Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Why did absolutism succeed in France while constitutionalism triumphed in England and Holland?"

I think absolutism succeeded in France, as opposed to in England, because the French aristocrats had very little political power. In France the king was only required to consult the aristocrats, and nobles when increasing taxes. In order to gain the loyalty of the noble class, Louis XIV gave the aristocrats tax exemption. After the nobles gained their tax exemption, they were submissive and allowed Louis his "Absolutism".

In England, the aristocratic class formed the parliment and for the most part stood in direct opposition of the King. The Parliment had their own agenda, and thought keeping the King's power in check was more important than a tax break. The English were stronger then the French aristocrats and as a result didn't succumb to the absolute rule of their King.


Cote Laramie said...

You're right that the aristocrats in England were more directly opposed to the king. Their was a whole group the Whigs that disliked him (James II). The main reason for their opposition towards James II was because he was Catholic and almost all of the aristocrats/members of parliament were either Anglican or Puritan. Since Catholicism or "popery" was hated intensely by Puritans and not supported by Anglicans (The Church of England) either, the boldness of the King's religious views ignited extreme disfavor of him throughout parliament.

In the case of James I and Charles I, it was their need for money (similar to Louis's) that drove parliament to become annoyed with them. And when Charles decided to take matters into his own hands by taxing the people himself it was an incredible gesture of disrespect toward the entire governmental system of England.

If Louis had been so different and disrespectful he probably wouldn't have won so much support from the nobles even if he had been able to tax them without their consent. It wasn't that Louis didn't tax them, it was that he respected the laws that had been made before he came to power.

Teacher said...

"I think absolutism succeeded in France, as opposed to in England, because the French aristocrats had very little political power."

THAT's the question! Why did they end up with little political power?

Hilary Kane said...

The French aristocrats kept their privilege but lost most of their political power. Especially when Versailles was finished, the privileged and high-class lifestyles were intact, but the French aristocrats lost all of their power. The English aristocrats, on the other hand, formed the Houses of Commons and Lords and were able to keep some of their privilege and power.

Gordon Webster Ellinwood said...

Hillary said it all.