Evenings with History lecture to discuss French royal family escape attempt during French Revolution

Dr. Thomas Kaiser

The next Evenings with History series will explore King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette’s daring attempt to escape from France in the midst of the French Revolution.

Dr. Thomas Kaiser, professor of history at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, will present “Running for the Border: The Royal Family Tries to Escape the French Revolution,” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6, at Historic Arkansas Museum, 200 E. Third St. in Little Rock. Refreshments will be served at 7 p.m.

“Two years into the French Revolution, King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were virtual prisoners in the Tuileries Palace and looking towards an even darker fate,” Kaiser said. “On the night of June 20/21, 1791, they and their children made a daring escape from Paris in disguise and headed towards France’s eastern border, only to be stopped at the town of Varennes and returned to Paris in humiliation.”

The lecture will recount the events of the escape attempt, examine the intentions of the royal family, and discuss the impact of this event on the rest of the French Revolution.

Kaiser is a specialist in the history of 18th century France, currently working on a book entitled “Devious Ally: Marie-Antoinette and the Austrian Plot.” He has won grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Center for the History of Freedom, and the National Humanities Center.

The Evenings with History series, sponsored by the University History Institute, features presentations by UA Little Rock faculty members sharing their current research. Admission to the series is by subscription to the University History Institute, although visitors to individual talks are welcome to attend for free. UA Little Rock students may attend free of charge.

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