The French Monarchy Essays

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The French Monarchy

J. B. Bossuet wrote that there are four essential characteristics of an absolute monarchy. They are, "First, royal authority is sacred. Second, it is paternal. Third, it is absolute. And fourth, it is subject to reason." These four features of absolutism can bee observed in the Bourbon Dynasty of France. The reigns of Henry IV and Louis XIV proved repeatedly that Bossuet's statement truly reflected absolute monarchy. Each of Bossuet's four ideas on absolute monarchy can be seen in the actions and lives of the Bourbons.

"Royal authority is Sacred." Absolute rulers believed that they were given their kingdom through Divine Right, or the approval of God, that they are, as
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"Royal Authority is absolute." Absolutism for the Bourbon Kings was to have everything concerning France either dictated or approved by them. Henry IV and his adviser, the duke of Sully, helped create French absolutism. He denied the nobility to have much say in how the government was run. Unlike monarchs in the middle Ages or in the Renaissance, the nobility did not pressure him into relinquishing power. Henry and Sully also created economic stability in France by cutting taxes for the peasantry and using a mercantilist policy. Because Henry was able to directly control the French government and create prosperity in France, the stage was set for future absolute monarchs.

Louis XIV is also considered a great absolute monarch. Famous for saying "L'estat c'est moi," or "I am the state," Louis was determined to control all aspects of French government and influence French culture. Like his grandfather Henry IV, he continued to weaken the influence and strength of the nobility. He never summoned the Estates General for advice and used the palace at Versailles to "Tie the nobles with golden chains," or influence them in his favor. Louis also controlled the middle class and the peasantry with secret police and by creating a standing army and appointing commanding officers himself. Louis XIV is considered the epitome of

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