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The 17 th Century Absolutism and the Age of Louis XIV Absolutism: What is it? Sovereign power or ultimate authority in the state rested in the hands of a king Claimed to rule by divine right

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the 17 th century

The 17th Century

Absolutism and

the Age of Louis XIV

absolutism what is it
Absolutism: What is it?
  • Sovereign power or ultimate authority in the state rested in the hands of a king
  • Claimed to rule by divine right
  • Sovereignty meant the authority to make laws, tax, administer justice, control the state’s administrative system, and determine foreign policy
france and absolute monarchy cardinal richelieu
France and Absolute Monarchy: Cardinal Richelieu
  • Chief minister from 1624 to 1642
  • Major figure of the 17th century
  • Led France into the Thirty Years’ War on the side of the Protestants
  • “Reason of State”
france and absolute monarchy cardinal richelieu4
France and Absolute Monarchy: Cardinal Richelieu
  • Strengthened and centralized the power of the monarchy
  • Eliminated the political and military rights of the Huguenots, but not their religious rights
  • Limitation of the power of the nobility
  • The Indendants
  • Financial affairs
cardinal mazarin during the minority of louis xiv
Cardinal Mazarin during the Minority of Louis XIV
  • Successor to Richelieu
  • Italian
  • Served 1642 until 1661
  • Continued the policies of Richelieu
  • Supposed relationship with the Queen-Mother
mazarin and the fronde
Mazarin and the Fronde
  • As a foreigner, Mazarin was unpopular and the nobles saw a chance to restore their power
  • 1st Fronde (1648-49)
    • Led by the Parlement of Paris (nobles of the robe) with the support of Paris
    • Compromise was reached ending the conflict
  • 2nd Fronde (1650-52)
    • Led by the Nobles of the Sword against Mazarin
    • Wanted him removed and their positions of power restored
    • Revolt was crushed in 1652 as the NOS began fighting among themselves
  • Influence upon the young Louis
reign of louis xiv 1643 1715
Reign of Louis XIV (1643-1715)
  • "The Sun King"
  • Reigned from 1643-1715
  • Longest reign in European history
  • With the death of Mazarin in 1661, Louis took control over the government
control of state and church
Control of State and Church
  • Louis was a very conscientious monarch
    • Kept to a strict routine throughout his reign
    • Did not view his duties as drudgery since he considered his royal profession as “grand, noble, and delightful.”
  • Government affairs under Louis XIV
    • Key of Louis’ power was the restructuring of the central policy-making machinery into his own court and household
    • Kept the high nobility out of government
    • Most of his ministers came from the Nobility of the Robe – they were to be subservient to Louis as he said, “I had no intention of sharing my authority with them.”
    • Although Louis had control over the central policy-making machinery – foreign policy, war, taxes, and religion – Louis was less effective in local affairs
religion under louis xiv
Religion under Louis XIV
  • Louis believed in religious harmony – “One king, one law, one faith”
  • This brought him into conflict with the Huguenots, as he saw them as undermining his authority
  • 1685 – Edict of Fontainebleau
    • Revoked the Edict of Nantes
    • Ordered the destruction of Huguenot churches and schools and the conversion of the Huguenots to the Catholic faith
    • 200,000 Huguenots fled France despite prohibition
  • Consequences of Louis’ religious policies
french finances under louis xiv jean baptiste colbert 1619 1683
French Finances under Louis XIV Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683)
  • Sought to increase the wealth and power of France through mercantilist policies
  • Attempted to improve the quality of French manufactured goods to decrease need for imports and increase exports
  • Founded new luxury industries – tapestry works at Beauvais; invited Venetian glassmakers to France, etc.
  • Drew up regulations about workers, quality of goods, taxes, loans
  • Improved internal communications by building roads and canals
  • Raised tariffs on imported goods (Dutch & English) and created a merchant marine
french finances under louis xiv jean baptiste colbert 1619 168311
French Finances under Louis XIV Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683)
  • Most of Colbert’s policies were not effective
  • Main problem was that Louis spent more than what Colbert could collect, especially during the wars
  • Louis XIV’s court, which would be latter copied by the rest of Europe
  • Originally a hunting lodge that Louis moved into in 1660 to escape Paris which is dislike immensely; finished in 1688
  • Versailles served many purposes – residence of the king, reception hall for state affairs, the center of government
  • Life at Versailles was a court ceremony with Louis at the center
    • Complex court etiquette
    • Important: Versailles served as the setting in which Louis controlled and kept an eye on the upper nobility
wars of louis xiv
Wars of Louis XIV
  • Central aspect of Louis’ reign was the desire for glory, to increase the power and territory of France - could only be done by war
  • Important figure: François-Michel Le Tellier, the Marquis de Louvois
  • Created for Louis a peacetime army of 100,000 that could expand to 400,000 in war
early wars
Early Wars
  • The War of Devolution (1667-68)
