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The Rise and the Fall of Absolute Monarchy

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THE RISE AND FALL OF ABSOLUTE MONARCHY

LOUIS XIII
During his reign power was centralized around the work of the statesman, Cardinal Richelieu. Louis XIII fell completely under his control. Richelieu became in power through his friendship with Marie de Medici, and he was also her official advisor. Later he became the real power behind the throne. Richelieu worked to centralize and strengthen the government, as well as clear any opposition against it. He eventually banished the queen reagent when she tried to overthrow him. Richelieu sought out to weaken the nobles, and strengthen mercantilism. He controlled trading companies and modelled them based on the Dutch and the English. Louis XIII truly wasn’t in power under Richelieu’s influence.
LOUIS XIV: THE SUN KING
“I am the state” summarizes the extent of the absolutism by Louis XIV, often referred to as the sun king. Louis XIV regulated guilds with high quality products in the hopes foreign buyers would purchase them. There was a tight government control that improved the economy over time. Louis revoked the edict on Nantes, which made it impossible for Huguenots to live openly in France. As a result, many left and their loss gave a severe hit to the economy. Louis XIV fought the war of the Spanish Succession to prevent a French king from succeeding a Spanish throne. The war was long and costly so they signed the treaty: the Peace of Utrecht. He left enormous war debts behind for his son, Louis XV.
LOUIS XV
Louis XV did not have the talent of his father but he was still an absolute monarch. During his reign chance was discussed in the salons of Paris and other major cities. The discussions challenged existing political and social structure. The economy was brutally affected by the loss of the Seven Years War and the inability of producing revenue by the French government. This created the economy that would eventually cause a revolution. Louis XV’s chancellor sent magistrates into exile and replaced them with those sympathetic to the crown.
LOUIS XVI
Louis XVI brought about the restoration of the parlements – another factor contributing to the coming revolution. Richelieu had already lessened the power of the nobility. They were left with only the privileges that came with noble birth. The nobles had before been in charge of their own territories. These responsibilities were then transferred to intendants who reported to the crown. Failure to listen to the king would result in a king – parlement confrontation. Parlementaires could amend legislations before they were registered. His attempted judicial reform failed and this created the climate for a revolution. He also had unreliable financial advisors such as Jacques Necker who borrowed from France’s revenue.
FRENCH REVOLUTION
On the 14th of July Paris erupted, a crowd invaded a fortress and got 30 000 muskets. They went to the bastille where they demanded arms and freedom for the prisoners they believed were inside. They ended up discovering there were only seven prisoners and no weaponry.

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