A day in the life of louis XIV

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Scientific Revolution, The Enlightenment, Absolute Monarchs







For much of his reign, Louis XIV resided at the palace of Versailles. There he established a lavish court, which the country’s leading nobles were expected to attend. Life at Versailles revolved around the king, and the simplest events of his day, such as getting dressed or going to bed, were accompanied by pomp and ceremony in which the court was required to take part. In the excerpt below The Memoirs of Saint-Simon, one of Louis’ courtiers, the Duc de Saint-Simon, describes a typical day’s activities tell you about the charact of Louis XIV

A t eight o’clock every morning the King was awoken by his First Valet-de-Chambre, who slept in the room with him. At the same time the First Physician and First Surgeon were admitted; and as long as she lived the King’s former wet nurse also came in and would kiss him. He would then be rubbed down, because he perspired a great deal. At a quarter past eight the Great Chamberlain was admitted, together with those members of the court who had the grandes entrees. The Great Chamberlain then opened the curtains round the bed…and offered him hold water from a stoup at the head of the bed. This was the chance for any courtier who wished to ask a favor or to speak to the King, and if one did so the others withdrew to a distance.http://www.probertencyclopaedia.com/j/louis%20xiv.jpg

The Chamberlain then handed the King the book of the Office of the Holy Ghost, and having doe so retired to the next room with everyone else. The King said the Office …and then, putting on his dressing gown, summoned them back into the room; meanwhile the second entrée was admitted and, a few minutes later, the body of the court. By the time they came in the King was getting into his breeches (for he put on nearly all the clothes himself), which he accomplished with considerable grace. He was shaved every other day, with the court watching; while it was being done he wore a short wig, without which he never allowed himself to be seen…While his barber was at work he sometimes talked to those around him, about hunting or some other light topic. He had no dressing table at hand, only a servant who held up a class for him.

When he had finished dressing he knelt down at the side of bed and said his prayers…Next the King went into his study, followed by those permitted to do so-which, as a number of appointments carried this privilege, amounted to quite a gathering. He then announced his appointments for the day, so that everyone knew what he would be doing every quarter of an hour. Then the room was cleared…

The courtiers waited in the Gallery until the king was ready to go to Mass, at which the choir always sang a motet. The Ministers were told as soon as he had gone to the chapel, and they then gathered in the King’s study…As soon as Mass was over the Council met, and that was the last engagement in the morning. One or other of the Councils met every day except Thursdays and Fridays – Thursday was kept free, and the few private audiences which the King very occasionally granted took place then; on Friday he used to make his confession and his confessor would often stay with him until dinner-time. Dinner was [usually] at one…

Dinner was always au petit couvert – that is to say, the King ate alone in his bedroom…The meal was substantial whether he had ordered petit couvert or tres-petit couvert, for even the latter consisted of three courses, each made up of several different dishes…Monsieur [the King’s brother] often attended, and when present always handed the King his napkin and them remained standing. If the King saw that he intended to remain, he would ask him if he wished to be seated: Monsieur would bow…and sit down. He would remain seated until the end of the mean, when he would again hand the King his napkin…

As soon as he had finished his dinner the King rose from the table and went into his study, where he spend time feeding his pointers and playing with them. Then he changed…after which he went down to the Marble Court by his own private staircase…He liked fresh air, and if he could not get it he suffered from headaches and vapours, which had originally been caused by too much perfume – with the consequence that for years he had not cared for anything except orange water, and anyone who was going to approach him had to be very careful about this.

