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Old December 5th, 2012, 10:20 AM   #11

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On the other hand France didn't have the levelling influence of the Puritans.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 10:31 AM   #12
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Maybe Cromwell and the levellers along with Locke had something to do. They were a consequence of Calvinism which I don't think took foot on France.
weren't huguenots mainly calvinist protestants?
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Old December 5th, 2012, 10:43 AM   #13

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weren't huguenots mainly calvinist protestants?
Yes but I'm under the impression they didn't have the same amount of influence and impact the Puritans had in Britain. Besides many Huguenots fled to England and Ireland, among many other destinations in the 16th century.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 10:45 AM   #14
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Its starting to look like Louis had all the aces. Easier to tame nobles, easier to create religous uniformity, and an unrepresented lower class. Charles I had none of these. Nor could he raise money the way Colbert did for Loius XIV.
Well, he had the Fronde to contend with, but the Fronde was apparently also internally divided about the role of the monarchy, and while in favour of things like natural law it wasn't necessarily incompatible with absolutism beyond that it might want to make the royal power subject to the rule of law

I'm not sure he really had the "easier" job in taming nobles. They were so powerful the contract he (or rather perhaps Richelieu and Mazarin already during his father's reign) could make stick made the French state the special prorogative of the aristocracy along with the monarchy.

(The easy job was the one for Swedish Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna, who could conclude the Swedish aristocracy was too small and poor to be able to man the rather ambitious project for the Swedish state he had in mind, and so he resorted to building a system to recruit clever commoners, and in the end commoners and aristos alike were clearly onboard with it all. The 17th c. was a period of striking internal stability in Sweden. The peasant uprising were unrelenting in the 16th, and even the 18th c. had more popular unrest than the 17th.)

Louis XIV also got rather influential single individual critics like Vauban, the architect-general, who made himself pretty impopular in his old age by writing a critical book about the taxation system, proposing reforms, and who clearly saw the French system as flawed for lack of meritocratic incentives.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 11:08 AM   #15

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Well, he had the Fronde to contend with, but the Fronde was apparently also internally divided about the role of the monarchy, and while in favour of things like natural law it wasn't necessarily incompatible with absolutism beyond that it might want to make the royal power subject to the rule of law

I'm not sure he really had the "easier" job in taming nobles. They were so powerful the contract he (or rather perhaps Richelieu and Mazarin already during his father's reign) could make stick made the French state the special prorogative of the aristocracy along with the monarchy.

(The easy job was the one for Swedish Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna, who could conclude the Swedish aristocracy was too small and poor to be able to man the rather ambitious project for the Swedish state he had in mind, and so he resorted to building a system to recruit clever commoners, and in the end commoners and aristos alike were clearly onboard with it all. The 17th c. was a period of striking internal stability in Sweden. The peasant uprising were unrelenting in the 16th, and even the 18th c. had more popular unrest than the 17th.)

Louis XIV also got rather influential single individual critics like Vauban, the architect-general, who made himself pretty impopular in his old age by writing a critical book about the taxation system, proposing reforms, and who clearly saw the French system as flawed for lack of meritocratic incentives.

Louis only took up the reins of government himself on the death of Mazarin, so that was after the Fronde, although you were correct to mention the two cardinals they laid the groundwork for Louis success

I am still not convinced that the nobles had real power in France at any time during the 17th Century, their privaleges and tax exemptons were to compensate them for their surrender of political power. More and more they traded power for grandeur and prestige.

As for taxation during the whole ancien regime, it was a mess. Colbert did his best but financialy speaking France constantly teetered on the brink of bankrupcy.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 03:03 AM   #16
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Louis only took up the reins of government himself on the death of Mazarin, so that was after the Fronde, although you were correct to mention the two cardinals they laid the groundwork for Louis success

I am still not convinced that the nobles had real power in France at any time during the 17th Century, their privaleges and tax exemptons were to compensate them for their surrender of political power. More and more they traded power for grandeur and prestige.

