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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 17 Lecture Notes Louis XIV: Model of Absolutism Louis XIV of France personified the absolutist ruler who in theory shared power with no one. Yet the absoluteness of his power should not be exaggerated. Like all rulers of his time, he depended on the cooperation of many others such as local officials, the clergy, the nobility, the peasantry, and artisans. All of these played a role in making Louis absolutism work, either by paying taxes, joining the armies, enforcing his will, or not causing trouble. The Fronde, 16481653, pp. 623624 Louis XIV came to the throne in 1643 at the age of five. His mother, Anne of Austria, and her advisor, Cardinal Mazarin, ruled in Louis's name. To raise money for the Thirty Years' War, Mazarin sold new offices, raised taxes, and forced creditors to lend money to the government. In 1648, a coalition of his opponents demanded that the parlements (high courts) have the right to approve new taxes. When Mazarin refused and arrested the leaders of these parlements, a series of revolts broke out that at one time or another involved nearly every social group. These revolts are known as the Fronde. No one actually wanted to overthrow the king. Nobles wanted to reacquire the power and local influence they had lost after the religious wars ended in 1598, whereas the middle and lower classes opposed the government's taxation policies. Throughout France there was fighting among armies raised by diverse social and political groups. At one point, Louis and his mother were forced to flee Paris. The monarchy survived the rebellions, but they had a lasting influence on the young king. Court Culture as an Element of Absolutism, pp. 624626 In 1661, Mazarin died and Louis decided to conduct the government himself without appointing a first minister. Louis's first priority was controlling the nobility, which still possessed local armies and a great deal of local power and autonomy. Using a double-edged policy of bestowing honors and offices and threatening disfavor or punishment, Louis brought the nobility under control. He required their attendance at his court, which became the only route to power and influence. Life at court required careful attention, and the tiniest lapse in etiquette could lead to ruin. In this way, Louis made himself the center of French power and culture. Louis also used the arts to glorify his image, having himself represented as Apollo, the Sun King, a Roman emperor, and a great military leader. Artists, writers, and composers were employed and protected by the government military leader....
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