Run to Varena

Article

July 1, 2022

The Flight to Varennes is the name given to King Louis XVI's attempt to escape from Paris. It took place from June 21 to 23, 1791, and ended in failure. French citizens captured the king in the border town of Varennes, after which the event was named.

Escape

In the spring of 1791, it was rumored that the king's escape was being prepared. And indeed, on June 21, 1791, Paris learned that the king had fled. In the first moments, Paris was stunned, thinking that the king would bring the army and disperse the revolutionaries. Then the citizens began to arm themselves, similar to the event that preceded the fall of the Bastille. The Constituent Assembly said in an official announcement that the king had been kidnapped. On June 23, not far from the border, near the small town of Varena, the head of the post station recognized the king disguised as a lackey. Soon, several thousand people gathered there and demanded that the king return to Paris. So the king, accompanied by the people, was taken to Paris. He justified himself by saying that he had been kidnapped.

Consequences

There was no doubt about the king's intentions. The king's escape attempt contributed to the strengthening of the democratic movement. The Cordilleras demand that the Constituent Assembly declare a republic. The assembly came up with a story about the abduction of the king. Louis was acquitted despite Robespierre's protests. The Cordilleras gathered on July 17, 1791 on the Field of Mars with the intention of signing the republican petition. The assembly, justifying some riots, dispersed the crowd with weapons. The National Guard fired into the crowd without warning. About fifty people died. Several democratic newspapers stopped being published, and the Cordillera Club was closed. The conservative part of the Jacobins separated and formed a special club of the Feiantines. Robespierre approached the Jacobins without thinking, while the Fayettes and Lametists (merged into the Feyants) and the constitutionalists were ready for an agreement with the king. The king swore allegiance to the nation again and accepted the 1791 constitution.

See more

The French Revolution

Sources

History of the New Century - J. V. Tarle (page 64) Albert Soboul; The French Revolution, Forward, Zagreb (1966)

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