Primary Source

Hell Broke Loose, or, The Murder of Louis

Etching criticizing the French Revolution and execution of King Louis XVI


In this English image, as the King’s head is about to fall into the executioner’s basket, bats out of Hell emerge, symbolizing the Revolution. At the same time, God’s favor seems to fall on Louis through a shaft of light coming from heaven. From the first, some English, especially Edmund Burke, were skeptical, indeed critical of the Revolution, and the numbers grew over time. In addition, the English had a thriving group of political cartoonists. These two factors helped produce some very interesting counterrevolutionary images.


Library of Congress,

How to Cite This Source

"Hell Broke Loose, or, The Murder of Louis," in World History Commons, [accessed February 22, 2024]