards nearby show no reverence for the fleeing royals.
00:49:38>> He keeps hoping that people will recognize him and there will be a kind of rebellion in his favor.
00:49:44And, much to his horror and surprise, they are not ecstatic to recognize him.
00:49:49They see him as escaping, and, basically, he's arrested and taken back to Paris.
00:49:54>> The idea that the monarch had tried to abandon his people was psychologically catastrophic.
00:50:02That event really broke,, the bond between Louis and his subjects.
00:50:08Now they had not only a kings well.
00:50:17>> Herrmann: With the royal family official turncoats to the revolution, power shifts from Louis, now a prisoner-king, to the revolutionaries at the Assembly.
00:50:28At the very heart of the young revolutionary government is Robespierre.
00:50:32He shines at the podium, calling for liberty, equality, and fraternity.,, He demands universal suffrage and an end to slavery in the French West Indies.
00:50:43And, most passionately, he rails against the death penalty, because in the new Age of Enlightenment, Robespierre wants to discharge all remnants of the medieval past.
00:50:57Europe had inherited a macabre repertoire of execution techniques from the Dark Ages-- unremittingly cruel deaths by drawing and quartering, hanging, drowning, and burning at the stake.
00:51:13>> Under the old regime, there was a whole panoply of very gruesome punishments, and decapitation was a punishment reserved for the nobility.
00:51:21And one of the things that the revolution wanted from the start was to have everybody equal in death.
00:51:25They wanted symbolically to have the same punishment available for anyone.
00:51:31>> Herrmann: Despite Robespierre's opposition, a new killing machine takes center stage in Paris.
00:51:39Physician-inventor Joseph-Ignace Guillotin devises,, a ruthless beheading machine, turning old-fashioned decapitation into a humanitarian experience.
00:51:55Dr. Guillotin describes his new devoice to the Assembly.
00:51:59>> "The mechanism falls like thunder.
00:52:01The head flies off.
00:52:03Blood spurts.
00:52:05The man is no more." >> Herrmann: Always a supporter of bloodshed, the journalist Marat prints an enthusiastic rant in his paper announcing,, the device's new name, "guillotine." It will soon earn a nickname: "the national razor." >> The French revolutionaries believe in humane values.
00:52:32They believe that unnecessary suffering should not be caused.
00:52:38And what they like about the guillotine is that it is quick, it's efficient, and, as far as we can tell, although no one has returned to tell the tale,,, it's painless.
00:52:53>> Herrmann: The guillotine will silence the revolution's internal enemies, anyone suspected of plotting to return Louis to the throne.
00:53:03But it's the enemies surrounding France that most preoccupy the Assembly.
00:53:08There is a fear that members of the extended royal family who fled to Austria willauh an armed counterrevolution.
00:53:16The Assembly calls for a preemptive attack, a declaration of war on Austria.,, But Robespierre argues against it.
00:53:27>> Robespierre is one of the lonely voices who is opposing the war, because he thinks the enemy will win.
00:53:35Robespierre is afraid that the country isn't ready, hasn't got an army that would be able to defeat the enemy, that the enemy might, therefore, come in and destroy the revolution.
00:53:45>> Herrmann: Robespierre loses the debate.
00:53:50In April 1792, the Assembly declares war on Austria, against a country ruled by Marie-Antoinette's, own family.
00:53:59A nationalist fervor grows.
00:54:04If Austria defeats the revolutionary army, Louis will undoubtedly reclaim his throne.
00:54:13And Marie is suspected of aiding the enemy by corresponding with her relatives in Austria and giving away French troop movements with the stroke of her pen.
00:54:28All the while, the king and queen feign adherence,, to the revolution.
00:54:34>> Louis and Marie-Antoinette are playing a double game.
00:54:37They are seeming to go along with the revolution many times at the same time as they are conspiring against it.
00:54:43They are trying to survive.
00:54:45If you want to be generous, they're survivors.
00:54:46But if you want to be-- look at it from the revolutionary point of view, they're liars.
00:54:55>> Herrmann: With the french army already suffering huge loses on the border, word reaches Paris that Austria's ally Prussia has joined the invasion.,, The enemy troops are mobilized under the command of the Duke of Brunswick, a Prussian general.
