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Ideas of Monarchical ReformFénelon, Jacobitism, and the political works of the Chevalier Ramsay$
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Andrew Mansfield

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719088377

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719088377.001.0001

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The reign of Louis XIV: absolute monarchy

The reign of Louis XIV: absolute monarchy

(p.105) 4 The reign of Louis XIV: absolute monarchy
Ideas of Monarchical Reform

Andrew Mansfield

Manchester University Press

In the first of two contextual chapters surveying French political ideology, this begins by looking at the advent of Louis XIV’s personal rule from 1661. By assessing the king’s own views on kingship through his Mémoires, the chapter delineates how he embarked upon the centralisation of the French state and the reasons for it. Of note, is Louis XIV’s side-stepping of the ancient state institutions and the role of the high-aristocracy. While these changes were endorsed by (absolutist) theorists such as Bossuet to create unity, their inefficiencies coupled with repeated wars damaged the state, the economy, and welfare of the people. A desire to embolden the public good and revitalise the French state and fortunes of the aristocracy, led Louis XIV’s heir Bourgogne to draw different conclusions on governance. Aided by the duc de Saint-Simon, Bourgogne’s plans for a future French monarchy manifested an aspiration to reform France in a new age.

Keywords:   Louis XIV, Absolutism, Aristocracy, Bossuet, Saint-Simon, Bourgogne, Reform, French state

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