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French Absolute Monarchy

Autor:   •  April 2, 2011  •  Essay  •  454 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,682 Views

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By 17th century, France surpassed Spain in cultural and technological advancements. Had larger administration machine, enormous army, and cultural leadership of Europe

French Kings fought long and hard for sovereignty. Gained recognition from nobility of their preeminence in the realm, fought with pope over rights to French Clergy, defended territory against outside claims, defeated UK in Hundred Years War. Henry IV, first of Bourbon line came to power to mark a fruitful era in building of the French monarchy.

1598, he issued Edict of Nantes guaranteeing religious freedom to his former coreligionists, the Huguenots. Saw French recovery from civil war, collected foreign debts, paid forgotten salaries, repaired infrastructure of France, and promoted commerce. By never summoning Estates General, showing that he had the capacity to rule effectively without representative assembly. He laid foundations to absolute monarchy.

After death, neither son Louis XIII or widow Marie de'Medici could rule effectively. Cardinal Richelieu became secretary of state in 1616 and chief minister to Louis in 1624 and devoted his life to secular interests of the French monarchy. He promoted commerce, encouraged poor nobles to enrich themselves in business ventures and wealthy merchants to gain titles of nobility by giving cash to the royal treasury. He controlled the nobility by outlawing private warfare and destroyed fortifications not in royal use. Stripped Huguenots of their rights to have weapons and political power.

His protégé, Italian Jules Mazarin taken into service by Anne of Austria, widow of Louis XIII and mother of Louis XIV. Like Richelieu, he managed domestic and international affairs in interests of the monarchy. He survived a rebellion of nobles and peasants.

Bourbons aided again by Jean Baptiste Colbert. Son of merchant, he monitored Mazarin


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