Absolutism in Seventeenth-Century Europe (Problems in Focus) by John Miller, Graham Scott

By John Miller, Graham Scott

So much 17th Century eu Monarchs governed territories that have been culturally and institutionally varied. compelled via the escalating scale of conflict to mobilise evermore males and funds they attempted to convey those territories less than nearer keep watch over, overriding neighborhood and sectional liberties. This used to be justified via a concept stressing the monarchs absolute energy and his accountability to put the great of his country ahead of specific pursuits. The essays of this quantity examine this method in states at very varied levels of financial and political improvement and verify the good gulf that frequently existed among the monarchs strength in conception and in perform.

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2. France ROGER METIAM THE appropriateness of the term 'absolutism' as a description of the seventeenth-century French monarchy has been the subject of extensive debate among historians since the year 1945, when Roland Mousnier published his impressive thesis on the venal office-holding system under the first two Bourbons. 1 His exhaustive examination of the Norman bureaucracy revealed the extent to which these hereditary offices were distinct from the royal authority which had created them. Their holders were theoretically agents of the crown, but the right of an officier to designate his own successor ensured that the king had little control over the personnel of his own administration.

Even under Louis XIV, when an ad hoc council of legal experts was created to advise on the great ordinances of 1667, 1669, 1670 and 1673, the members of that body took care to seek the opinions of the sovereign courts on every detail of the proposals. Moreover these ordonnances, like many of those which preceded them, were attempts to systematise legal procedures, not to codify or amend the laws themselves. There were many different kinds of law in France, from the customary tradition of the north to the written codes of the south, and there were many local variants as well.

His general principle is that: There is no perfect form of Government, where the disposing of the Succession is not in the present Sovereign'. Under monarchy this can only mean that each king is fully entitled to make such dispositions as he sees fit for the succession to his throne (pp. 149-52). There remains still the question of the moral framework, so to call it, within which, or in terms of which, this absolute monarchy is intended to operate. Throughout the early modern period, as in the preceding medieval centuries, there was a general, an all but universal assumption that divine and natural law provided that framework.

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