Age of Absolutism:King Louis XIV FRENCH ABSOLUTISM
Absolutism • Political theory that believed in the “Divine Right of Kings” (Monarchs received their authority from God). • Bishop Bossuet established this in Politics Taken From the Very Words of Scripture. Bishop Jacques Bossuet
Absolute Monarchy in France • Foundations of French Absolutism • Cardinal Richelieu (1624 – 1642) • Policies and goals • Administrative reforms • Cardinal Mazarin (1642 – 1661) • The Fronde – Noble Revolt • Both were able to maintain power because they acted as regents for very young kings
Louis XIV (r. 1643-1715) • Personal rule began in 1661 with the death of Cardinal Mazarin. • "L'État, c'est moi" (the state is me) • Symbolized as the “Sun King.” (Center of France; rays of sun reflect off of monarch onto subjects).
Châteaux de Versailles • King’s residence and center of government. • Spent vast sums of money on expansion. • Royal apartments were at the center of the complex.
Court Life at Versailles • King severed dual functions: that of courtier and that of administrator. • Both functions were aimed at state-building. • The Fronde had taught Louis to distrust the nobility, so he appointed officials from middle-class origin. • He also continued the practice of selling titles (“nobles of the robe” as opposed to “nobles of the sword”).
Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683) • Served as controller of finances from 1662-1683. • Supported mercantilist policies. • Built roads and canals. • Credited for many of Louis’ economic successes and failures.
Domestic Policies • Louis enacted absolutist ideas through domination of the central bureaucracy which had greater control of state finances, the execution of laws and the use of armed force. • Increased royal control over the local parlements. • Defended the policy of Gallicanism. • Revoked the Edict of Nantes in in October 1685 and began persecuting Huguenots; over 200,000 fled France.
Wars & Expansion under Louis XIV • Through a series of expensive wars Louis slowly expanded French territory. • War of Devolution (1667-68) • The Dutch War (1672-78) • War of the League of Augsburg (1688-97)
War of Spanish Succession • Childless Hapsburg Charles II names Bourbon Philip of Anjou as heir. • England, Holland and HRE oppose French acquisition of Spain & territories. • Louis was defeated by the British and Austrians.
Treaty of Utrecht (1713) • War ended with Treaty of Utrecht (1713) and Treaty of Baden and Rastatt (with Hapsburgs in 1714) • Philip of Anjou become Philip V of Spain, but he nor his successors could hold French throne. • Hapsburgs and British gained territory, French lost New World lands.
The End of an Era • Louis XIV was one of the great state-builders of Europe • Despite this, the peasants of France suffered as they never had before or since. This would bring government welfare as a state function in the 18th century • His absolutist policy solidified the place of France as the dominant power in Europe.
The Decline of Spain • Appearance vs. Reality • Spain controls large parts of the New World, Asia and Africa and has trade routes between them – appears to be rich and powerful • Actually, the treasury is empty, the armed forces are out of date, government is inefficient, commercial class is weak, peasants are suppressed and there are too many nobles and priests • Bankruptcies in 1596 and in 1607 under Phillip II and Phillip III
Decline, continued • Under Phillip III (1598-1621) it becomes apparent • Phillip IV tries to revive Spain • Gaspar de Guzman, Chief Minister • Attempts to centralize the government • Domestic reforms • Curtail power of Catholic Church and Aristocracy • Bring governments of possessions under control
Outcome in Spain • Attempts to centralize government are unsuccessful • Thirty Years War • Expensive military campaigns • Total defeat at the Battle of Rocroi (1643) • Internal Revolts/Civil War • Dutch Independence formally recognized by the Peace of Westphalia (1648) • Spanish Netherlands and outlying areas lost in Peace of the Pyrenees (1659)