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French Absolutism

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Brooke Eubanks

on 5 May 2010

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Transcript of French Absolutism

French Absolutism French Monarchs Absolutism is a form of governance in which a single hereditary ruler exercises complete power
Absolutism in France was a political system associated with kings such as Louis XIII and Louis XIV
Absolute rule meant that the power of the monarch was unlimited, except by the divine or “natural law”
Prior to absolute rule a king of France worked with Estates
In a society of absolutism the king had a standing royal army that was only loyal to him
The army collected taxes for the king and a large sum of these taxes were invested in the army
Wars of the Fronde 1648-1652 Louis XII and Cardinal Richelieu helped establish monarchial authority in France by crushing Protestant forces. They also crushed peasant resistance and doubled taxes
The Fronde War was a major rebellion between the powerful “nobles of the sword” and royal authority
The Frondeurs were the noble families who wanted to limit the power of the monarch to extend their own influence
Italian Cardinal Mazarin had these members arrested and protected Louis’s claim to the throne
In 1652 the nobles and peasant rebellions were put down

Mercantilism in Absolute France
Jean Baptiste Colbert “the father of French Mercantilism”
Was an economic advisor under Louis XIV and doubled the state revenues
The monarchs of France slowly brought France into a deep financial crisis
The Golden Age An abundance of culture and cultural influence during Louis XIV’s reign
Louis portrayed himself as a representative of God
His credo was L’etat, c’est moi or “I am the State”
Bishop Jacques Bossuet justified the divine right theory of Louis XIV

The Versailles Palace Louis XIV built this magnificent palace showing his power and wealth
The palace cost over $100 million to build not counting the elaborate entertainment
Made court life at the palace a social requirement so he could keep an eye on the “captive nobility”
Louis XIV also sold many titles and noble offices to make nobility less important
Religious Persecution In 1685 Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes which had guaranteed toleration for the Huguenots
He also outlawed Jansenism, a form of catholic Calvinism
The king tried to impose religious orthodox but was unable to, which shows the limits of absolute rule
Louis’s instrument of Foreign Policy War
Frances unsuccessful attempt to seize the Spanish Netherlands (Belgium)

Invasion of the Dutch Rhineland The War of the Devolution 1672-1678
Revenge for defeat in the War of Devolution
An attempt to seek France’s natural boundary to the west, the Rhine River
Largely unsuccessful
Seizure of Luxembourg 1681-1697
France retained Luxembourg
The War of Spanish Succession Louis threatened to upset the balance of power in Europe be claiming the Spanish throne for his grandson
The Grand Alliance, fought to prevent this union of the French and Spanish thrones
1702-1714 The Treaty of Utrecht 1713-1714
Restored the Balance of power by allowing Louis’s grandson, Philip V, to remain on the Spanish throne as long as France and Spain were never ruled by the same monarch
1550 1600 1650 1700 1750 1800 Henry IV Louis XIII Louis XIV Louis XV Louis XVI
King of Navarre where he was known as Henry III
He was a Huguenot but quickly converted to Catholicism to save his life
Crowned King of France in 1589, reinstated Catholicism in France
Issued the Edict of Nantes that guaranteed Huguenots religious freedom
Ended war with Spain and began the Bourbon Dynasty
1589-1610 1610-1643 1643-1715 1715-1774 1774-1792 AKA Henry of Navarre AKA Sun King Son of Henry IV and Marie de Medici
Became king of France after fathers assassination
Mother seized full power and brought France into alliance with Spain and Austria
Appointed Cardinal Richelieu as prime minister who instituted the Intendant System- bourgeois official only answer to the king
Married Anne of Austria
Reign consisted of Protestant/Catholic conflict
The centralized policies of his ministers Cardinal Richelieu and Mazarin led to revolts from the nobles
Instilled distrust in nobles and parliament
Married Maria Theresa of Austria to strengthen relations b/t France and Spain
Believed in divine right as king
Reigned during the Golden age, he was a patron of the arts and built the Palace of Versailles
Attempted to reform France and remove feudalism
Conquered large parts of the Netherlands and surrounding area and became the most powerful leader in Europe
Revoked The Edict of Nantes and religious conflicts followed
Great-grandson of Louis XIV
Made his tutor Cardinal Fleury minister, when he died Louis became the absolute ruler of France
Made alliance with Austria ending the long-lasting rivalry
Poor leader who could not effectively organize France
People began to question the French Monarchy and its methods at the end of his reign
Married Marie Antoinette, who had more influence on ruling France than her husband
Hired and fired financial officer Turgot and put economy in bad shape
The peasants requested reform and then rebelled when the government refused
They eventually overthrew the aristocracy and Louis and Marie were beheaded in 1793
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