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French Absolutism and the French Revolution

Powerful Essays
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. They were each striving for

more power. The enlightenment had also caused problems. Before the enlightenment

people had accepted things as they were, but by the end of the enlightenment people

decided to change their forms of government. The idea that life would be better if things

would change became reality. This was a threat to the power of the king. The different

policies of the kings also affected the rise and fall of the French Monarchy.

The combination of class struggles, the enlightenment, and different policies of the kings

were major contributing factors in the rise and fall of the French Monarchy.

The first of the kings to deal with these problems was King Henry IV, who was an

honorble ruler. Henry IV was king of France between 1589 and 1610. He was supported

by Spain and the pope, however, the league refused to accept a Protestant king of France

and many Catholic nobles deserted the royal army. Henry won many victories over the

league and in 1593 he defeated his enemies and announced that he was converting to

Catholicism, but he did not forget his Protestant roots. In 1598, he issue the Edict of

Nantes, ...

... middle of paper ...

...Robespierre and his

followers were executed.

During the period between the 16th and 18th century, there were many rulers

that contributed to the rise and fall of the French Monarchy. The ideas of the

enlightenment, class struggles, and policies of the king had different effects on the reigns

of each king. It is very ironic that after years of fighting for a democracy, the Fench

people decide that they want a dictatorship. If I was a ruler during the period of the

French Revolution, I would have ruled as an absolutist. I would not expect the people

to love me, as Louis XVI did, because this would only show my weakness. People are

unsure of what they want and need a strong ruler to tell them what they need. I am sure

that I would fall as the other rulers did, but as the saying goes,"what goes up, must come

down."
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