French Absolutism

French Absolutism - Morales 17th century French Absolutism...

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Morales 17 th century French Absolutism and Eastern European Absolutism: One political theory, Different Applications After about 1300, in which the Black Death devastated Europe’s population and economy, the east and the west went in different directions in terms of absolute rule. In France, Henry IV, and later Louis XIV, restored his country through paradigm shifts from feudalism to capitalism and mercantilism, the weakening of the nobility, and the establishment of a standing army. Rulers of Austria, Prussia, and Russia emulated these aspects of absolutism except Eastern absolutism rested in a different social reality: a powerful nobility, a weak middle class, and an oppressed peasantry composed of serfs. Furthermore, nobles in France were constantly subjugated under subjugate the monarch. Cardinal Richelieu of France developed the intendant system, royal commissioners who performed numerous tasks such as supervising the collection of taxes and recruiting men for army. But their two primary purposes were to enforce royal order at local level and weaken the influence of the regional nobility. And when Louis XIV assumed the throne, he also distrusted the nobility because of the humiliation he had faced from intrusive nobles during the Fronde. Consequently, Louis XIV excluded the highest nobles from his royal council, thus weakening their ancient right to advise the king and to participate in government; they became mere instruments of royal policy. And to monitor their activity, Louis placed them in his Palace of Versailles, where the nobles preoccupied themselves with the luxuries of French classicism or were bankrupting themselves on frivolities, to buy the most fashionable clothes and host lavish parties. But in Eastern Europe, the nobility had greater power. In fact, the noble lord—the Russian boyar, the Prussian Junker, the Austrian noble—all exerted complete control over their serfs, undermined the medieval privileges of the urban classes, and heavily influenced the monarch. Because of the financial deficit, more independent farmers became forced laborers, or
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Morales worse “robots”, peasants who worked without pay three to four days per week. Local towns and
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This note was uploaded on 01/19/2012 for the course SCHOLARS 1111 taught by Professor Mason during the Spring '11 term at GWU.

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French Absolutism - Morales 17th century French Absolutism...

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