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Absolute Monarchy in France (1610-1793)

  • King Louis XIII ascends to the throne

    King Louis XIII ascends to the throne
    Under the reign of Louis XIII, France would enter a period of absolute monarchy. The monarchy would begin to consolidate its power and would gradually remove power from the nobility. This gave the monarch much greater freedom to run the country as they desired, creating an absolute monarchy.
  • Period: to

    Absolute Monarchy in France

  • Estates General has final meeting for over a century

    Estates General has final meeting for over a century
    The Estates General was a representative body in France representing the 3 different estates: the clergy, the nobility, and everyone else. In 1614, the Estates General met for the last time in over a century. There would be no national representative body in France for more than a century until it was called again in 1789.
  • Cardinal Richelieu becomes chief minister of France

    Cardinal Richelieu becomes chief minister of France
    Cardinal Richelieu would play an important role as the chief minister for Louis XIII. Richelieu would carry out many important actions that would reduce the power of groups in France besides the monarchy and further centralize the government.
  • Elimination of the castles and defenses of the nobility

    Elimination of the castles and defenses of the nobility
    Richelieu ordered all the fortified castles of the nobility to be destroyed, as well as removing other forms of defenses the nobles had. Previously, the nobles had used their castles to fight the king during rebellions. Losing those castles weakened the nobility and made them less likely to rebel. It further consolidated power in the monarchy.
  • Siege of La Rochelle (1627-1628)

    Siege of La Rochelle (1627-1628)
    The Huguenots (French Protestants) had significant religious and military power. Richelieu wanted to centralize religious, political, and military power in the monarchy. When the Huguenots rebelled, Richelieu led the French military to besiege their stronghold at La Rochelle. The siege ended in 1628 and the power of the Huguenots was severely weakened. Their rebellion would end in 1629 with the loss of their political rights and protections, though they could still practice their religion.
  • Reign of Louis XIV begins

    Reign of Louis XIV begins
    Louis XIV ascended to the throne in 1643 at the age of 5. He would eventually rule France as an absolute monarch and centralize power in himself. But for now, he could not. The first years of his reign would be run by Cardinal Mazarin. Mazarin would be in charge until his death in 1661. Before then, Louis XIV would rule like most of his predecessors. Power was not concentrated in him personally, though it was concentrated in the monarch and his ministers.
  • Louis XIV begins personal and total rule of France

    Louis XIV begins personal and total rule of France
    After the death of Cardinal Mazarin, Louis XIV decided to assume total rule of France. Before this, power had not been held by the king alone, as seen with the actions of Cardinal Richelieu and Mazarin. Louis XIV decided to take responsibility for all matters of government. He believed it was his divine right to do so. He would be in charge of all aspects of government beginning at this point in his reign, ruling as an absolute monarch.
  • Palace of Versailles becomes the seat of government

    Palace of Versailles becomes the seat of government
    Louis XIV, after ordering several expansions to the palace, declared it to be his principal residence and seat of government. The palace was a symbol of the wealth and power of the king. Nobles were required to spend some portion of the year as courtiers at Versailles. This removed nobles from their local sources of power. It also allowed the monarch to keep close surveillance on the nobles.
  • Edict of Fontainebleau

    Edict of Fontainebleau
    This edict revoked the Edict of Nantes from 1598. The Edict of Nantes had granted religious freedom and protections to the Huguenots, allowing them to practice their Protestant religion. The Edict of Fontainebleau eliminated this religious freedom and drove large numbers of Huguenots out of France. It made Catholicism the sole tolerated religion in France.
  • War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714)

    War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714)
    This was an expensive war that Louis XIV undertook to put a relative of his on the Spanish throne. He had hoped to unite the French and Spanish empires. War broke out against an alliance that hoped to prevent this. The war did not go well for France and the treaty specified the thrones could not be united. The war also racked up large amounts of debt for France that could not be easily paid off with the tax system. It contributed to the financial woes that would plague France.
  • Death of Louis XIV

    After the death of Louis XIV, the nobility began to push back and regain some of their lost power. The nobility pushed back against his will and the next king was someone other than the heir Louis XIV had designated. The nobility would use this rediscovered power to block attempts at reform by following monarchs. This would make it impossible for the kings to reform the tax system without the approval of the nobility. The finances of France would only get worse because of this.
  • French Participation in the American Revolution (1775-1783)

    French Participation in the American Revolution (1775-1783)
    France provided military and financial support to the American Colonies in the American Revolution. These massive expenses made the financial situation in France even more dire. The Enlightenment ideals of the Revolution also inspired many French, who wanted to apply the same ideals to France. These would both be important events leading up to the French Revolution.
  • 1789 Meeting of the Estates General

    1789 Meeting of the Estates General
    Due to the dire financial situation France was in because of numerous wars and an unfair tax system that left the church and nobility untaxed, the Estates General was called for the first time in over a century. The king, Louis XVI, had not wanted to call the Estates General, but had been left no choice. He had been unable to enforce any other reforms and nobles refused to help with the financial crisis unless the Estates General was called. Even when it was called, Louis XVI tried to ignore it.
  • Tennis Court Oath

    Tennis Court Oath
    The 3rd Estate had been locked out of the Estates General by the efforts of the other 2 Estates and Louis XIV because of their calls for greater representation and democracy. So, they met in a Tennis Court where they proclaimed that they would keep meeting and would not stop meeting until France had a constitution. This was a major event in the French Revolution.
  • Storming of the Bastille

    Storming of the Bastille
    The Storming of the Bastille by revolutionaries was a major event in the French Revolution. It is often considered the end of the Ancien Regime and the start of the French Revolution. The revolutionaries would gain more and more power after this event.
  • Monarchy is Abolished

    As a part of the French Revolution, many of the features of the Ancien Regime were abolished, including the special privileges of the nobility and Catholic Church. The monarchy had become a constitutional monarchy, but it was completely abolished by 1792. The monarchy had ceased being an absolute monarchy before this, but now it was not even a constitutional monarchy.
  • Execution of Louis XVI

    Execution of Louis XVI
    Louis XVI was executed as a traitor. France was at war with monarchies like Austria, Prussia, and Britain that wanted to end the Revolution and restore Louis XVI to the throne. To prevent this, the revolutionaries executed Louis XVI at the guillotine. His execution left France without any monarch at all for a while. There would never again be an absolute monarch in France.
  • Sources 1

    YouTube: The French Revolution: Crash Course World History #29
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTTvKwCylFY Wikipedia: Absolute Monarchy in France
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_monarchy_in_France Wkipedia: Cardinal Richelieu
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardinal_Richelieu Wikipedia: Palace of Versailles
  • Sources 2

    Encyclopedia Brittanica: Louis XIV
    https://www.britannica.com/biography/Louis-XIV-king-of-France Encyclopedia Brittanica: French Revolution
  • Group Members

    Joseph Beauregard