Louis Xiv and Absolutism

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A symbol of French Absolutism

Louis XIV was one of France’s most effective and powerful monarchs. He strengthened his rule with a policy of absolutism. Where the king gained authority directly from God or the divine right to rule. There were no legal limits to the powers that the king could exercise, however, during his rule a monarch had certain influential groups of people who the king needed to negotiate and consult in order to establish an effective functioning government. Among these groups where the land owning nobility, royal officer nobles, the royal commissioners, the Catholic Church, the bourgeoisie and the peasants. More notably seen the King Louis XIV is regarded as the “sun king” because of the great grandeur he exemplified during his reign. The book, Louis XIV and Absolutism by William Beik, presents a balanced outlook into the first half of Louis’ rule in France and how he was able to use absolutism to solidify his reign.

The third chapter in the book called Managing France, discusses the written communication which the king entrusted to his four secretaries of state. The first document in the chapter three was a memorandum by Colbert or an official royal document given to provincial officers who were to investigate a series of matters to gather information for the king in 1663. As Beik notes “Infromation poured in, making Louis XIV’s government better informed that any previous administration” (page,85).These matters included making sure that the maps used throughout the provinces were accurate and if not they needed to be revised. Information on the number of military officials, clergy, tax revenues, and ships in the provinces all in an effort to establish effective detailed chronicles of the state of French provincial territories. From their findings suggestions for reform and improvement in those areas were to be introduced.

The second document of chapter three was a financial memorandum that Colbert wrote for the king in...
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