Public opinion can be a pulse check of the people, but it can also be mob rule. Author AK Patch is here
today to talk about a case of mob rule that caused the execution of a queen.
1. What do have for us today, A.K?
When times are desperate, when emotions run high, when opposing political parties vie for power,
media can be used to foster hatred. I’m going to talk about how Queen Marie Antoinette ended up
executed by guillotine in 1793.
King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were wed in 1770 as teenagers to foster an alliance between
France and Austria. Monarchs live in splendor and sometimes don’t tend to suffering of the population.
By 1789, overspending, drought, high prices of bread and taxes, and lack of representation in voting
rights caused the people to revolt and threw out the monarchs and the aristocracy. What happened to
Rumors of a military coup circulated. The people stormed the Bastille, a hated prison, on July 14, 1789
(still celebrated today). The French tried to create a new republic.
2. What happened to King and Queen?
Restricted to their palace in Versailles and with the situation deteriorating, The Royal tried to escape
France, but were caught and brought back to Versailles in 1791. A more radical group, the Jacobins,
attacked Versailles and took the king and queen to prison in August 1792.
By January 1793, Louis was sent to the guillotine and had his head snipped off by the heavy blade,
watched by thousands who cheered the execution of the King. But what do about the Queen?
3. What happened to her?
Put in prison, away from her children and family, in a small dirty room with constant on sight guards
with little privacy, they kept her 9 months.
Rumors were circulated building more against her. Songs were made up about her treason and guilt and
sold by ballad-sellers. The famous statement of “Let them Eat Cake” was made up. They called a cruel,
viscous, hussy. A German tigress.
‘I drain your finances,/ And I laugh at your pains: / By my foolish
expenditure / France is a tomb.’
The papers even passed a rumor that she had sexual relations with her young son. They used media
drive up the hate against her.
In truth, she had no say in the governing. Her husband didn’t listen to her advice to reform.
This was the time of Reign of Terror. During a ten-month period, around 17,000 people were sent to the
People loyal to her, tried to help her escape but it didn’t succeed. On Oct. 16, an anniversary we just
passed, they shorn her off short, especially at the neck line. Gave her a bonnet and white shift to wear.
They brought her in an open cart to be pelted by garbage. As she walked up the steps, she stepped on
her executioner’s foot by mistake. She apologized and those were her last words.
They cut off her head and help it up to the cheers of a blood thirsty crowd. One of the most popular
toys for children at the time were miniature guillotines. The bodies were dumped in a churchyard ditch
and covered with quicklime.
4. What’s the lesson here?
Media has tremendous power to support you, or tear you down. We must wait for facts and evidence
and not be swayed by rumors and opinion, or we’re not much better than those Jacobin mobs who are
said to have killed 40,000 people in ten years. We have to careful of how much hate we foster and feed.
The political fervor is tremendously high right now, and fed by a hungry media looking for ratings and
money. We need to be careful as we garden our republic, and not be too fast with the quicklime.
5. How about your book AK?
Right now, we have promotion on Passage at Delphi on Kindle. It’s a 1.99 for a short period of time. Go
to Amazon- look up Passage at Delphi under my name AK Patch, and start reading book one. I promise
an exciting adventure that is a collision of the past, present, and future. I invite your listeners to go for it.