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Chapter 16 Part 1


Characteristics of Absolutism in Western Europe. Bureaucracies in the 17th century were often composed of career officials who owed their appointments to the king and ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Chapter 16 Part 1

Chapter 16 Part 1
  • Absolutism
  • V
  • Constitutionalism

Absolutism in Western Europe 1589-1715
  • Absolutism the traditional assumption of power
    (heirs to the throne) and the belief in divine
    right of kings
  • Louis XIV was the quintessential absolute monarch

Characteristics of Western European Absolutism
  • The Ruler of a country was sovereign
  • The Ruler is not subordinate to national
  • The nobility is under the control of the ruler
  • Will be different in Eastern Europe
  • Nobility could still put obstacles in the way

Characteristics of Absolutism in Western Europe
  • Bureaucracies in the 17th century were often
    composed of career officials who owed their
    appointments to the king and were loyal to the
  • Often upper middle class bourgeoisie (nobility of
    the robe)
  • Control over the Church
  • Maintained large standing armies
  • No more reliance on nobles or mercenary troops

Characteristics of Absolutism in Western Europe
  • Use of secret police to weaken political
  • Those who did not overtly oppose the state were
    usually left alone
  • In contrast to the totalitarian regimes of the
    20th century which required active participation
    and enthusiastic support
  • The difference? Financial, technological

The Philosophy of Absolutism
  • Jean Bodin Believed that only absolutism could
    provide order and force obedience to the
  • His POV the religious wars in France in the
    late 16th C.
  • Was among the first to provide a philosophical
    basis for absolutism

The Philosophy of Absolutism
  • Thomas Hobbes wrote The Leviathan
  • Had little faith in human nature
  • People were naturally nasty and brutish
  • Without strong government control and
    micromanagement chaos would result
  • Did NOT believe in Divine Right
  • But too authoritarian for constitutionalists

Philosophy of Absolutism
  • Bishop Jacques Bossuet BIG advocate of divine
  • Since the king was placed on the throne by God,
    he owed nothing to anyone else.
  • Was a favorite of Louis XIV

French Absolutism 1589-1648
  • In the 17th Century
  • Population of 17 million 20 of Europes
  • Largest country in Europe
  • Huge s helped make France the strongest
    European nation (bigger armies possible)

17th Century French Society
  • Divided into 3 estates based on rank and
  • First Estate The Clergy 1 of the population
  • Second Estate The Nobility 3-4 of pop
  • Third Estate Everybody else from the
    Bourgeoisie to the landless peasants

  • The Clergy and Nobility did not pay taxes
  • The peasants and urban workers had little money
  • The Bourgeoisie supported the whole country

Henry IV 1589-1610
  • Established the Bourbon Dynasty after surviving
    the War of the Three Henrys
  • Was a Politique converted to Catholicism to
    gain popular support
  • But issued the Edict of Nantes religious
    freedom for Huguenots and gave them the right to
    live in fortified cities

Henry IV
  • Laid the foundation for France to become the
    strongest European power in the 17th Century
  • Strengthened the social hierarchy by
    strengthening existing institutions Parlements,
    the Treasury, Universities and the Catholic Church

Henry IV
  • The First French King to take an interest in
    France colonizing in the New World
  • Encouraged trans-Atlantic trade

Henry IV
  • Weakened the Nobility of the Sword
  • They were not allowed to influence the Royal
  • Many of the Nobility of the Robe (who had
    purchased their titles) became high government
    officials and were intensely loyal to the monarch

The Duke of Sully French Finance Minister
  • His reforms enhanced the power of the monarchy
  • Mercantilism increased the role of the state in
    the countrys economy to achieve a favorable
    balance of trade with other countries
  • Granted monopolies in the production of gunpowder
    and salt

Sully and Mercantilism
  • Encouraged the silk industry, tapestry industry
  • Only the government could operate the mines
  • Reduced the Royal debt
  • With systematic bookkeeping and budgets
  • Reformed the tax system (more equitable)
  • Improved transportation roads, bridges, canals
  • Even began to build a canal linking the
    Mediterranean to the Atlantic!