    • Louis invaded the Spanish Netherlands to claim territories in the name of his wife
    • Dutch, English and Swedes intervene and Louis sues for peace in 1668
    • As a result of the Dutch intervention, Louis becomes their enemy until his death
  • The Dutch War (1672-78)
    • Louis invades the United Provinces in 1672 to avenge their intervention in the last war and gains some initial success
    • This success forces the HRE, Brandenburg, and Spain to intervene
    • Peace of Nimwegen ends war in 1678, though Louis does obtain Franche-Comté from Spain
the war of the league of augsburg 1688 1697
The War of the League of Augsburg (1688-1697)
  • In 1688, Louis decides again to obtain his goals through war
  • Campaign against the HRE and annexation of Alsace & Lorraine
  • French atrocities in the Palatinate lead to the formation of the League of Augsburg
  • Bitterly contested war that lasts for nearly nine years bringing famine and economic depression to France
  • Treaty of Ryswick ends war in 1697
  • Louis is forced to give up most of his conquests in Germany, but is allowed to retain Strasbourg and parts of Alsace
the war of spanish succession 1701 1714
The War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714)
  • Last and longest of Louis’ war
  • Reason: Spanish succession crisis
  • Suspicion that the thrones of France and Spain could be united, plus actions by Louis forced the creation of a new, Grand Coalition against France
  • Progress of the war does not go in France’s favor
the war of spanish succession famous battles
The War of Spanish SuccessionFamous Battles
  • Battle of Blenheim, 13 August 1704
    • Decisive victory for the Allies
    • First major French defeat in 40 years
  • Battle of Ramillies, 23 May 1706
  • Battle of Oudenarde, 11 July 1708
  • Battle of Malplaquet, 11 September 1709
    • Bloodiest battle of the war
the war of spanish succession 1701 171419
The War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714)
  • Peace of Utrecht ends war in 1713
    • Philip V remains as Spanish king, but thrones of France & Spain can never be united
    • Austria gains the Spanish Netherlands, Milan and Naples
    • England gains the most – Gibraltar, Newfoundland, Hudson’s Bay Territory, and Nova Scotia
  • Balance of Power is restored in Europe
costs of louis wars
Costs of Louis’ wars
  • Louis left France economically exhausted, nearly bankrupt, and suffering the loss of several thousand of its citizens
  • The century long French dominance of Europe is broken
  • On Louis’ deathbed in 1715, it was attributed that Louis said, “I have loved war too well” and it cost him and his country dearly
absolutism in europe house of hohenzollern
Absolutism in Europe:House of Hohenzollern
  • Received the Mark of Brandenburg in 1415
  • Over the next centuries the family would obtain territory along the Rhine and the duchy of Prussia
  • By the 17th Century, the Hohenzollern’s territory, known as Brandenburg-Prussia, consisted of three disconnected areas in western, central, and eastern Germany
absolutism in europe house of hohenzollern22
Absolutism in Europe:House of Hohenzollern
  • Frederick William the “Great Elector” (1640-88)
    • Restored Brandenburg after the losses of the Thirty Years’ War
    • Recognized that having a strong & effective army was essential as Brandenburg was a flat country with no natural defenses
    • Creates the General War Commissariat to levy taxes for and oversee the training of his new army; the Commissariat then evolves into an agency for the civil government
    • To help him rule, Frederick William makes a deal with the Junkers
  • Elector Frederick III becomes King Frederick I
    • Frederick III (1688-1713) succeeds his father and generally continues his polices
    • His contribution to the rise of Brandenburg-Prussia: Frederick aids the HRE during the War of Spanish Succession and in return was granted title King in Prussia
absolutism in europe house of hapsburg
Absolutism in Europe:House of Hapsburg
  • Peace of Westphalia ends the Hapsburg’s dreams of an empire in Germany
  • Leopold I’s Move to the East
    • Encourages eastward movement, but is challenged by the Turks
    • From 1683 to 1699, Austrians fight the Turks, defeating them in 1697
    • Treaty of Karlowitz (1699) Austria gains rest of Hungary, Transylvania, Croatia and Slovenia establishing the Austrian Empire in south-eastern Europe
  • Multicultural Empire
    • Despite all the new additions (the Spanish Netherlands & Italy in 1715), the Austrian Empire never becomes a centralized and absolutist state
    • The Empire remained a collection of diverse territories held together by a personal union – allegiance to the Hapsburg emperor
reign of peter i the great 1689 1725
Reign of Peter I, (the Great)1689-1725
  • Centralization of Authority
    • 1711 – creates the Senate to supervise the administrative machinery of the state while he was away at war
    • Becomes a ruling council, but Peter adds “colleges” to deal with specific functions to offset the Senates initial ineffectiveness
    • 1722 – institutes Table of Ranks
  • Westernization
    • Grand Embassy to the West
    • Peter introduces Western customs and practices to Russia
    • First Russian book of etiquette to teach Western manners
    • Shaving of beards and shortening of traditional long-skirted coats
    • Mixing of women
  • Peter’s Wars
  • Limits of Absolutism
  • Costs of Louis XIV to France and Europe
  • Eastern Orientation of Austria
  • Rise of Prussia