He felt neither heat nor cold, and wet weather affected him very little – it had to be very bad indeed to stop him from going out. At least once a week, and more if he were at [his estates at] Marly or Fontainebleau…

If there was no Council he often went over to Marly or Trianon for dinner…After dinner one of the Ministers usually came in with some work, and when that was done he would pass the rest of a summer afternoon strolling with the ladies playing cards. Sometimes he would get up a lottery in which there were no blanks, and every ticket drew a prize of plate, jewellery, or a dress length of rich material which was a delicate way of making presents to the ladies about him…

The King’s supper was served, always au grand couvert, at ten o’clock, and the entire Royal Family sat down with him. [A frequent complaint was that the King was late and the meal often did not start until eleven thirty.] The meal was attended by a large number of people, both those who were entitle to be seated and those who were not…

After supper the King would stand by the balustrade at the foot of his bed for a few minutes, with the whole court about him; then he would bow to the ladies and retire into his study, where he played for an hour or so with his children and grandchildren…

Before he retired to be the King went to feed his dogs; then he said good night and, going into his room, knelt down at his bedside to say his prayers. After he had undressed he would bow, which meant ‘Good-night,’ and at that sign all the court retired. As they filed out he, standing by the fireplace, gave the password to the Captain of the Guard. It was the last opportunity for the day of speaking to the King, and if anyone stepped forward the others withdrew at once and left him alone with the King.


-Answer on a separate sheet of paper and write the answer in COMPLETE sentences

  1. What normally was the king’s last official engagement of the morning?

  2. What in the excerpt suggests that Louis XIV enjoyed outdoor life?

  3. What does the routine of life at Versailles tell you about Louis XIV’s character?




Country, Dynasty & Religion

Major Accomplishments

Henry IV

Louis XIII

Cardinal Richelieu

Louis XIV

James I

Charles I

Charles II

James II

William & Mary

Modern History Sourcebook: The Bill of Rights, 1689

1. That the pretended power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws, by regal authority, without consent of parliament is illegal.

2. That the pretended power of dispensing with the laws, or the execution of law by regal authority, as it hath been assumed and exercised of late, is illegal.

3. That the commission for erecting the late court of commissioners for ecclesiastical causes, and all other commissions and courts of like nature, are illegal and pernicious.

4. That levying money for or to the use of the crown by pretense of prerogative, without grant of parliament, for longer time or in other manner than the same is or shall be granted, is illegal.

5. That it is the right of the subjects to petition the king, and all commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal.

6. That the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with consent of parliament, is against law.

7. That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defense suitable to their conditions, and as allowed by law.

8. That election of members of parliament ought to be free.

9. That the freedom of speech, and debates or proceedings in parliament, ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of parliament.

10. That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

11. That jurors ought to be duly impaneled and returned, and jurors which pass upon men in trials for high treason ought to be freeholders.

12. That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void.

13. And that for redress of all grievances, and for the amending, strengthening, and preserving of the laws, parliament ought to be held frequently.

From The Statutes: Revised Edition (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1871), Vol. 2, pp. 10-12.

US Bill of Rights:

First Ten Amendments

1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

2. A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

3. No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

4. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

5. No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

6. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

7. In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

8. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

9. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

10. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Directions: Use the reading above on the English and US Bill of Rights to fill out the chart below

English Bill of Rights


US Bill of Rights

Other Improvements of the Scientific Revolution

Zacharias Jansen invented the first microscope. Evangelista Torricelli developed the first mercury barometer. This tool was developed to measure atmospheric pressure and predicting weather. Gabriel Fahrenheit developed the first thermometer to use mercury in glass. His studies showed water freezing at 32 degrees. Anders Celsius developed another thermometer using a different scale. His studies showed water freezing at 0 degrees.

There were also many medical improvements. Andreas Vesalius studied human anatomy and published a book that detailed the insides of the human body including organs, bones and muscles. William Harvey also studied anatomy where he showed that the heart acted like the pump to circulate the blood. Edward Jenner introduced the first vaccine to prevent smallpox. Robert Boyle considered modern father of chemistry, challenged Aristotle’s ideas. Boyle said that matter was made up of smaller primary particles that joined together in different ways. Boyle’s law, how the volume, temperature, and pressure of gas affect each other.

