The Palace of Versailles and the Absolutism of Louis XIV
Absolutism describes a form of monarchical power that is unrestrained by all other institutions, such as churches, legislatures, or social elites. To achieve absolutism one must first promote oneself as being powerful and authoritative, then the individual must take control of anyone who might stand in the way of absolute power. The Palace of Versailles helped King Louis XIV fulfill both of those objectives. Versailles used propaganda by promoting Louis with its grandiosity and generous portraits that all exuded a sense of supremacy.
Europe in the early years was a time of great metamorphosis. As Louis XIV, Napoleon, and Elizabeth I developed and shaped the society, the essence of modern European history is created. By analyzing Louis XIV, Napoleon, and Elizabeth I, one can gain a clear view of the disadvantages of monarchy and absolutism referring to its irresponsibility, uncertainty, and collapsibility between the dispersal of rights and responsibilities. Perhaps the irresponsibility of the monarchs was the main cause of the abolition of monarchy.
During the 16th and 17th centuries a new type of ruling emerged as a result of unorganized government called royal absolutism. This type of government was seen in many European countries including France and Russia where King Louis XIV and Peter the Great ruled respectively. Both had ways of ruling that were similar to each other and different to each other. Politically, economically and socially both Louis XIV and Peter the Great were similar to and different from how they ruled and what their reign resulted.
Absolutism is a political theory giving rulers complete sovereignty. Louis XIV was one of the most popular successful absolute monarchs. He exercised absolute paternal rights of a father on France and his powers were unlimited by church, legislature, or elites. Calling himself the "Sun King" after the God Apollo, he worked to banish feudalism and create a unified state under his absolute power. To illustrate this power he built the Palace at Versailles and created an elaborate, theatrical royal lifestyle. His reign of 72 years, from 1638 to 1715, it is the longest documented reign of any European monarch. To establish absolutism in France Louis XIV used divers strategies including the centralization of the French state, diminishing the nobles' power and oppressing the third estate.
Absolutism was a political theory that encouraged rulers during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to establish complete sovereignty within their territories. A ruler with complete sovereignty had the jurisdiction to make laws, enforce justice, create and direct bureaucracy, declare war, and levy taxation without formal approval from any other governing authorities. One of the most threatening opponents to the royal absolutist were the nobles, who played a significant role in the success or the demise of the countries. A series of absolutist rulers in England, France, and Russia rose to power in various ways: some met with success while others fell short. I plan to discuss how absolutists commanded armed forces of the state, controlled its legal system, and how the spending of the state’s resources will lead to the construction of a healthy nation or lead to drastic reforms.
During this time King Louis XIV sought to find stability in “absolutist monarchs sought control of the state’s armed forces and its legal system and demanded the right to collect and spend the state’s ﬁfinancial resources at will. To achieve these goals, they also needed to create an efﬁcient, centralized bureaucracy that owed its allegiance directly to the monarch.”(pg 356) The King traded privileges for allegiance and implemented taxes. There were many countries that opposed these ideas such as England when they emerged with a constitutional monarchy where absolutism was not tolerated. During the Glorious Revolution John Locke(1632-1704) wrote The Contract Th...
French Absolutism and the French Revolution
During the period between 1589 through 1783, the French Monarchy had risen to
its height of absolute power and then was destroyed by the French Revolution. The reigns
of Henry IV, Louis XIII, Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI each contributed to the
strengthening of the French Monarchy as well as the destruction. Class struggles were a
major problem throughout the reigns of each king. France was broken into three estates
that were; the clergy, the nobility, and the common people.
Of all the absolute rulers in Europe, by far the best example of one, and the most powerful, was Louis XIV of France. Although Louis had some failures, he also had many successes. He controlled France’s money and had many different ways to get, as well as keep his power, and he knew how to delegate jobs to smart, but loyal people.
When Louis the XIV began his rule in 1643, his actions immediately began to suggest and absolute dictatorship. Because of the misery he had previously suffered, one of the first things he did was to decrease the power of the nobility. He withdrew himself from the rich upper class, doing everything secretly. The wealth had no connection to Louis, and therefore all power they previously had was gone. He had complete control over the nobles, spying, going through mail, and a secret police force made sure that Louis had absolute power. Louis appointed all of his officials, middle class men who served him without wanting any power. Louis wanted it clear that none of his power would be shared. He wanted "people to know by the rank of the men who served him that he had no intention of sharing power with them." If Louis XIV appointed advisors from the upper classes, they would expect to gain power, and Louis was not willing to give it to them. The way Louis XIV ruled, the sole powerful leader, made him an absolute ruler. He had divine rule, and did not want to give any power to anyone other than himself. These beliefs made him an absolute ruler.
Louis XIV was born in 1638. In the year 1661 he succeeded the regent Cardinal Mazarin. At the time he was only twenty-three. Louis applied the symbol of the sun to his reign; "the light that imparts to the other heavenly bodies." Louis intended to make the other states of Europe "the other heavenly bodies," him take taking the role and duties of the sun. As you will see King Louis XIV was a very proud, clever, glory-hungry, and well-spoken ruler. There are three authors in the section on Louis XIV who discuss the qualities and short-comings during his time of power. These authors are Saint-Simon, Voltaire, and Pierre Goubert. They reveal the different ways that King Louis XIV was depicted during reign until his untimely death in 1715.