As for taxation during the whole ancien regime, it was a mess. Colbert did his best but financialy speaking France constantly teetered on the brink of bankrupcy.
I don't think anyone is trying to convince you the were a power during the 17th c? They were a power prior to the 17th c. more like.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 03:13 AM   #17

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I don't think anyone is trying to convince you the were a power during the 17th c? They were a power prior to the 17th c. more like.
Agreed
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Old December 6th, 2012, 10:10 AM   #18

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The French Aristocracy is much larger and more powerful than the English at the birth of England as we know it in 1066. The fact that England is England is testiment to that enough. Absolutism needs several things, strong monarchs, weaker nobility and either uncaring or poor commoners. As the two states grew, you will notice that many English kings made sure that their lords were only rulers of small states. These eventually shrunk to even smaller sizes. Henry II, I believe was one of these, but don't quote me on that. Of course they had similer problems with their Marcher lords as the French kings had with their barons and lords. There are notable exeptions, many English knights grew to extreme power and sometimes even dominated the weaker of the plantagent line. As well as other English kings.

One of the beginings of parlimentarianism (I'm an American, we have a congress, pardon the spelling) was the Magna Carta, or the ... well I'm sure you know what it means in English. Anyways, the Magna Carta was signed by King John thanks to his apearant desire to gain his old nickname back, John Lackland. King John's greatest achievment was to die. Rather mean of me, but if he had lived slightly longer, Phillip II's son Louis would've taken the English crown, an interesting what if in history. In France on the other hand, King Phillip II had proven that he was stronger than any of the other French nobles, even the Norman Dukes, who also were the kings of England. While the Magna Carta was worth very little in that day, it grew in importance.

The Baron's wars also diminished the English PEOPLES idea of divine right. This could be attributed also to genetics, as the English nobility was mostly of Norman descent. Who were from Norse descent. Fast forwards to a day when protestantism has taken hold, and you have a strong case indeed for a parlimentary system, which also has had more power over the French parliment. While the English parliment dominated many a weak king, the French was merely a council of the nobility, they only had as much power as the individual noble. In England the parliment's strength was a sum total.

Many kings, many good kings, had tried to create the absolutist rule that Louis XIV craved and got. Phillip II, Louis XI, Louis XIII and even Louis XIV's own mother: Ann of Austria. But all tried in war. Louis made it desirable to become... weak. He essentialy recreated the late merovingian kings, and he was Charles Martel. All it took was one strong leader in the nobility to bring he house of cards down of course, but by the late period of his reign, it was to late. His unorthadox move was a master stroke, so next time you hear somone say that the grand palaces bankrupted France, or anything else along those lines, the alternitive was quite differant. Total war. Someone also said that the Hugonauts had less influence than the puritans. This is true, but it is important that if you measure the two forces side by side, rather than to their respective governments, the French Protestants come out on top.

One of the major factors in why absolutism in France was so successful was that the alternatve was so effective in England. Louis XIV, and many a noble and even the commoner were shocked at the execution of Charles I. Think what it would mean if you supported a return to monarchy, as did say England. Next thing you know the English Prime Minister is dead. Who might be a little less inclined to continue on your mission. At least for awhile. That window was seized by Louis XIV.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 03:09 PM   #19

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Your input concerning Magna Carta, and the strength of the English parliament are well made, but it is worth remembering that Charles dissolved parliament and ruled without them for 11 years, it was lack of a financial wizard like Colbert that forced him to reconvene parliament and the members had spent the intervening years sharpening their claws. As has been discussed on a seperate thread Charles showed poor judgement in choosing his advisors.
I totaly agree with your comments on Versailles, Louis dazzled them and had them chasing privilege, prestige and patronage at the expense of power. Dukes whose Grandfathers raised armies in the religous wars, now talked of fashion and arranged, operas
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