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Attack on the Tuileries Palace, June 20, 1792

Attack on the Tuileries Palace, June 20, 1792

Through the first part of 1792, France had been moving slowly toward the first of the French Revolutionary Wars. In April, the king had taken the unprecedented step of forming a cabinet of revolutionary Girondins. On 20 April, war was declared against Austria.

The initial battles were a disaster for the French, and Prussia joined Austria in active alliance against France. However, a delay in their preparations gave France an opportunity to improve its army.

The Revolution at this time was moving into a more radical phase. The Legislative Assembly passed several decrees, notably one against non-juring priests, which the king insisted he would veto. The King furthermore vetoed the Assembly's proposed creation of a 20,000-strong national guard outside Paris, composed of volunteers known as the Fédérés. This led in early June to a break between the king and his Girondist ministers, whom he dismissed. When the king formed a new cabinet mostly of constitutional monarchist Feuillants, this widened the breach between the king on the one hand and the leaders of the Assembly and the majority of the common people of Paris on the other. Events came to a head on 16 June when monarchist general Lafayette sent a letter to the National Assembly, read two days later in that body, recommending the suppression of the Jacobins and other political clubs. The King's veto of the Legislative Assembly's decrees was published on 19 June, just one day before the 3rd anniversary of the Tennis Court Oath which had inaugurated the Revolution. On 20 June, the armed populace invaded the hall of the Assembly and the royal apartments in the Tuileries, but were pacified by the King. The failure of the insurrection encouraged a movement in favour of the king. Lafayette attempted to use this opportunity to heal the breach, but was suspected by people, legislature, and court alike of mere personal ambition.

Comoren Islands, 1989, Louis XVI, Invasion of Les Tuileries


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