CHY 4U: To Kill a King

Guillotine by the Tedster, via Flickr
Guillotine by the Tedster, via Flickr

Tomorrow, we will put another political dignitary on trial; this time, however, the dignitary in question, Louis XVI, will probably lose his head. (Before we continue, please remember this: Louis is no longer king, and is now referred to by his family name, Louis Capet.)

The Basics

  • The Constituent Assembly is dominated by two groups: the Girondins and the Jacobins. The Girondins (pronounced Jeer-on din) want reform, but they are moderate; most would be content with a Constitutional Monarchy, a system which still requires a king. The Jacobins (Jack-o-bin), however, want radical change; in particular, they wanted increased rights for the lower classes and the end of upper class privilege.
  • The leader of the Girondins is Mirabeau (pg 185)
  • The leader of the Jacobins is Robespierre (remember that name? pg 185)

The Scenario

  • I will divide you into 2 large groups (Girondins and Jacobins) and a small group representing the king and an advisor or two. Each group will elect one person to play a pivotal role: Mirabeau, Robespierre, or Louis.
  • The Girondins will make the case for Louis’ imprisonment. The Jacobins will push for execution.
  • When making their arguments, each group needs to refer to the impact of the following on France. Remember that your group’s bias will shape how you see these events:
    • Constituent Assembly pg 184
    • Mirabeau or Robespierre pg 185
    • Change in Continuity pg 186
    • The Revolutionary Wars pg 186
    • The September Massacres pg 187
    • From Monarchy to Republic pg 187

The Trial

  1. Mirabeau, Robespierre, and Louis will all make their opening statements.
  2. Following the opening statements, any representative from any group may add points.
  3. One all points have been exhausted, the groups will recess for 5 minutes. During these 5 minutes, the groups will plan the closing arguments by Mirabeau, Robespierre, and Louis

Finally, the Assembly will vote on one of three options:

  • Reinstate Louis as a Constitutional Monarch
  • Imprison Louis indefinitely
  • Execute Louis

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