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Old September 23rd, 2013, 08:35 PM   #101

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Absolutely! People back then were very xenophobic, England was a country that had a problem with foreign queens as well. I think the hatred of her Austrian heritage had a lot to do with the rivalry between France and Austria at the time.
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Old September 28th, 2013, 07:42 AM   #102

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Originally Posted by Danton
For the purposes of this thread would it not be more correct to state that the propaganda campaign against her came in two stages.

I would say that the pre-revolutionary smear campaign was almost completely dominated by a discontented clique within the higher echelons of society, most probably court/noble/parlementaire oriented. And although the services of writers like Marat, Brissot and other radicals were often used, their services at this point were more firmly under the tutelage of others higher in the social ladder.

Once the revolution was in full swing, figures such as Marat and Hebert came more to the fore, while the old opposition, with the possible exception of the Duc d'Orleans, were probably lodged firmly in the counter-revolutionary camp and had quite changed their opinion of Marie-Antoinette in the face of the more dangerous, common threat of the imminent destruction of a social order that nobles and monarch had dominated for centuries.
I agree with Danton, that the pamphlet campaign against Marie Antoinette did evolve. As the Revolution got under way, in 1790 and 1791, the Queen was often coupled with the Marquis de Lafayette and even Bailly the mayor of Paris.

In the pamphlet Bordel National, published in 1790, Marie Antoinette called the "Queen of the French" is depicted having sex with Lafayette while Bailly looks on and applauds. So, that even in 1790 during the time of the Fete de Federation when Marie Antoinette enjoyed some brief and relative popularity as the "Queen of the French", the pamphlets are out in ever rising numbers depicting their Queen as a sexpot trying to undermine the Revolution and its leaders.

Click the image to open in full size.


Caricature from the time, Marie Antoinette getting quite a rise out of General Lafayette

Last edited by Axel; September 28th, 2013 at 07:56 AM.
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Old October 1st, 2013, 07:21 AM   #103
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Mary, Queen of Scots, who lived about two centuries before MA, was a victim of a 'poster campaign'. When her husband, Lord Darnley, was found dead after an explosion, placards came up in Edinburgh depicting her as an adultress who killed her husband. MQS too was a lady who was not politically savvy and could not see which way the political winds were blowing.
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Old October 29th, 2013, 04:09 PM   #104

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As the Revolution continued, Marie Antoinette was increasingly depicted a some form an animal - a hyena, a she-wolf, a panther.

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Marie Antoinette (above) as harpy, tearing up the French constitution with her claws.
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Old October 29th, 2013, 06:35 PM   #105

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As the Revolution continued, Marie Antoinette was increasingly depicted a some form an animal - a hyena, a she-wolf, a panther.

Click the image to open in full size.

Marie Antoinette (above) as harpy, tearing up the French constitution with her claws.
She was a convenient scapegoat in my opinion, a symbol for why the revolution should occur.
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Old October 29th, 2013, 06:40 PM   #106

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She was a convenient scapegoat in my opinion, a symbol for why the revolution should occur.
She was a symbol alright, though not the cause of the revolution. It would have occurred without her. But she was an easy target, being part of both the ancien regime and a foreigner, and she did not know humility (Louis XVI did, but she didn't). All these things combined made her an excellent scapegoat for the political and especially economical problems inherent in the French monarchy.

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Old October 29th, 2013, 06:59 PM   #107

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During the ancien regime humility was not a desired personal characteristic. But in a time where the idea that the ruler rules on the mandate of the people, it certainly is an important personal feature to mimic. Marie Antoinette, receiving power as a child of one secure absolutist monarchy and being accepted into another, was part of the European royalty that had never heard of this concept before. So when this actually became part of the political agenda through the utter and complete upheaval of the hierarchical political world that she was familiar with, it obviously was a completely obnoxious idea to her.

So as an historian it is not strange that she was completely opposed to that political upheaval that was the French Revolution, but it doesn't diminish the fact that she was ancien regime, and never posed otherwise. She stood for what she thought she was, namely part of a birthright elite that was destined to rule by blood, and was automatically of more worth than 99% of the French born population. These rights she never reflected upon and indeed went to her death believing to be right, even though they look rather antiquated and silly to our contemporary Western democractic eyes.
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Old October 31st, 2013, 04:28 PM   #108

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Originally Posted by Gudenrath View Post
During the ancien regime humility was not a desired personal characteristic. But in a time where the idea that the ruler rules on the mandate of the people, it certainly is an important personal feature to mimic. Marie Antoinette, receiving power as a child of one secure absolutist monarchy and being accepted into another, was part of the European royalty that had never heard of this concept before. So when this actually became part of the political agenda through the utter and complete upheaval of the hierarchical political world that she was familiar with, it obviously was a completely obnoxious idea to her.

So as an historian it is not strange that she was completely opposed to that political upheaval that was the French Revolution, but it doesn't diminish the fact that she was ancien regime, and never posed otherwise. She stood for what she thought she was, namely part of a birthright elite that was destined to rule by blood, and was automatically of more worth than 99% of the French born population. These rights she never reflected upon and indeed went to her death believing to be right, even though they look rather antiquated and silly to our contemporary Western democractic eyes.
I think both Marie and her husband were ill-suited for their roles. I think Marie lacked the proper training, and Louis had the training but not the personality it seems. He let people walk over him in my opinion.
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Old June 15th, 2014, 08:39 AM   #109
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Whether she said 'let them eat cake' or not, the words signify the actions of the Royals and the contempt with which they held the French lower classes at the time...If they treated the lower classes with respect the headline in the papers may have said 'let them reign for a thousand years'.

When I first heard about the French Revolution I use to think it was all due to the poor wanting bread and Louis XVI was a terrible tyrant.

But having read a fair bit on the topic of that period including Simon Schama's Citizen it would appear that the French Revolution was more complex and while I differently think that the France of that time needed change but generally the country wasn't completely falling apart.

Marie Antoinette's story is very interesting and while I think in her teenage years she was wasteful but I don't entirely blame her.

Think about it this way, you are a teenage girl
-Living in Versailles
-Have a large yearly budget
-Difficult start to the marriage due to Louis XVI man issues thus no children for seven years
-Plenty of free time
-Fashion capital of the world is just down the road

I think most girls in that situation would be out shopping.

I think she did change as many women do after they have children and she was by all reports a loving mother.

I think the big problem was Louis, in Simon Schama's book it was suggested that Louis never ventured far from Paris & Versailles.

Had Louis given her something to do or if they had travelled the country they may have been able to win the hearts and minds of the people but as is often the case when a country is under economic and political stress the affected population looks for reasons and the government appears to have done little.

Interestingly based on some current economic data, the French economy is today in worst shape than it was in Marie's time.
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Old May 29th, 2016, 01:03 AM   #110

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Very good comments History Never Repeats. Had Louis been a mor forceful husband, things might have turned out very differently.
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