The Age of Absolutism in France

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Absolutism in France (Order #A2068670) European monarchs did not simply emerge on the scene as absolute rulers but slowly acquired supreme power over a long period of time. This interest in becoming absolute rulers infected the European monarchs, becoming particularly acute during the religious wars of the 16th century. As a result of the chaos and destruction, the kings of Europe began to consolidate power into a centralized system with the monarch at the top. By the beginning of the 17th century a number of European countries had monarchs who exercised absolute power over their kingdoms. One of the largest and most populated countries in Western Europe during this time was France, which slowly centralized governmental power in the hands of a single monarch. France has often been considered to be one of the best examples of how a monarchy assumed centralized and absolute power; ushering in the Age of Absolutism. Louis XIV of France is often referred to as the "Sun King" and is a prime example of a European monarch who exercised absolute power. However, absolutism in France did not begin with Louis XIV, but with his grandfather and founder of the Bourbon Dynasty, Henry IV. It was Henry IV who began the centralization of power by keeping France at peace during most of his reign by tolerating Protestants. During this time he also strengthened the monarchy's finances by charging royal officials a fee to inherit their positions. He also lowered taxes in an effort to rebuild
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