Western European Absolutism: The Unexpected Twist

Western European Absolutism: The Unexpected Twist

A twisted combition of politics and divine power.
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As European countries slowly moved out of the age of the Renaissance and the Reformation, deeper internal reforms were taking place behind closed doors, only to emerge prominently in France and England in the age of absolutism in Western Europe. From the development of absolutist ideas of Louis XIV of France, this type of development differed greatly from that of Eastern Europe and these societies were more complex and governed with a strong economy.

Unlike that of the English, French absolutism was compounded by effects of the French Wars of Religion in which Henry IV brought about the use of politique and the issue of the Edict of Nantes in 1598 that provided religious tolerance to the rising protestant unity of the Huguenots. The establishment of the Bourbon Dynasty rid the Valois family, strengthening the French monarchy and moving toward more secular views.


Henry IV

After ending the French Wars of Religion, Henry IV greatly enacted religious tolerance across the land, bringing temporary peace between the Catholics and Protestant worshippers. Meanwhile, he also established a new nobility called "nobility of the robe," who purchased titles from the monarch in order to gain high ranking titles and remain loyal to the king. This purchasing granted a new source of revenue for the French monarchy, capable of paying off royal debt caused by the wars and create a stronger military. The Duke of Sully, the finance minister, also advocated mercantilism, the increased role of a state in its economy in order to achieve desirable trade. This granted the monarch the power to place monopolies on spices such as sugar and salt, giving more power and control over prices.

Cardinal Richelieu

Like Henry IV, Richelieu too was a politique who placed the interest of the state before all others. By creating the Intendant system which replaced local officials with civil servants, Richelieu was able to ensure the loyalty to the monarchy by the civilians. This also lowered the power of the nobility as Intendants were mainly composed of middle-class citizens, creating a more direct link between the monarch and the people. Thus, the government became more efficiently controlled. He increased taxation to fund a stronger military; however, under the Peace of Alais, he revoked Huguenot lands and armies as the Cardinal tried to reinstitute Catholicism in France. Cardinal Richelieu's work became the basis for absolutism in France.

Louis XIV, "Sun King"

Finally, the quintessential absolute ruler in European history, Louis XIV of France sanctioned the official idea of absolute rule in Western Europe. He personified the idea of a sovereign state, leading to the rise of nationalistic ideals; however, claiming the divine right of kings, Louis XIV's famous saying goes, "I am the state." He believed that he was appointed by God to the throne; thus, anyone who objects him would ultimately be rejecting the word of God, granting him the longest reign of European history — 72 years.

Why was he so successful?

Firstly, as a child, Cardinal Mazarin had taken over his spot as Louis XIV had inherited the throne as a toddler. During that time, because of religious intolerance and noble disputes caused by Richelieu, the nobles revolted against Mazarin in the Fronde. Faced with humiliation, Louis XIV vowed to never let this happen again.

A governmental organization was key. Louis recruited chief ministers from the middle class to keep societal order to keep aristocrats from rising from power and continued the Intendant system to keep the nobility in check. Parlements were fearful of Louis XIV as they had already failed during the Fronde; therefore, the French monarch had little opposition. The Estates General was never called into session. He also took control over the peasantry and instituted corvée, a forced labor required of peasants to work on public projects.

To enforce unity among the French, he created a system of one king, one law, one religion. He created a unified law throughout France, uniting the two halves together. Additionally, he also revoked the Edict of Nantes with the Edict of Fountainbleu claiming that the Protestants were the main cause of chaos; therefore, it must be eliminated. Over 200,000 Calvinists fled France, leading to a downfall of its economy.

Versailles Palace

This was Louis XIV's greatest achievement. A palace created of Baroque architecture and a royal court of over 600 people cost 60 percent of the entire French revenue. Using grandeur and gold, he proclaimed himself as the one king and elevated his status. This was a symbol of his wealth and power, attracting more people into his realm and his reign. Here, he gained absolute power over the nobility as they all had to live in the palace as Louis could keep an eye on what the nobles were doing. Here was the epitome of an effective absolute rule.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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15 Signs You Have Senioritis

Wondering if those last 3 months are realllyyy worth that degree
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People always say, “College is the best 4 years of your life!” While college is a great time, it’s almost like having a baby and the baby is you. You get no sleep, you cry a lot, you depend on others to feed you, and you have no idea what you’re doing. So here are some telltale signs that you need a breather…or a 12-day nap.

1. People tell you how nice you look when you actually wear jeans instead of yoga pants.


2. You cancel your weekend plans just to catch up on all the sleep you’ve been missing during the week.

3. You say the words “I can’t wait to get out of here” at least once a day.

4. You have competitions to see whose dark circles under their eyes are the darkest.

5. Sleeping through the 20 alarms you set is a normal occurrence.

6.You calculate how many classes you can miss without failing before you even start on the homework assignments.


7. You constantly say, “I have so much to do!” and then proceed to binge watch Jane the Virgin on Netflix.

8. Apologizing to your teachers for forgetting to do your assignments has become part of your everyday routine.

9.You text people “are you going to class?” to see if you’re the only one who is slacking today.

10. People don’t recognize you when you actually wear makeup.

11.You wonder why you bought the book for class when you know you're not going to read it anyways.


12. You’re constantly running late…or as I like to call it, “making an entrance."

13. You forget how long it’s been since you showered.

14. You’re forced to do laundry because you ran out of all your yoga pants and t-shirts.

15.You start wondering if those last 3 months are realllyyy worth that degree...

Cover Image Credit: harrypotter.wikia.com

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How To: Prepare For Mid-Terms

It's the most stressful time of the year.
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It's that time of the semester again. The tests are beginning to pile up, the homework is non stop, and you don't remember the last time you had a free second to yourself. Midterms are upon us once again. I have test after test after essay after project. The work seems never-ending. Here are tips on thriving, not just surviving.

1. Study

This one is first and obvious. if you want to do well you have to study. The best way to study in my opinion is to write things down. That is the easiest way to memorize key terms or just any simple facts that will be needed for a test.

2. Be organized

Have a planner, and write in it. This the only way I am ever sane during the school year. I look at my planner every day to see what I have to do for the day and weeks ahead. It is also nice to be organized as a whole. Keeping papers together in folders for each class and notes neat and organized will make studying for midterms even easier.

3. Do not procrastinate!

This is something I am definitely still working on. The best way to prevent procrastination when it comes to studying is to take it a little at a time. A week or so in advance of a test, starting studying. Maybe a couple key terms, or a chapter a day. Your memory will strengthen, and the night before review everything you have already covered. Instead of cramming it all in the day before, you will recall all the material quickly and accurately.

4. Sleep

Another thing that college students do not often make a priority. It seems that everyone focuses on drinking coffee and trying to stay up as late as humanly possible. It is not healthy, at all. Get some sleep. Even if you are studying up late at night to put as much information as possible into your head, it will affect your mood the morning after. If you wake up with a headache after getting little sleep, it might be hard to succeed on a test compared to a good night's sleep.

5. Take a break sometimes

After a long day of studying, a break can be needed. A simple 30 minute break can help refresh your mind to be prepared to study more. Personally I like to watch Netflix. Any shows like Friends or The Office really help me take a break and not think about school for 25 minutes. I also like food breaks. Eating is a great way to gain some energy while talking to friends, and not worrying about studying.

6. Don't forget to be positive!

While a lot of work all at once can cause stress, think on the bright side. With a negative attitude, the work will never get done, and the studying will never be as successful.

Cover Image Credit: User:K.lee

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