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Louis XIV: Absolute Ruler

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1 Louis XIV: Absolute Ruler
Louis XIV uses his clothing to demonstrate his power and status, as his portrait shows. The gold flower on his robe is the symbol of French Kings. Louis’s love of finery is apparent not only in his clothing but also in the ornate setting for this painting. As absolute ruler, Louis imposes taxes to pay for the construction of a magnificent new palace and to finance wars. The government of Louis XIV enforces laws and provides security. His sword, scepter, and crown symbolize the power he wields. Yet, the French people have no say in what laws are passed or how they are enforced.

2 Why Study the Absolute Monarchs of Europe?
The experiences of the British under a monarchial system greatly influenced the framers of the U.S. Constitution. To this day, the United Kingdom is governed by a Constitutional monarchy. Absolutism formed the backdrop to some of the key events of later European history, including the French Revolution, Napoleon’s rise to power, and the revolutions of 1848. Knowledge of European history is key to understanding pivotal events of the 20th century, such as the two world wars, the reemergence of the independent republics following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990s.

3 The defeat of the Spanish Armada

4 Absolute Monarchs 1500–1800 Philip II Spain Louis XIV France
Peter the Great Russia Frederick II Prussia

5 Philip II (1527 – 1598) Dynasty: Hapsburg Religion: Catholic
Inherited Spain, Spanish Netherlands & Americas from his father, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1556 "I would rather lose all my lands and a hundred lives if I had them because I do not propose to be a ruler over heretics."


7 A Powerful Spanish Empire
Philip II’s Empire • Philip seizes Portugal in 1580 • Gold and silver from Americas make Spain extremely wealthy Defender of Catholicism • Philip defends Catholicism against Muslims, Protestants • Spanish fleet helps defeat Ottomans at Lepanto (Greece) in 1571 • Spanish Armada defeated by British in 1588

8 Increased Power of Monarchy
• Seized kingdom of Portugal • Built El Escorial • Centralized decision making • Tried to control the religion of subjects (great-grandparents Isabella and Ferdinand had used the Inquisition) El Escorial, the historical residence of the king of Spain. Philip included a monastery within its walls.

9 The Spanish Empire Weakens
Gold & silver from the Americas made Spain temporarily wealthy. Its economy, however, was not productive. Inflation and Taxes • Inflation weakens Spain’s economy (merchants raise prices; oversupply of silver reduces its value) • Taxes on lower class prevents development of middle class Making Spain’s Enemies Rich • Spaniards buy goods abroad, making Spain’s enemies rich (remember mercantilism?) • Philip declares bankruptcy three times due to weak economy. Borrows from foreign bankers to finance wars. The Dutch Revolt • Protestants in Netherlands win independence from Spain in 1579 • Netherlands is a republic and practices religious toleration

10 Louis XIV (1638 – 1715) Dynasty: Bourbon Religion: Catholic
The most powerful monarch of his time and French history. Liked to be called the Sun King, as all power radiated from him. “I am the state.”

11 Louis Weakens Nobles’ Authority
• Became king at the age of 5; took control of gov’t at 23 in 1661 • Excluded nobles from councils • Appoints intendants—government agents—to collect taxes and administer justice Economic Growth • Jean Baptiste Colbert —finance minister—helps economy grow through mercantilism • In 1685, Louis cancels Edict of Nantes (granted religious toleration); Huguenots flee France which weakens economy Louis XIV in coronation robes.

12 Louis Controls the Nobility
• Louis keeps nobles at palace to increase his power over them • Builds magnificent palace at Versailles • Cost over $2 billion in current dollars • 15,000 acres of gardens; 1,400 fountains Patronage of the Arts • Versailles is a center of arts during reign of Louis XIV • Purpose of the arts is to glorify Louis


14 Louis Fights Disastrous Wars
• Under Louis, France was the most powerful country in Europe • Louis invades the Spanish & Dutch Netherlands to expand France • In 1680s, European powers unite against him in League of Augsburg (balance of power) • France is weakened by poor harvests, warfare, high taxes • War of the Spanish Succession (1701): European powers declare war to prevent union of the French and Spanish thrones (balance of power)

15 Louis’s Death and Legacy
• Louis dies leaving mixed legacy • Rule makes France a major military and cultural power in Europe • His wars and palace leave France with heavy debts

16 Peter the Great (1672 – 1725) Dynasty: Romanov
Religion: Eastern Orthodox Peter the Great makes many changes in Russia to try to make it more like Western Europe. “I have conquered an empire, but I have not been able to conquer myself.”


18 Russia Contrasts with Europe
The Rise of Peter • Peter the Great becomes czar (“caesar”) in 1696 & begins to reform Russia Russia Contrasts with Europe • Land of boyars and serfs • Cut off geographically from Europe • Culturally isolated, little contact with western Europe • Religious differences widen gap Peter Visits the West In 1697, Peter visits western Europe to learn European ways At 6 feet 8 inches tall, Peter had the strength and temper of a bear!