Deism was also another important discovery of the time. The deists believed in a powerful god who created and presided over an orderly realm but who did not interfere in its workings. The deists believed that God was a watchmaker, one who set up the world, gave it natural laws by which to operate, and then let it run itself (under natural laws that could be proved mathematically).

  1. What were some important new inventions and medical improvements of the time?

  1. What is deism?

The Enlightenment

While the scientists put forth revolutionary ideas, the philosophers and social critics had a revolution of their own. The Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries focused on the role of mankind in relation to government, ideas which greatly influenced people all over the world.

While the Enlightenment was a broad intellectual movement, many of its leading thinkers were French. The Enlightenment thinkers are known collectively as philosophes, the French word for philosophers. They developed new ideas on government, economics and religion.

The philosophes shared the Enlightenment’s faith in the supremacy of reason, believing that people, through the use of their reason, could find answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. Reason could be used to reveal the natural laws that regulated human affairs. Once these natural laws were discovered, the institutions of society could be reformed to bring them more in accordance with the natural order. Many influential writers focused on studying characteristics of society and people to help solve many world problems.

  1. How did the Enlightenment change political and social thought?

  1. How important is reason to the Enlightenment

The Enlightened Despots

Some of Europe’s absolute monarchs embraced reforms in their respective countries. These enlightened despots as they were called, maintained that the monarch must rule with the welfare of his subjects and that state foremost in his or her policies.

Frederick the II also known as Frederick the Great, was King of Prussia from 1740-1786. Frederick II exerted tight control over his subjects. Still he saw himself as the “first servant of the state”, with a duty to work for the common good. He had swamps drained and forced peasants to grow new crops. He also tolerated religious differences and welcomed victims of religious prosecution. His reforms were directed mainly at making the Prussian government more efficient which helped make him more powerful as well.

Catherine the Great accepted the ideas of the Enlightenment. She was in contact with Voltaire and praised him. Catherine became empress of Russia in 1762 and she made limited reforms in law and government. She granted nobles more rights and criticized the institution of serfdom. But like Frederick she intended to give up no power. She joined with the Kings of Austria and Prussia and participated in the First Partition of Poland in 1772, in which the three countries seized a slice of Polish territory. This was followed by two more partitions and soon Poland was completely dissolved among the three empires. In the end, Catherine’s contribution to Russia was not reform but expansion.

Joseph II was King of Austria and considered the most radical enlightened despot. Joseph II would disguise himself as a peasant and wonder his empire to find out about the peoples problems. For this he was known as the “peasant emperor.” He set out to reform Austria by first granting religious toleration to Jews and Protestants. He also ended censorship and gave people freedom of the press. Joseph II took Church lands and monasteries, sold them and used the profits to built hospitals. He also abolished serfdom in his empire; however these reforms were all reversed after his death

  1. Why are these rulers considered enlightened despots?

  1. What were some changes made by Catherine the Great?

Scientific Revolution/ Scientific Achievements Chart
Use the information found in Chapter 22 to complete the following chart. Fill in the missing information for each entry




  1. Rene Descartes

  • Helped develop the _________________

  • Relied on ________________ to prove basic truths

  1. _______________

  • Heliocentric Theory

  1. Johannes Kepler

  • Helped Tycho Brahe develop a __________________

theory from detailed measurements he had made of the planets

  • Proved that planets orbited the sun in a pattern, or __________________

  1. _______________

  • Built the first telescope

  • First to observe Saturn, craters of the moon and sun__________

  1. Sir Isaac Newton

  • Wrote a book explaining the law of universal motion

  • Developed a new form of mathematics called _______________

  1. _______________

  • Contributed greatly to the understanding of human anatomy

  • Studied anatomy by dissecting human corpses

  1. William Harvey

  • Studied the human heart

  • Described how blood circulated and the heart functioned

  1. Antony van Leeuwenhoek

  • Re-invented/ improved the microscope

  • First person to describe __________________

  1. _______________

  • First thermometer

  • Stated that freezing was at _______ degrees

  1. _______________

  • Father of modern chemistry

  • Boyle’s law states ____________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier

