THE RISE OF ABSOLUTISM IN FRANCE “L’etat, c’estmoi (I am the state)” –Louis XIV
Absolutism: A form of government in which all power is vested in a single ruler or other authority. Question: “How did the Renaissance, Reformation and Religious Wars pave the path for Absolutism?”
Before there was Louis… • King Henry IV ruled (Paris is worth a mass) • Stabilizes France religiously, economically and politically • Edict of Nantes: Huguenots (number of nobles) given right to hold office • Henry is killed by a fanatic Catholic: stabbed to death while his coach was stopped in traffic!
Louis XIII • Louis XIII comes to power but is young so his mother rules for him (regent) • Nobility still has a lot of power • When Louis is of age, his chief advisor and minister is Cardinal Richelieu
Cardinal Richelieu • Wanted to centralize power in France • Needed to diminish power of nobility • Has their castles razed except ones needed for national defence Question: How does the demolition of these castles help solidify Louis XIII’s rule?
Plight of the Nobles continues… • Richelieu only appoints local officials the support the King • For some positions, he actually appoints men from the middle class who dislike the nobility • The middle class knew that their power resided in the King and they behaved accordingly
Suppression • King & Richelieu see nobles as threat • Spies uncover plans for revolts • Punishments severe & 3 prominent nobles executed for treason Absolutism: The path is paved…
THE RISE OF ABSOLUTISM IN FRANCE 17TH CENTURY FRANCE: • Pinnacle of power, wealth, prestige • Overseas exploration & expansion • Cultural & intellectual leader
Louis’ Upbringing • Comes to the throne as a 5 yr old • Called “gift of God” – arrives 20 years into parents’ marriage • Cardinal Mazarin effectively rules for him alongside Queen Anne
The Fronde • Civil war occurs as result of high taxation and burdens of war • France fought against Spain in 30 yrs War • Louis XIV remembers this war as a child – his family tries to diminish The Fronde • Louis sees this as an attack on central authority & vows to decrease all other powers within France
THE RISE OF ABSOLUTISM IN FRANCE 17TH CENTURY FRANCE • Forms of authority • Monarchy • Estates General • Parlements • towns & cities • regional “customs” Copy the diagram! Estates General
THE RISE OF ABSOLUTISM IN FRANCE RULE OF LOUIS XIV • National army • Largest army since the Roman Empire
THE RISE OF ABSOLUTISM IN FRANCE RULE OF LOUIS XIV • Solidified absolutism • New center of govt: Versailles • Elaborate court ritual Versailles
THE RISE OF ABSOLUTISM IN FRANCE RULE OF LOUIS XIV • Solidified absolutism • Promoted own image: • Sun King • Louis the Great • God’s representative on earth
THE RISE OF ABSOLUTISM IN FRANCE RULE OF LOUIS XIV • Religious unification • “One king, one law, one faith” • Revoked Edict of Nantes, 1685 • Economic Impact is large
Limits of Absolutism • Dependant on many advisors & bureaucrats • Had to compromise with varied interests • Many old privileges & customs continued to exist