Age of Absolutism
U.S. policies rooted in colonial era
America was only "a pawn on the European chessboard," a side-show until the French and Indian War that began in Ohio 1754. The colonists then became willing to fight for own interests but were repeatedly betrayed by European policies. The Americans developed a desire to be isolated from the wars of Europe, but Americans would be involved in all 9 "world wars" 1688-1945. America was geographically isolated but "a thousand different cords" tied it to Europe.
- 1648 Peace of Westphalia ended 30 Years War 1618-48 of Catholic Europe vs. Protestant Europe.
- 1648 was the beginning of modern European history, centralized institutions replaced privileged interests (church, nobles, kingdoms), especially the rise of the all-powerful monarchy = absolutism.
- 1648 established a European balance of power until the French Revolution, marked the emergence of the profession of diplomacy, although diplomats existed in 11th century Italian city-states
- 1648 France was the big winner, gained cities and bishoprics in Alsace, due to the genius of Mazarin who fulfilled rise of French power begun by Richelieu (1624-43) and who allied France with Dutch and Cromwell's England, and who arranged marriage of Bourbon Louis14 to Hapsburg Marie (d. 1683) who was daughter of Spanish Philip 4.
- 1659 Peace of Pyrenees ended war between France and Spain, Spain agreed to precedence of French ambassadors in Europe.
- 1659 France replaced Spain as dominant power for next 200 years.
- Rise of France as Holy Roman Empire declined (was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire = Voltaire). Dutch and Swiss Republics recognized by HRE as independent. Hapsburgs gave up conquests in Germany and Germany divided
- Europe balance of power between Protestant north and Catholic south
Louis 14th -"Sun King"
- Louis14th of France was the "1st servant of the state," ruled 1643-1715, from age 5 until death at 77. He assumed full power after 1661 death of Mazarin and was absolute but not whimsical. He built institutions to express national power =mercantilism, diplomacy, war. He established "intendants" to administer 36 "generalities" in France, created head tax as well as land tax and excise tax on salt. Colbert's high protective tariff reduced barriers between provinces but raised barriers around the borders of France, thus increasing the power of the centralized state. Mercantilism used economic means to promote political ends. It assumed that only a fixed amount of wealth existed in the world, and bullionism assumed that "wealth consists of money." National policies were to promote exports over imports, raise protective duties, provide bounties for enumerated commodities, acquire colonies for raw materials, protect trade routes, develop domestic industries. He nationalized the Gobelin textile factory. He supported Louvois' large conscript army with muskets and bayonets and new rank of Lt. Colonel to check on the nobility's colonel, created engineer corps, uniforms, funded Vauban's technology of fortifications. Louis sought to expand France to natural boundaries of Rhine, Alps, Pyrenees, sea. His reign was the beginning of treaties (from French "traiter' = to negotiate) and a diplomacy that featured a display of power and opulence at the Versailles palace.
Versailles - symbol of absolutism
- The Versailles palace of Louis 14 was built by 36,000 workers at cost $500m, landscaped by Le Notre, the River Eure was diverted for fountains and streams. The interior was furnished with great mirrors, Gobelin tapestries in Grand Gallery, paintings by Charles Le Brun. The royal court grew from 600 to 10,000 with lavish displays, clothing, parties and dancing. The theater by Moliere represented the greatest expression of the French language. Louis 14 became history's greatest patron of the arts, expanded the Louvre, built the famous Colonnade in baroque style with classical themes, showing a love of glory but to excess. Louis paved the streets of Paris, 5000 streetlamps, police department, produced a Code Louis, but he was source of all justice.
War for Empire
- In 1661, Louis 14 saw weakness everywhere, opportunity for France.
- Cromwell died 1658, restoration of Charles II in England
- no Petrine Revolution in Russia until Peter the Great (1689-1725)
- HRE declining, Germany and Austria emerging
- 1667 Treaty of Breda - former French ally Holland joined maritime alliance with England and Sweden
- Louis began 1667 war against Holland for commerce
- 1674 William of Orange formed 1st alliance against France, with Spain and Germany and Austria
- 1679 Peace of Nimwegen gave territory to France
- War for Empire - 1680s to1780s - Second 100 Years War
- French & Indian War - 1713 to1763 - England defeats France