00:55:12Tension pervades the streets of Paris.
00:55:17And then the newspapers print a letter from the Duke of Brunswick, a manifesto threatening the destruction of Paris if any harm comes to their royal majesties the king and queen.
00:55:30The misguided threat wildly backfires.
00:55:36August 10, 1792.,, 27,000 armed citizens fueled by indignant rage head to the Tuileries Palace and fall upon the king's guards in a savage attack.
00:55:51By the end of the day, over 800 from both sides are dead.
00:55:57The king flees to safety in the Assembly, but the monarchy is no more.
00:56:03Louis is officially stripped of his title.
00:56:05The French Republic is born.
00:56:10The blade of the guillotine,, is christened with the blood of Louis' remaining guards.
00:56:20And Robespierre, once a staunch opponent of the death penalty, has had a change of heart.
00:56:28The birth of the new republic can only begin with the death of a king.
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00:57:16,,,,,,,, >> Herrmann: guillotin's chilling new device hangs over Paris like a warden, the penalty for defying revolutionary law and order.
01:00:36Freshly christened with the blood of the king's guards,,, it will soon put an end to the king himself.
01:00:45By August 1792, with the king deposed and the royal family secluded in the Temple prison, Robespierre and his Jacobins are locked in a battle with the moderates of the Assembly, the Girondins, for control of the national government.
01:01:01And on the streets of Paris, a new political movement takes hold.
01:01:05As a symbol of their rejection of aristocratic tradition, ordinary citizens refuse to wear the knee britches, orculottes,of the aristocrats.,, They call themselves thesansculottes, "those without knee pants." >> Thesansculoesconsidered themselves the true people of France.
01:01:22They were not the poorest of the poor.
01:01:23They tended to be fairly well-off artisans, shopkeepers, people like that.
01:01:28But they were people who at least claimed to work with their hands.
01:01:31Not wearing the breeches, not wearing theculottes, for thesansculottes, was simply symbolism of being not an aristocrat, being an ordinary man of the people.
01:01:41>> Herrmann: Thesansculottes seized control of Paris' city government while the Jacobins and Girondins steer the rest of the country from the National Assembly, now called the Convention.
01:01:54The Convention struggles with the command of the beleaguered French army, which is swiftly losing ground to Austria and Prussia.
01:02:04While fighting back incursions at the border, the revolutionary government cracks down on enemies within, royalist traitors who might deliver Paris into the hands of the invaders.
01:02:15More than 1,000 people are arrested and herded to prison: priests, journalists,,, ordinary men and women.
01:02:24Robespierre concentrates on the internal crisis.
01:02:28But his friend the minister of justice, George Danton, motivates men young and old to join the war on the frontier.
01:02:36He is gregarious and loud, everything that Robespierre is not.
01:02:40Soon, Danton's name is heard throughout Paris.
01:02:44>> Danton is a bigger-than-life character, a man full of life, full of bombast, tremendous drinker and debaucherer who,,, though he's from the educated classes himself, is a guy who, unlike Robespierre, can physically identify with the working people in a way that Robespierre simply cannot.
01:03:06>> Herrmann: As the enemy closes ianton's fiery rhetoric mobilizes the people, inspiring many to take to the battlefront.
01:03:14>> At one of the moments of greatest peril for the revolution-- the Austrian and Prussian armies are invading--he gets up in front of the people of Paris and shouts, "De l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace, et la patrie est sauvée." "Boldness, more boldness,,, forever boldness, and the fatherland is saved." He's really one of the people who manages to rally the country against the invaders.
01:03:32It's an extraordinary moment.
01:03:35>> Herrmann: With so many able-bodied men leaving for the front, Paris is left defenseless, its jails bursting with political prisoners.
01:03:43An unsettling fear floods the city.
01:03:46The growing mass of prisoners may be impossible to contain.
01:03:50Marat puts out a bloodthirsty call for revolutionary citizens to descend upon the prisons and slaughter all inside.
01:03:58>> The foreign armies were advancing on Paris.
01:04:02Had they linked up in Paris with these bitter enemies of the revolution and the prisoners, of course, then the results would have been fairly horrific from the standpoint of the people.
