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Absolutism During the pre-Enlightenment period, France and England went through very dramatic and very different government change. At the beginning of this time period, England had achieved relative stability, due largely in part to Elizabeth I long and successful reign. On the other hand, France had been subjected to numerous civil and religious wars, therefore leading to instability. French absolutism was largely a result of these crises and tragedies, with the country recognizing the need for a strong, powerful leader, which they found during the long and successful reign of Louis XIV. In England however, many problems arose due to a series of short and incapable rulers, beginning with James I and ending with James II. During Louis XIV’s reign, he was able to create a strong and stable absolute state by controlling the French nobility. Previously, during Louis XIII reign, the nobility had a great deal of power, and the French government was not centralized. Instead, the nobles acted as the middlemen, regulating the taxes and military of the French regions. The peasants paid taxes directly to the nobles, who kept a certain portion for themselves and then paid the remainder to the King. Individual regions raised and paid for their own armies; when the king required military help, the army came from these semi-private sources. Religiously, the state was also controlled by the nobles due to the Edict of Nantes, which gave the nobles the power to determine the religion of their lands. These factors lead to a divided French state, which reduced the power of Louis XIII. France was subjected to various civil wars and wars of religion, and the future king, Louis XIV, witnessing this period of unrest, vowed to impleme... ... middle of paper ... ...V had achieved, and the English people feared their religious freedom was being jeopardized. These circumstances would then lead to England’s “Glorious Revolution,” which would take on the unpopular monarchy and defeat it, thereby putting William and Mary in the English throne. France and England underwent very different changes during the seventeenth century. While France transformed from an instability, war-torn country to a united, prosperous nation, England did just the opposite. France’s success can be largely attributed to Louis XIV long reign, and England’s decline was caused by a series of short rules by vastly different rulers. The rise of absolutism in France proved Louis’s power over his people, and the rise of constitutionalism and parliamentary power in France was due to monarchial weaknesses and strained relations between the two governing bodies.

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