19 Peter’s Reforms Westernizing Russia
• Brings Orthodox Church under state control • Reduces power of landowners (boyars) • Modernizes army by having European officers train soldiers • Builds new capital at St. Petersburg Westernizing Russia • Introduces potatoes • Starts Russia’s first newspaper • Raises women’s status • Adopts Western fashion • Advances education

20 Establishing St. Petersburg
• Peter wants a seaport that will make travel to West easier • Fights Sweden to win port on Baltic Sea • In 1703, begins building new capital called St. Petersburg • Building city takes many years; many serfs die in process Peter’s “window to Europe”

21 Peter ordered his noblemen to wear fashionable Western clothes instead of their archaic long costumes. He also cut off their beards. All men had to pay a special tax to retain their beards. This token served as a receipt that you paid.

22 Peter is #83 on the Biography of the Millennium List.
By the time of Peter’s death in1725, Russia is a power to be reckoned with in Europe. Peter is #83 on the Biography of the Millennium List. Peter the Great video (24 minutes)

23 Frederick II (1712 – 1786) Dynasty: Hohenzollern
Religion: raised Calvinist (became atheistic) Nickname: “Old Fritz” Under his reign, Prussia became a great European power “The fundamental role of governments is the principle of extending their territories.”

24 The Rise of Prussia • Hohenzollern rulers of Prussia build Europe’s best army • Call themselves kings and become absolute monarchs • Nobles resist royal power, but king buys loyalty Prussia - a historical region and former kingdom of north-central Europe including present-day northern Germany and Poland.

25 Frederick the Great • Frederick the Great becomes king of Prussia in 1740. • Enforces father’s military policies but softens some of his laws • Influenced by the Enlightenment; corresponded with Voltaire.  Practiced benevolent despotism: “My people and I have come to an agreement which satisfies us both. They are to say what they please, and I am to do what I please.” Old Fritz conversing with the French philosophe Voltaire

26 War with Austria • In 1740, Maria Theresa becomes empress of Austria
• Frederick starts war against Austria; gains Silesia, a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in present-day Poland • As result of war, Prussia becomes a major power in Europe • Fought again in Seven Years’ War (1756 – 1763), also called the "first World War“ because of its global nature

27 "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." "Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it"

28 England’s Evolving Gov’t
How did England go from this . . . DO YOU KNOW….. The current monarch of England?

29 To this . . . British House of Commons

30 Absolute Monarchy  Constitutional Monarchy
England has a long history of tension between absolutism and democracy Modern concepts of jury trials, common law, and legal rights developed during this history. The United States adopted many of the government reforms and institutions that the English developed during this period.

31 1215 – Nobles force King John to approve the Magna Carta (Great Charter). King’s will is bound by law. Guaranteed basic rights like jury trials, habeas corpus, no taxation without representation. 1295 – Edward I summons Model Parliament. Evolved into the House of Lords and House of Commons. John of England signs Magna Carta Magna Carta and the Rule of Law

32 1628 – Parliament forces Charles I to sign Petition of Right to limit royal authority: no arbitrary arrest; no taxes without Parliament; no quartering soldiers; no martial law in peacetime. 1642 – 49: English Civil War between supporters of Charles (Royalists) and Puritan supporters of Parliament (Parliamentarians). Called “Cavaliers” and “Roundheads” by their enemies. “Roundheads” wore their hair short Royalists or “Cavaliers” were more flamboyant

33 English Civil War Royalists Puritans

34 1649 - Charles faces trial and execution (“regicide”)
Oliver Cromwell becomes general on Puritan side. Defeats Cavaliers. Charles faces trial and execution (“regicide”) Cromwell abolishes monarchy & House of Lords. England becomes a commonwealth (republican form of gov’t) In practice, Cromwell ruled as a military dictator (“Lord Protector of England”) Puritans abolish activities they find sinful (theater, dance, sports) Cromwell movie trailer

35 1658 – Cromwell dies; next year Parliament asks Charles’ son to rule
1660 – Restoration of monarchy under Charles II During reign, Parliament passes Habeas Corpus Act, law requiring king to charge prisoner with crime Charles’s Catholic brother James II becomes king Glorious Revolution, bloodless overthrow of James Charles II James II

36 Protestants William and Mary become joint sovereigns of England; agree to constitutional monarchy that limits royal power (not absolute monarchy) Parliament drafts Bill of Rights to limit royal power; monarchs consent: • No suspending of Parliament’s laws • No levying of taxes without Parliament’s approval • Freedom of speech in Parliament • Citizens may petition king about grievances William and Mary were always listed together since the royal bloodline was with Mary as James’ daughter. Only time in British history when there are co-monarchs. (two)

37 Continuity & Change Over Time Essay
Analyze the changes and continuities that occurred during Great Britain’s constitutional history. Consider the following sources when planning your essay: - Textbook (Chapter 5, section 5) - This PowerPoint presentation - Fact sheet, Magna Carta and the Rule of Law 1215 - The English Bill of Rights, 1689 - Commons Sense, C-Span Guide to the British House of Commons, pages 5-12 - New York Times article, As a New Government Goes to Work, the Constitution Offers Britons Few Guides

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