  • Developed methods for precise measuring the quantity of elements in the chemical reaction

  • Matter may change its form or shape, its mass always remains the same

Enlightenment Ideas About Government Structure of government:

Enlightenment Ideas

Sources of government’s power:

Power of government:

Government and the economy:

Goal of government:

Purpose of government:

When government fails:

Philosophies of Government: John Locke

Excerpt from Two Treatises of Government
To understand political power, we must consider the condition in which nature puts all men. It is a state of perfect freedom to do as they wish, and dispose of themselves and their possessions as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature. They need not ask permission or the consent of any other man
The state of nature is also a state of equality. No one has more power or authority than another. Since all human beings have the same advantages and the use of the same skills, they should be equal to each other. The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it. Reason is that law. It teaches that all men are equal and independent, and that no one ought to harm another in his life, his health, liberty or possessions. All men are made by one all powerful and all wise maker. They are all servants of one master who sent them into the world to do his business. He has put men naturally into a state of independence and they remain in it until they choose to become members of a political society.
If man in the state of nature is free, if he is absolute lord of his own person and possessions, why will he give up his freedom? Why will he put himself under the control of any person or institution? The obvious answer is the rights in the state of nature are constantly exposed to the attacks of others. Since every man is equal and since most men do not concern themselves with equity and justice, the enjoyment of rights in the state of nature is unsafe and insecure. Hence each man joins in society with others to preserve his life, liberty, and property.
Since men hope to preserve their property by establishing a government, they will not want that government to destroy this objective. When legislators try to destroy or take away the property of the people, or try to reduce them to slavery, they put themselves into a state of war with the people who can then refuse to obey the laws. When legislators try to gain or give someone else absolute power over the lives, liberties, and property of the people, they abuse the power which the people had put into their hands. It is then the privilege of the people to establish a new legislature to provide for their safety and security. These principles also hold true for the executive who helps to make laws and carry them out.
Perhaps some will say that the people are ignorant and discontented and that a government based on their unsteady opinion and uncertain humor will be unstable. They might argue that no government can exist for long if the people may set up a new legislature whenever they do not like the old one. But people do not easily give up their old forms of government. In England, for example, the unwillingness of the people to throw out their old constitution has kept us to, or brought us back to, our old legislature of king, lords, and commons.
However, it will be said that this philosophy may lead to frequent rebellion. To which I answer, such revolutions are not caused by every little mismanagement in public affairs. But if a long train of abuses, lies, and tricks make a government’s bad intentions visible to the people, they cannot help seeing where they are going. It is no wonder that they will then rouse themselves, and try to put the rule into hands which will secure to them the purpose for which government was originally organized.

The Enlightenment

  • A philosophical movement of the 18th century characterized by an emphasis on reason and the use of a “scientific” approach to understanding human behavior and institutions

Define – these ideas that developed out of the English Revolution and the Scientific Revolution:

  1. Natural Law –

  1. Natural Rights –

  1. Deism

Philosophers – Explain the social and political ideas of each writer below

  1. Thomas Hobbes

  1. John Locke

  1. Montesquieu

  1. Voltaire

  1. Wollestonecraft

  1. Rousseau

Enlightened Despots: List the characteristics of the following and EXPLAIN how they were considered despots

  1. Fredrick the Great of Prussia

  1. Catherine the Great of Russia

  1. Joseph II of Austria

Article Questions (goes with the John Locke Article)

  1. Where does government/political power come from?

  1. How does this contrast to the prevailing ideas

  1. What if governments fail(s) in their duties?

  1. What are the characteristics of life in “the state of nature”?

  1. Who does government answer to?

  1. Why do people enable government(s)? What is its purpose?





Main Ideas

Long Term Influence







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