French Absolutism and the French Revolution Essay

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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
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His leading minister, Maximilien de Sully, reorganized the

finances and promoted the economic healing of France after years of civil war. Things

such as agriculture, manufacturing, and commerce were encouraged. Taxes on the

peasants were reduced, and taxes on the other groups were raised. He wiped out nobles

that were advising him and made a small cabinet, ensuring an absolute ruler. Sully

replaced royal officers, for those managed by local representative bodies. Henry's

religious principle and political advantage gave him a special place in French history.

Under his rule the king became more powerful. He assured that the position of the king

would be absolute. He cut off the ties with nobles and others that were a threat to the

king. He restored order and prosperity to the kingdom. The economy improved as well.

He supported overseas trade and built a highway system in France to promote commerce.

By evenly distributing the tax burden of the peasants he successfully lessened the class

conflict. According to him if the lower classes aren't happy then the upper classes will be

more unhappy. The religious conflict of Catholics and Protestants was stopped with the

issueing of the Edict of Nantes. Henry IV was a great ruler and did many honorable

things for France.

Louis XIII, the son of Henry IV, ruled France from 1610 to 1643. During this

period France became a strong power

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