French Absolutism

by cowens ~ April 20th, 2010. Filed under: Chapter 14: The Early Modern State.

     Absolutism began to spread across France during the 16th century, mainly because of the religious conflicts and wars that were going on. After early monarchs had unsuccessfully tried to assert more power, absolutism finally officially came into place with the reign of Louis XIII. However, Cardinal Richelieu was the “power” behind the throne at the time, and he was actually the one who put absolutism in place.

Cardinal Richelieu

     The task was not an easy one though. The nobles were the ones who acted as representatives for the King. The nobles also had the means to raise armies and build forts if they needed, whereas the King could not perform any of these tasks himself. King Louis XIV was the one who was able to completely overcome all of these obstacles efficiently through the intial act of the repeal of the Edict of Nantes. Another tactic of his was to destroy the nobles’ castles. The final blow was to require the nobles to spend part of each year at Versailles so that he could keep an eye on them.

Louis XIV

     After all of these efforts paid off, absolutism took effect. French national debt was reduced due to the revised financial policies. A downfall, however, was the emigration of the Huguenots. They took with them their skill trades and a loss of revenue from their taxes.

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