01:04:15>> Herrmann: In the first week of September, disastrous news arrives from the front.
01:04:20Prussia has taken Verdun, a town on the road to Paris.
01:04:24The enemy is now just miles away.
01:04:28The fear gripping Paris explodes.,, Thesansculottesbreak into the prisons and unleash a furious assault on the city's inmates.
01:04:40They will leave no traitor alive.
01:04:44>> And thesansculotteswent to the prisons, particularly the prisons where refractory priests were being held, where nobles were being held, where political prisoners were being held.
01:04:52And they started carrying out their own impromptu trials that were very short and that very often simply ended with slaughter.
01:05:04>> Herrmann: Women are raped and brutalized,,, priests disemboweled, aristocrats hacked to pieces.
01:05:11In a primeval slaughter, more than 1,600 are left dead in a matter of days.
01:05:19When word of the September massacre spreads throughout Europe, enemies of the revolution are sickened.
01:05:31Across the English Channel, theLondon Timesgives voice to the revulsion.
01:05:37>> "Are these the rights of man?,, Is this the liberty of human nature?
01:05:43The most savage four-footed tyrants that range unexplored Africa rise superior to these two-legged Parisian animals." >> Herrmann: The revolution 2HR - Glob Even Robespierre understands that things have gone too far, that the people cannot manage the revolution on their own.
01:06:04They need guidance, an iron hand.
01:06:08And with the power of his words, the Incorruptible rises to the forefront as the man who will guide the revolution.,, Robespierre had once pushed for a constitutional monarchy.
01:06:22Now he believes there is no longer room for the king.
01:06:26A momentous decision is made.
01:06:29France will put its own king on trial.,, With the verdict a foregone conclusion, the only debate left is punishment.
01:06:43The moderates, the Girondins, call for sparing Louis' life, which isolates them in the Convention.
01:06:50>> The Gironde really crystallized as a faction in the Convention over the debate over the king, because they, while they certainly wanted a republic, they were less sure that the king should actually have to die.
01:07:01>> Herrmann: But the girondins are outnumbered by the Jacobin call for blood.,, >> Why did the Jacobins want to kill the king?
01:07:09I think they wanted to kill the king because, as Robespierre brilliantly said, you have to kill the king so the revolution can live.
01:07:17If the king is right, then the revolution is wrong.
01:07:20>> In any system there had ever been,,, there's only one penalty for treason, and that is death.
01:07:27So in this sense, if the king is guilty of betraying the country in a time of war, then the argument is that he must suffer,, the death of a traitor.
01:07:43[gavel banging] >> Herrmann: On january 20, 1793, Louis XVI is declared guilty.
01:07:50The sentence is read.
01:07:52The king must die.,, That evening, Louis is briefly reunited with his family.
01:08:03Calm in the face of their tears, he promises to return the next morning to say a final good-bye.
01:08:10He will not.
01:08:11He cannot bear his family's anguish and must not weaken on the way to the guillotine.
01:08:18[dramatic music] The next morning, a closed carriage brings Louis to the scaffold.
01:08:29And he stoically makes his way to the blade.,, He attempts to give a speech.
01:08:51>> "I trust that my death will be for the happiness of my people.
01:08:55But I grieve for France, and I fear that she may suffer the anger of the Lord." >> Herrmann: But the guards drown him out with a drumroll.,,, At 10:22 a.m., the man who once was king is no more.
01:09:36In the Temple prison, Marie hears the cannons fire,, heralding the death of her husband.
01:09:43She collapses in despair.
01:09:49The king's blood is spilled, the revolutionaries victorious.
01:09:54But the enemies of the,, revolution will soon claim a victory of their own.
01:09:59Their target: The man who is calling for so many heads to roll, Jean-Paul Marat.,, congestion right.
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01:11:01,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, >> Herrmann: The execution of Louis XVI marks ultimate victory for the revolutionaries, a pivotal moment when a young nation, the French republic,,, is literally born in blood.
01:14:11By the end of 1792, the radical Jacobins, believing the young revolution is in danger of being sabotaged by traitors, are steering the revolution with more and more violent means.,,