Chapter 10: Absolutism in Western Europe: France and Spain Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 10: Absolutism in Western Europe: France and Spain Deck (16)
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Characteristics of Absolutism

- Monarch embodies the sovereignty of a country.
- Monarchy must control the nobility.
- Monarchy must control the Catholic Church.
- Monarch commands a large standing army.


French Tax System

The French tax system was incredibly unfair, because most of the burden fell onto the peasants since the middle class refused to pay taxes.


Duke de Sully

Appointed by Henry IV (Henry of Navarre) to make the tax system more just. He failed, though he did make it more efficient. Duke de Sully reduced the royal debt, built roads and canals, revived industry and agriculture, etc.


Louis XIII

Son of Henry IV, became the monarch at the age of nine, so he was appointed Cardinal Richelieu to be his chief minster.


Cardinal Richelieu

The chief minister to Louis XIII. Succeeded at enhancing royal power, and was a politique. Played a major role in the diplomacy and international tactics during the 30 years war, and eventually made France the leading European power.


Intendent System

Richelieu was determined to lesson noble power, so he replaced all the ruling nobles with "intendants."

Strengthened royal power.

Decreased noble's political power, but did not change noble's social and economic privileges.



When Louis XIV and Cardinal Mazarin took power, the nobles sensed a period of weakness. The Fronde were a series of small rebellions led by the nobles against the royal authority meant to limit the monarchy, not overthrow it.

The Fronde eventually forced little Louis XIV to flee Paris, and vow to someday control the nobility.


Bishop Bousset

Major believer in the divine right of kings. Believed that all power comes from God, and the king's power was absolute. However, the king had to obey God's law and were responsible to God for their conduct.


"I am the state."

Louis, the "Sun King," was the most powerful monarch in French history, and reportedly boasted "I am the state." He continued to decrease the power of the nobility through out his reign.


Revocation of the Edict of Nantes

Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes because he wanted "one king, one law, one faith." However, this backfired, because his intolerance resulted in many Huguenots fleeing the country, thus France losing many skilled workers and business leaders.


Louis XIV

Took the throne along with Cardinal Mazarin. Louis was forced out of Paris with the Fronde. He then built Versaille as a symbol of his great power and wealth, and continued to limit noble power all throughout his life. Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes, creating a small economic backlash.


Louis's Goals

1. To expand its natural frontiers along the Rhine River. Louis sent multiple armies into the Netherlands, but was thwarted by a coalition formed by the Dutch Republic (balance of power).

2. To inherit Spanish Hapsburg possessions in the New World and Europe. The European powers formed the Grand Alliance against the strong France, which left France battered and weak.


Treaty of Utrecht

- kept all of Alsace.
- Louis XIV's grandson could continue to reign Spain as long as he did not unite with France.

- received Spanish naval bases.
- received asiento (slave trade) from Spain.
- received some French colonies.

- received Spanish Netherlands, changed to Austrian Netherlands.
- obtained Naples, Milan, Sardinia.

Duke of Savoy:
- received Sicily, and the title of king.
- traded Sicily for Sardinia with Austria.

Elector of Brandenburg:
- became king of Prussia.


Decline of Spanish Power: Economic Decline

1. Ferdinand and Isabella's religious intolerance to Muslims and Jews expelled many valuable skilled workers and leaders out of Spain.
2. Inflation from influx of silver from new world.
3. Experienced decline in population, industry, commerce, agriculture.
4. Costly wars with the Dutch Republic.


Decline of Spanish Power: Political Decline

1. Spain had a series of weak and inept rulers who made shitty decisions.
2. Spanish suffered a series of debilitating defeats.
3. Rulers lead extravagant and expensive lifestyles.


Succession of Rulers

Louis XIII + Cardinal Richelieu > Louis XIV + Cardinal Mazarin