In the Meantime
  • Spain was drowning in debt

Henry IV was assassinated in 1610
  • By a fanatical monk who was upset with the Edict
    of Nantes
  • Henrys death a crisis in power
  • Henrys widow (now Marie de Medici) ruled as
    regent until their son came of age

Louis XIII 1610-1643
  • His regency was a mess
  • Feudal nobles and princes increased their power
  • Some increased their influence at court
  • Some convinced Louis XIII to exile his own mother
    and assume power for himself

Cardinal Richelieu 1585-1642
  • Laid the foundation for absolutism in France
  • Richelieu in spite of being a cardinal- was also
    a politiqueput the state ahead of religious
  • Richeleau introduced the Intendant System

The Intendant System
  • Was used to weaken the Nobility (Sword)
  • Replaced local officials with intendants (civil
    servants) who reported directly to the king
  • Were generally middle class (of the robe)
  • One Intendant per each of Frances 32 districts
  • Intendants were responsible for policing, finance
    and justice in his district
  • Intendants were NEVER placed near their hometowns
  • Government was more efficient and centralized

Richelieu also continued with Mercantilism
  • Built on Sullys achievements
  • Increased taxes to fund the military
  • But new tax system not as successful as Sullys
  • Continued to sell government offices
  • Farmers and peasants were ruthlessly exploited

Richelieu and the Huguenots
  • Tweaked the Edict of Nantes with
  • The Peace of Alais (1629) Huguenots were still
    able to practice their religion freely BUT
  • No more fortified cities and Protestant armies

The Thirty Years War
  • France supported Gustavus Adolphus in the 3rd
    phase of the war
  • France declared war on the Spanish in 1635 and
    also entered the Thirty Years War against the
    HREs Hapsburg army
  • Kept to the same foreign policy of keeping
    Germany divided

Louis XIV 1643-1715
  • The Sun King because he was the center of French
    power just as the sun is the center of the solar
  • Personified the idea that the sovereignty of the
    state resides in the ruler
  • L etat, cest moi
  • I am the state

Louis XIV
  • Was a strong believer in Divine Right
  • Had the longest reign in European History (72
  • Inherited the throne at age 5
  • France was the major power in Europe during his
    reignlargest pop largest army

French culture dominated Europe
  • French became the international language for over
    two centuries and the language of the
  • Was the epicenter of literature and the arts
    until the 20th century

The Fronde (I1640s)
  • Cardinal Mazarin controlled France while Louis
    XIV was a child
  • Some of the nobles (of the Sword) revolted
    against Mazarin when Louis was between 5 and 14
  • Mazarin was able to defeat the nobles due to the
    competition among themselves
  • Louis never forgot the humiliation and will keep
    a close watch on the nobility throughout his reign

The Government under Louis XIV
  • Kept the aristocracy out of the government by
    recruiting his closest ministers from the middle
  • Curtailed the powers of institutions that could
    pose a danger to the throne (the Parlements were
    afraid to cross him)
  • Louis XIV never called the Estates General
  • Would arrest officials who were critical of the

Control of the Peasants
  • Peasants about 95 of the population
  • Kept only about 20 of their incomes after tithes
    to the Church, government taxes, and feudal
  • The Corvee caused more hardship forced labor.
    Required peasants to give one months labor a
    year to the crown (road building, etc)
  • Idle peasants conscripted into the army
  • Rebellious peasants were executed or used as
    galley slaves

  • Was the grandest and most impressive palace in
    all of Europe
  • Baroque reinforced the image of Louis XIV as
    the most powerful absolute ruler in Europe
  • Was originally a hunting lodge for Louis XIII
  • Architecture of the palace Marquis Louvois
  • The Gardens LeVau
  • The royal court 600 people
  • Cost of maintenance 60 of all royal revenue

  • Became a pleasure prison for the French nobility
  • Louis required nobles to live at Versailles
    several months a year so he could keep an eye on
  • Nobles were entertained many hunts, tournaments
    and concerts
  • Elaborate theatrical productions by Racine and

Religious policies of Louis XIV
  • Louis XIV considered himself the head of the
    Galician Church
  • He WAS very religious but would not allow the
    Pope to exercise political power when it came to
    the French Church

The Edict of Fontainebleau
  • When Colbert died Louis XIV revoked the Edict
    of Nantes
  • 200,000 Huguenots fled to the New World, England,
    the Netherlands
  • Colbert was the champion of mercantilismwas a
    finance minister

  • Louis XIV supported the Jesuits when they wanted
    to crack down on the Jansenists
  • Jansenists were Catholics who held some Calvinist