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Absolute Monarchs

Main Idea: After a century of war and riots, France was ruled by Louis XIV, the most powerful monarch of his time.


I.                 France

A.   Religious Wars

1.    Catholics v. Huguenots (Fr. Protestants)—8 civil wars

2.    Henry IV: Edict of Nantes—guaranteed religious tolerance; assassinated

3.    Louis XIII & Richelieu: ruled by moral principles; ambitious & enjoyed exercising authority

a      Against Huguenots: ended the right to worship; no walls for Protestant cities

b      Decrease noble power: increased power of middle class gov't agents

c       Thirty Years War: attempt to end Hapsburg rule in areas surrounding France

4.    French thinkers: skepticism

a      Michel de Montaigne: the essay

b      Rene Descartes: helped develop scientific method—used observations & reasons to answer arguments

B.   Louis XIV—“The Sun King”

1.    Cardinal Mazarin: rules during his childhood; raises taxes & strengthens the central gov't, despite nobility-led riots, ended Thirty Yrs. War

2.    Goal: economic, political, cultural brilliance

a      Weakened power of nobles—increased power of gov't agents

b      Jean Baptiste Colbert: Finance minister; mercantilism

3.    Grand Style: luxury; built palace at Versailles

a      Molière: writer, comedic plays

C.   Wars

1.    attempts at expansion: small countries join forces to equal power

2.    War of the Spanish Succession: fought over Bourbon strength; Philip of Anjou keeps throne but no joining with France; England gets Gibraltar