France During the Age of Absolutism

By: Alex, Tim, EJ

French Wars of Religion (Religious Changes)

One thing that changed during the period were the tensions between Huguenots and the Catholics. Huguenots are French protestants that Catholics disliked. On St. Bartholomew's Day, the Huguenots and Catholics were together to watch a royal wedding, then soon violence started to erupt. This violence led to a massacre of more than 3,000 Huguenots. Twenty six years later, Henry IV granted Huguenots religious toleration in the Edict of Nantes in 1598. The Edict of Nantes stopped the fighting between the Huguenots and Catholics which was a pretty big change. The Edict of Nantes was a law made at Nantes in Brittany on April 13, 1598 by Henry IV of France. The Edict of Nantes granted an immense measure of religious liberty to the Huguenots. Also, Henry IV changed the power of the French nobles by reducing their power. Another change was after Henry VI’s assassination, his son Louis XIII inherited the throne at the age of nine. In 1624, Louis XIII made a big change by appointing Richelieu as chief minister.

Supporters/Religion of the French Empire

King Louis XIV put an anti-Protestant religious system into order. He believed that a united nation had united religion, so he wanted to have all of France live under one religion. When he did this, there were people of the Huguenot religion living in France. King Louis smashed their churches and schools, forcing them to flee from France and its unified religious policies.

France in the Thirty Years' War (Political Changes)

Another change was France entering the Thirty Years’ War. France fought against the Holy Roman Empire and Spain in an attempt to gain European leadership directed by the Catholic Cardinal Richelieu. Louis XIV's grandson Philip V inherited the Spanish throne. This started a war called the War of the Spanish Succession with the British. European powers didn’t want two crowns to unite. The British made sure this didn’t happen. The Treaty of Utrecht ended the war in 1713. The Treaty of Utrecht agreed for France to never try to unite the two crowns of the Spanish and French.

Brief History of France in the Age of Absolutism

Like most empires, France sought stability through absolutism. Governments were struggling to avoid the breakdown of the state. One of the best examples of absolutism was King Louis XIV. King Louis became king of France and immediately became a man of great power. This was achieved by centralizing the government. While nobles and princes wanted some of Louis’ power, he denied it to them and used total control to control France.

Legacy of the Empire

In 1715, the legacy of King Louis XIV ended France with great debt and with lots of enemies. His legacy was continued by his great-grandson. He was only at the age of five when he succeeded the crown of France.

King Louis XIV

King Louis XIV came to power at the age of 4 in 1643. Once he was 23, he decided it was his time to become sole ruler of France. He did many things such as building the Palace of Versailles that helped centralize, stabilize, and strengthen France's government to help it become a powerful European nation.

Jean Baptiste Colbert

Jean Baptiste Colbert was a financial genius. He believed the wealth and economy of France should go towards the state, which enacted the mercantilist system in France. He was the controller of general finances under the rule of King Louis XIV.

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The Difference between the views of King Louis XIV and Jacques Benigne Bossuet

King Louis XIV believed that his rule was greater than any other. He thought himself a true sole king. On the other hand, Jacques thought that the king should use his power for the good of the state and that the king’s power was not above the law.

Major Accomplishments

France made many great accomplishments during the Age of Absolutism. Some of these accomplishments were:

  1. Unified religion

  2. Centralized Government

  3. Creation of the Palace of Versailles

  4. National stability

  5. Became the strongest country of Europe at the time

Important Terms to Know

Absolute Monarch: One king with practically unlimited power (King Louis XIV)

Divine Right: Political idea that monarchs got their power from god.

Dynasty: A family or group that controls a country for multiple generations.

Huguenot: French Protestants who were forced to leave from France to England

The Sequence of Events Leading Up to the Edict of Nantes

The Edict of Nantes recognized Catholicism as the sole official religion of France.

This is the sequence of events that occurred leading up to the Edict of Nantes:

1. The battle in France between the Catholics and Huguenots.

2. In 1589, the Huguenot political leader Henry Navarre took the throne as Henry IV.

3. Henry IV converted to Catholicism because he wouldn’t be accepted as a Protestant.

4. In 1594, Henry was crowned king in 1594.

5. Henry IV granted the Protestants religious toleration in the Edict of Nantes in 1598, which helped stopped the fighting between the Catholics and Huguenots.

List of Important Names and Dates

Louis XIV: Thought to be the best example of a ruler that shows absolutism during his reign. Became king in 1643.

Jacques- Benigne Bossuet: He was one of the most influential spokesman against papal authority in the French Church.

Cardinal Marazin- He was the minister that took Richelieu’s place after his death in 1661.

Cardinal Richelieu-XIII’s chief minister.

Jean-Baptiste Colbert: He was the controller of general finances under Louis XIV’s rule.

King Louis XIII: King Louis XIV's father.

Epic Rap Battle About King Louis XIV

Epic Rap Battle Louis XIV VS. Henry VIII


Age of Absolutism Accomplishments summary: "Age of Absolutism Review." Age of Absolutism Review., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2015.

Age of Absolutism Timeline: "Age of Absolutism and Constitutionalism Timeline." Age of Absolutism and Constitutionalism Timeline. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2015.

Background Information Absolutism in France: "Absolutism in France." Absolutism in France., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2015.

Epic Rap Battle: Scott, Austin. "Epic Rap Battle Louis XIV VS. Henry VIII." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2015.

History Textbook: Spielvogel, Jackson J. Glencoe World History. New York, NY: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2005. Print.

Historyteacher Absolutism facts: "Age of Absolutism." Age of Absolutism. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

Important Terms quizlet:

"Quizlet QWait;" Age of Absolutism- France Flashcards. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2015.

Louis XIV Biography: Editors. "Louis XIV Biography." A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2015.

Picture of Jean Baptiste Colbert:

"HistoryCourt Characters." Jean-Baptiste Colbert. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2015.

Picture of King Louis XIV:

National Gallery of Scotland. BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2015.