Could the King have averted the revolution? If so how?
The king could have definitely averted the revolution and in a multitude of ways. The following essay will elaborate on how exactly he could have done so.
Firstly, one of the main long term causes of the revolution was the losing of respect and confidence in the government due to the individual personality of the king. If, from the start, the king had behaved in a dignified manner and took his duties seriously, most probably, the revolution could have been averted.
Louis XVI was very timid and refused to give constant support to his ministers' (example: Turgot) reform plans. This led to a failure of making reforms over a long period of time and making the reforms only when an absolute crisis occurred. It was this sudden change that contributed to the revolution.
Not only that, the king could have discouraged the intriguing of certain ministers to bring others down, but instead adopted a'divide and rule' policy, because he was weak. This undermining of fellow ministers is one of the factors led to Calonne failing in the Assembly of Notables, which led to the eventual calling of the Estates-General.
Furthermore, at the meeting of the Estates-General, the king could have resolved the issue of whether to vote by head or by Estate, and could have hence gained control of the Estates-General meeting. Instead, he didn't do anything and this culminated in the national Assembly being formed and the 3rd Estate taking the law into their own hands; which eventually led to the revolution.
Also, at the royal session (after the tennis court oath), the king introduced reforms that the people wanted to hear. However, he introduced them too late for the people to be completely satisfied. He should have introduced them much earlier.
He was also supportive of feudal dues and privileges in his speech and also said that whatever the National Assembly had done un