Absolutism Essay

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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. Louis XIV wanted to have control over everything that happened in his country. To be able to do this he had to centralize the state. Cardinal Richelieu had already started to do this under the reign the Louis XIII by centralizing the administration of France with district commissioners appointed by the king. This weakened the local nobility but gave a lot of power to Richelieu who mainly ruled the country in Louis XIII's place. To keep power over France, Louis XIV ruled through councils of state and made many decisions personally. He also selected councilors from the recently ennobled or upper middle class for he did not trust the nobility who had rebelled against the throne when he was a child. Those who were to become his councilors were manly upper middle class who relied on him for their position in society and politics for they were less inclined to rebel against him. He also never had a first minister to avoid the power of Richelieu and Mazari... ... middle of paper ... ...ing and the nobles had a right called capitaineries to all game in region, which meant that nothing could be done to harm the game even if the crops were destroyed. The system was very corrupt but the king did not change it for it meant that the peasants were more oppressed, thus less inclined to revolt. In conclusion, Louis XIV used many strategies to become an absolute monarch and prevent anyone from overthrowing the throne. From centralizing the French state to oppressing the third estate, the "Sun King" found all kinds of way to realize his dreams and his system seemed to work for it lasted 58 years. There were other absolute monarchs such as Peter the Great of Russia, Catherine the Great of Russia and Frederick the Great of Prussia but he was the only one in Europe to manage to hold for so long and it ended very quickly after Louis XVI came to the throne.

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