The Sun King: Louis XIV France’s Ultimate Absolute Monarch
Des questions essentielles Why do you think Louis XIV was known as the “Sun King”? What is the purpose of the Palace of Versailles? How would Louis’s abuse of power lead to later revolution? Why do you think Louis would be the best example of an absolute monarch?
Setting the Stage 16 th century France rocked by religious wars between Catholics & Huguenots (French Protestants) 8 Major wars between 1562-98 Wars caused political & economic problems for France
Setting the Stage Henry of Navarre becomes king 1589 Converts to Catholicism b/c “Paris is well worth a mass” Brought peace & stability to France Issued Edict of Nantes which provided religious toleration to Huguenots Henry murdered 1610
Setting the Stage Henry’s son Louis XIII took over in 1610 Generally seen as incompetent Appointed Catholic Cardinal as chief adviser Cardinal Richelieu was the real power in France
Setting the Stage Richelieu consolidated the power of the monarchy into his own hands Removed threat to throne by attacking the Huguenots & the Nobles
To consolidate power, Richelieu did the following: Continued the Edict of Nantes, but prohibited Huguenots from having walled cities (Why?) Cut power of nobles by using intendants and taking away castles Brought nobles to live at the Palace of Versailles so he could watch them closely
Involved France in the Thirty Years’ War with Austria on side of Protestants Why?! Feared Hapsburgs more than the Protestants Politics more than religion!
1643: 5 year old Louis XIV becomes king with Cardinal Mazarin actually ruling for him Mazarin made peace with Austria which resulted in France becoming the most powerful in Europe
Made great enemies with the nobles by continuing to attack their power, raising taxes & caused a rebellion, called the Fronde, against himself and the boy king Louis never forgot this insult by the nobles & wanted revenge
Regroup Who said “Paris is well worth a Mass” What was the Edict of Nantes supposed to accomplish? What man got France involved in the Thirty Years’ War? To whom did Richelieu give power that once belonged to the nobles?
The Reign of the Sun King Louis XIV took the throne of France in 1661 when Mazarin died Forced all government officials to communicate regularly with the king Found out officials were meeting without him & he burst into room & shouted “L’etat c’est moi”I AM THE STATE!
The Reign of the Sun King If people are happy, then they will not revolt Louis XIV set about stabilizing the French economy Brought in Jean Baptiste Colbert to be the Finance Minister
Jean Baptiste Colbert Believed in policy of Mercantilism to make France self- sufficient Encouraged the development of colonies in Canada Put tariffs on imports into France
Results Louis XIV was able to improve the economy for a time until he cancelled the Edict of Nantes Improved the army until his series of long costly wars Made France’s government more efficient for a time Inspired the growth of art & culture in France
Louis XIV was also responsible or increasing the taxes on France’s population as well as weakening the economy through constant spending on personal luxuries Louis’ constant attacks on the nobility would cause great friction between future kings and the nobility
Regroup Who said “L’etat c’est moi” Who was the man behind the idea of mercantilism? What is mercantilism supposed to accomplish for a nation?
The Palace of Versailles The Palace of Versailles was the official residence of the Kings of France from 1682 until 1790 Intended as a symbol of the power of the absolute monarch of France
The Palace of Versailles Originally a hunting lodge, but was expanded by Louis XIV in 1669 Became official seat of government May 1682 Louis XIV wanted all power to come from Versailles (sun metahphor)
The Palace was the largest in Europe & hosted 20,000 nobles at its height In 1685, 36 000 people and 6 000 horses were working on the construction of the 500 meters long palace which took altogether 50 years. To build the palace today would cost an estimated $4 billion.