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Absolute Rule in France

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1 Absolute Rule in France
The Reign of Louis XIV Absolute Rule in France

2 Louis XIV Comes to Power
Louis took the throne at 14 in the year 1643. At the time, true power is in the hands of Cardinal Mazarin, the successor of Cardinal Richelieu. Many groups in France disliked Mazarin’s rule because he had increased taxes and strengthened the power of the central government at the expense of the nobility. From 1648 – 1653, riots spurred by anti-Mazarin sentiments tear apart the kingdom. These riots were led by nobles and they would often use their rioting mobs to threaten the king. Years of fighting, riots and disorder leaves the peasants weary of troubled times. In this way, they are perfectly ready to accept the iron rule of an absolute monarch.

3 Louis Takes Action to Weaken the Nobles
His first step to limiting noble power was to exclude them from his decisions. Nobles had always acted as advisors to the decisions kings would make. Instead, he created government agents to collect taxes and administer justice. By doing this, he made it so that his nobles had to come to HIM to advance, gain riches and position.

4 A Day in the Life of a Noble in Louis’ France
Every morning, Louis would wake at 8:30am. Outside the curtains which surrounded his bed, 100 of the wealthiest and most powerful nobles of France would wait patiently, hoping they would be chosen to help Louis dress. Only four would be chosen to help. In the halls of the palace, lesser nobles would stand, hoping to be noticed by the King as he made his rounds throughout the palace. This situation increased royal power in two ways 1. The nobility becomes completely dependant on the King’s favor for advancement. 2. If not at home, the nobles couldn’t effectively run their realms, meaning the King’s agents throughout the country had nearly complete control. At the center of this courtly culture was the palace at Versailles.






10 The Patronage of Art in the Court
Louis was a patron of the arts and under his rule France experienced a century of brilliance in the arts and sciences. Jean Racine – wrote tragedies based on Greek myths. Moliere – wrote comedies that made fun of French society, The Miser. Ballet becomes popular at court. The French Academy is officially sponsored by Louis, making it a center of the arts and sciences. The Strengthening of Royal Power Louis spent many hours each day on governmental affairs. He used Richelieu’s policies as a guideline for how to run the state. He expands the bureaucracy and appoints intendants to carry out government functions. Usually, governmental jobs were given to members of the middle class. Wealthy merchants and so on. Louis also maintained a standing army of about 300,000 soldiers, making it the most powerful army in all of Europe.

11 Jean Baptiste Colbert and French Mercantilism
Jean Baptiste Colbert was Louis’ finance minister. He used mercantilist policies to make France the wealthiest state in Europe. Mercantilism is the concept of using imported raw materials from colonies to supply cheap materials for domestic manufacturers. He imposed high tariffs on imported goods from other nations and encouraged new industries in France itself. The Wars of Louis XIV Louis ruled France for 72 years. - Encouraged by early success, Louis attempts to conquer other regions of Europe to expand his borders. - Other nations of Europe join forces to oppose his attempts. - They felt that maintaining a balance of power was critical to European peace. - The War of Spanish Succession - Louis’ grandson, Philip, was going to inherit the throne of Spain. - Other nations refused to allow the two nations to join as one. - A long and costly war was fought from 1700 to In the end, it was decided that Philip could remain King of Spain, but France would never be allowed to unite the two crowns into one nation.

12 The Sun sets on France Louis’ costly mistakes
Expensive wars drained the French treasury (same thing as Philip II in Spain) Revoked the Edict of Nantes, causing 100,000 Huguenots to flee France. Stupid move. The Huguenots were some of the most hard working French. Again, similar to Philip in Spain. Louis XIV and his Legacy Outlives his sons and grandsons. Leaves his 5 year old great-grandson on the throne when he died. Quickly, the power of France began to fade under bad harvests and heavy taxes. Louis XV was too weak to deal with these problems.

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