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French Absolutism


French Absolutism LOUIS XIV 17th century was a period of great transition European climate was getting colder - less food Governments spent more - mostly on armies ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: French Absolutism

French Absolutism

  • 17th century was a period of great transition
  • European climate was getting colder - less food
  • Governments spent more - mostly on armies and
    raised taxes on the poor
  • France and Spain gained control over the papacy
  • England and Germany establish national churches

  • We see the start of absolutism - rulers with
    absolute power
  • They reigned by divine right not like medieval
    monarchs, by the grace of God

  • They a) controlled the church b) law courts c)
    abolished freedoms and liberties d) maintained
    permanent armies e) used secret police and
    spies f) established huge bureaucracies focused
    on the king g) secured the cooperation of the

  • Not total rule because the lacked the resources
  • But it did foreshadow totalitarianism in 2
    respects i) glorification of the state over all
    else ii) use of war and expansionism to divert
    attention from domestic problems
  • Henry IV and his advisor the Duke of Sully laid
    the foundations for absolutism in France

  • Sully a) revived the paulette tax - a tax on
    hereditary positions b) started a highway
    system c) and dreamed of an international
    organization to keep the peace d) also indirect
    tax on salt and sales
  • But the number of taxes actually declined and
    revenues increased

  • Henry died Marie de Medici ruled for the
    boy-king Louis XIII
  • In 1624 she appointed Cardinal Richelieu her
    Council of Ministers

  • Richelieu a) subordinated all offices to the
    monarchy b) weakened the power of the nobles c)
    recruited for the army d) supervised tax
    collection e) checked on nobility f) regulated
    economic activity
  • Richelieus policy was to weaken the Habsurgs who
    surrounded France

  • 1631 France joins Sweden in the Thirty Years War
    against the Catholics
  • Richelieu wrote Political Testament which said
    power is based on revenue
  • French monarchs couldnt tax at will so they
    would never have complete control
  • raison detat - what is done for the state is
    done for God

  • Richelieu persuaded the king to appoint Jules
    Mazarin as his successor
  • Richelieu and Louis both died
  • Queen Anne of Austria governs for her son Louis

  • Mazarin continues Richelieus policies but leads
    to a civil war - The Fronde (1648-53)
  • The war was between the king and the nobility -
    the frondeurs
  • Violence continued for 12 years and had three
    significant results a) government would have to
    compromise with the nobility b) the economy was
    ruined and would take years to rebuild c) Louis
    XIV would never forget the trauma

  • Under Louis (Sun King) absolutism reached its
  • 1661 Mazarin died and Louis took control of the
  • When Louis sneezed, all Europe caught cold
  • Reigned for 72 years

  • Married Maria Theresa because of a diplomatic
    arrangement with Spain
  • Had complete control over all classes of society
  • Ruled from Versailles where he required the
    nobility to reside for several months each year
  • 60 of revenue was spent on the maintaining of

  • Never called the Estates General
  • Other monarchs imitated Louis and French replaced
    Latin as the language of the educated
  • But his weakness was always finances
  • He appointed Jean-Baptiste Colbert Controller of

  • Colbert believed the wealth of the country should
    serve the state
  • He applied the theory of mercantilism to France
  • Mercantilism - government policies for the
    regulation of economic activities by and for the

  • Colbert sent 4,000 people to Canada
  • Marquette and Joliet - Mississippi River La Salle
    - Louisiana

  • Commercial class prospered while agriculture
  • Because of war, bad harvests, deflation of
    currency, and emigration Colberts goals were
    never attained

  • 1685 Louis revoked the Edict of Nantes
  • Closed schools, destroyed Protestant churches,
    and exiled those who would not renounce their
  • one king, one law, one faith un roi, une loi,
    une foi
  • The revocation won Louis enormous praise

Louis XIVs Wars
  • Kept France at war for most of his reign
  • Appointed Marquis de Louvois secretary of State
    for War
  • Louvois created a professional army A) feed the
    troops b) an ambulance corp c) standard weapons
    and uniforms d) rationalized training e)
    regulated promotion

  • 1667 Louis invaded Flanders no success
  • 1672 he invaded Holland but the Dutch saved
    themselves by flooding their land
  • 1681 he seized Strasbourg and parts of Lorraine
  • 1689 William of Orange - king of England
  • William joined the League of Augsburg, but
    neither side won
  • Claude Le Peletier, Colberts successor devalued
    the currency and sold offices and titles to the

  • Between 1688-94 bad harvests sent the price of
    wheat skyrocketing
  • 1694 Lord Pontchartrain imposed the capitation
    raise money
  • 1701-1713 The War of Spanish Succession a) old
    territorial disputes b) dynastic question of
    Spanish throne

  • 1700 Charles II was king of Spain - he was insane
  • Charles died in 1700 and left the throne to the
    grandson of Louis XIV, Philip of Anjou
  • The Dutch and British refused to accept
    French control of the Spanish colonies and

  • English, Dutch, Austrian and Prussians formed the
    Grand Alliance
  • Even though the were all fighting the French
    internal conflicts developed
  • Two soldiers dominated Eugene, prince of Savoy
    representing the HRE John Churchill representing

  • Philip of Anjou remains king of Spain
  • Spain and France must never unite
  • France gave Austria Spanish Netherlands
  • France gave England Nova Scotia, Hudson Bay,
  • France recognizes the Hohenzollern rulers of
  • Spain gave England Gibraltar
  • Spain gave England -asiento- the rights to the
    slave trade

The Treaty
  • Represented the balance of power principle
  • Saw the decline of Spain
  • Saw the rise of the British Empire
  • Marked the end of French expansionism

French Classicism
  • Poussin was the greatest classicist painter Rape
    of the Sabine Women

  • Absolutism and Classicism melded
  • Art glorified the king
  • Lully, Couperin, and Charpentier created great
    orchestral works
  • Moliere and Racine wrote powerful plays on
    controversial issues
  • Les Femmes Savantes - Tartuffe, mocked
    intelligent women

Spanish Decline
  • No middle class
  • Agricultural decline
  • Population decline
  • Failure to invest wisely
  • Intellectual isolation (religious reasons)
  • Increase in Dutch and English trade with Americas
  • Americas develop local industries
  • Increasing royal expenditure

  • 1715 Spain a second-rate power
  • Several times the king declares bankruptcy and
    cancels national debt
  • People dropped out of society or turned to
  • High rents and taxes drove peasants off the land
  • Philip IV left control to Count-Duke Olivares
  • Olivares believed in imperialism
  • Imperialism meant conflict with the Dutch