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Absolutism and Louis XIV


The King is considered responsible only to God, thus the 'Divine Right of Kings' ... Richelieu broke the power of ... Britain received Gibraltar and Minorca ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Absolutism and Louis XIV

Absolutism and Louis XIV
  • When sovereignty or power resides in the king,
    and not n the nobility, parliament, or clergy.
    The King is considered responsible only to God,
    thus the Divine Right of Kings.

Cardinal Richelieu
  • Richelieu broke the power of the French nobles.
  • He leveled castle and crushed aristocratic
  • He established an efficient bureaucratic system
    using intendants, which further weakened local

Cardinal Richelieu
  • Richelieu sought to weaken the Habsburgs at every
    turn. He supported the Swedish king Adolphus
    against the Emperor in the 30 Years War.
  • He supported the new French academie, which
    created a new French dictionary and standardized
    the French language.
  • Richelieu embodied absolutism even though he was
    not a monarch because his policy was one of total
    subordination of all groups (nobles, parliaments,
    and clergy) to the monarchy.

  • The palace was built to symbolize the
    overwhelming power of the monarch. Louis feared
    and distrusted the nobility. Dating from an
    aristocratic uprising in his youth (the Fronde).
    He therefore used the palace as a means to
    subvert them, requiring them to live there and
    thus away from their power bases in the
  • His subversion of the nobility is best expressed
    in the ceremonies of the lever, diner, and
  • Versailles was a prison, whether the aristocrats
    realized it or not.

Inside the Palace
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The Levee
  • Referring to Louis XIV, the Duc de Saint-Simon
    wrote, 'with an almanac and a watch, even at a
    distance of three hundred leagues, you could say
    precisely what he was doing'. A king's day had to
    be perfectly timed so that the officers serving
    the monarch knew exactly what they should do,
    when, and how. The court was regulated like
    clockwork. Levee8.30 am 'It is time, Sire',
    declares the First Valet de Chambre, waking the
    king. The levee, or ceremonial rising, thus
    begins. Doctors, family and a few favoured
    friends successively enter the King's Bedchamber
    where he is washed, combed, and every other day
    shaven. The Officers of the Chamber and the
    Wardrobe then enter in turn for full levee,
    during which the king is dressed and has a
    breakfast of broth. The most important officials
    of the kingdom are admitted it is estimated that
    the usual number of people attending numbered one
    hundred, all male.

  • Mercantilism means a series of governmental
    regulations and policies, which regulate the
    economic affairs of state. Also could be seen as
    a planned economy.

Jean Baptiste Colbert
  • Colbert was another great minister of the period.
    As Louis finance minister, he sought to
  • Encourage French industry
  • Create a strong merchant marine
  • Enforce protective tariffs
  • Develop Canada as part of the French Empire.

Revocation of the Edict of Nantes
  • It was an error because it forced many
    Protestants to flee the country most of them
    were quite prosperous and it was a blow to the
    French economy

The Spanish Empire
  • The Spanish had reached their zenith during the
    16th century (el siglo de oro). There were
    several causes of their decline.
  • Fiscal irresponsibility and mismanagement
  • Lack of a strong middle class
  • The defeat of the Armada in 1588 was a crushing
    blow to Spanish pride and morale, although the
    fleet itself was quickly rebuilt.
  • Business and agriculture had begun to suffer
  • A series of kings after Philip II who were unfit
    and unable to deal with any of these problems.

  • Louis sought to push into Germany to the Rhine
  • He wanted to control all of Flanders
  • He wanted to install a Bourbon on the Spanish
    throne, thus capturing the Spanish Empire for
  • In the short term he succeeded in capturing
    territory in each of these areas. But over time,
    none of these conquests would be permanent

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Absolutism vs. Totalitarianism
  • Absolutism differs from totalitarianism in that
    absolute monarchs did not control all aspects of
    their subjects lives, as a totalitarian leader

The Wars of Louis XIV
  • Louis wars devastated the French economy, and
    most of the tax burden fell on the peasantry. The
    Nobles and the Church could not be taxed by
    French law.
  • Later Louis broke precedent by taxing his nobles
    to pay for his wars.

The War of the Spanish Succession
  • Charles II of Spain was retarded and impotent,
    the result of generations of Habsburg inbreeding.
    Upon his death in 1700, Louis XIV and the
    Austrian Habsburgs were the main claimants to his
    Empire. When it was discovered that Charles had
    willed his Empire to his Louis grandson, the
    other powers in Europe had no choice but to go to
    war. They could not allow a universal Bourbon

The War of the Spanish Succession
  • Louis was opposed by the Dutch, English,
    Austrians, and Prussians.
  • The war was an attempt not only to carve up the
    Spanish Empire, but to control the high seas for
    future trade and commerce.
  • Peace came in 1713 with the Peace of Utrecht,
    which forbade any union of France and Spain

The Treaty of Utrecht
  • Britain received Gibraltar and Minorca
  • In America, Britain received the Hudsons Bay
    Territory and Newfoundland.
  • Britain also received the right to the asiento.
  • The Spanish Netherlands (Belgium) went to the
  • The rest of the Spanish European Empire was
    divided up.
  • Spains overseas Empire remained largely intact
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