Louis XIV was King who ruled by Divine Right. He was a member of the Bourbon Dynasty, a ruling family in France. He commissioned the building of the Palace at Versailles which was paid for with taxes paid by the people

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Louis XIV was King who ruled by Divine Right. He was a member of the Bourbon Dynasty, a ruling family in France. He commissioned the building of the Palace at Versailles which was paid for with taxes paid by the people. Were his actions in the best interest of France?

Base your answers to the questions on the

passage below and on your knowledge of social studies.
. . . The power of God can be felt in a moment from one end of the world to the other: the royal power acts simultaneously throughout the kingdom. It holds the whole kingdom in position just as God holds the whole world. If God were to withdraw his hand, the entire world would return to nothing: if authority ceases in the kingdom, all lapses into confusion. . . .

— Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet

This passage describes the idea of

(1) divine right rule

(2) parliamentary democracy

(3) Marxism

(4) totalitarianism
Which historical era is most closely associated with this passage?

(1) Industrial Revolution

(2) Agricultural Revolution

(3) Age of Imperialism

(4) Age of Absolutism

Today’s Agenda

Today you will work in teams. Each team will receive a set of documents about life in France under Louis XIV, a ruler during the Bourbon Dynasty in France. Each team member must investigate one document and respond to the question. Then all team members will discuss their research and respond to the

Aim: Did the Bourbon Dynasty effectively rule France?

Then as a class we will discuss the effectiveness of Bourbon Rule. We will also compare the Bourbon Dynasty to the Mughal and Ottoman Empire and Tokugawa Japan.

Ms. Cannistraci Name:________________________________ Date:______

Document 1:

Edict of Nantes

The Edict of Nantes signed probably on 30 April 1598, by Henry IV of France, granted the Calvinist Protestants of France (also known as Huguenots) substantial rights in the nation which was, at the time, still considered essentially Catholic. They were permitted to inherit property, engage in trade, attend all schools and universities and be treated in hospitals.

Modern History Sourcebook: 
Revocation (reverse) of the Edict of Nantes, October 22, 1685 –King Louis XIV

II. We forbid our subjects of the R.P.R. [Reformed protestant Church]to meet any more for the exercise of the said religion in any place or private house, under any pretext whatever, . . .

III. We likewise forbid all noblemen, of what condition …, to hold such religious exercises in their houses or fiefs, under penalty to be inflicted upon all our said subjects who shall engage in the said exercises, of imprisonment and confiscation.

lV. We enjoin all ministers of the said R.P.R., who do not choose to become converts and to embrace the Catholic, apostolic, and Roman religion, to leave our kingdom and the territories subject to us within a fortnight of the publication of our present edict, without leave to reside therein beyond that period, or, during the said fortnight, to engage in any preaching, exhortation, or any other function, on pain of being sent to the galleys. . . .

VII. We forbid private schools for the instruction of children of the said R.P.R., and in general all things whatever which can be regarded as a concession of any kind in favor of the said religion.

Was Louis XIV’s revocation (reverse) of The Edict of Nantes an effective way to deal with religios differences in France?

Ms. Cannistraci Name:________________________________ Date:______

Document 2:

Saint-Simon: A Noble’s Appraisal of Louis XIV

The Duc de Saint-Simon was a member of one of the most prominent noble families of France. His memoirs record the manners and customs of Louis’ court and life at Versailles in vivid detail.

Louis XIV made for a brilliant court. His figure, his grace, his beauty, his grand bearing, even the tone of his voice and his majestic and natural charm set him apart from other men as the king. Even if he had been born a simple private gentleman, he still would have excelled in all social festivities. However, intrigues against the king during his childhood made Louis suspicious of intelligent, educated, noble, and highly principled men, and as he advanced in years, he began to hate them. He wished to reign by himself, and his jealousy on this point soon became a weakness. The superior ability of his early ministers and generals soon wearied him. He liked no one to be in any way superior to him. He chose his ministers, therefore, not for their knowledge, but for their ignorance; not for their capacity, but for their want of it. He liked to teach them even the most trivial things. He unceasingly concerned himself with the smallest details of his troops, his minor household officials, and the way his mansions were built and maintained. He would even instruct his cooks, though he taught them things they had known for years.

His vanity, his unreasonable desire to be admired, ruined him. His ministers, his generals, his mistresses, his courtiers soon understood this fatal weakness. They praised him and spoiled him, for it was the one way they could approach him. This is why his ministers, drawn from the non-noble class, had so much authority. They had better opportunity to flatter him and tell him that all good works came from his actions.

Choose one of the following questions to answer:

How does Duc de Saint-Simon illustrate the life of King Louis XIV in his court (palace)? Cite textual evidence to support your response.


Would you argue these qualities would be an effective way to rule France? Cite textual evidence to support your claim.

Ms. Cannistraci Name:________________________________ Date:_____

Document 3:

Princess Palatine: A Visitor’s Viewpoint

Princess Palatine, a frequent visitor at the court, wrote the following letter home describing conditions at Versailles.

The appartement [two large rooms at Versailles where the King played billiards and served refreshments] is an absolutely intolerable experience. We all troop into the billiard room and lie on our stomachs or squat, no one uttering a word, until the King has finished his game. Then we all get up and go to the music room where someone is singing an aria from some old opera which we have heard a hundred times already. After that, we go to the ball, which lasts from eight to ten o’clock. Those who, like me, do not dance have to sit there for hours without budging for an instant, and can neither see nor hear anything except an endless minuet. At a quarter to ten, we all follow one another in a quadrille [a dance popular at the time], like children reciting a lesson, and then the ball is finally over.

How does Princess Palatine characterize life at Versailles? Cite evidence to support you claim.

Ms. Cannistraci Name:________________________________ Date:______

Document 4:

Bourbon society was divided into a class system called the Estates System. This system was made up of the First, Second and Third Estate. Analyze both charts and answer the question that follows.



Was the Estates System a fair system for the majority of the population in France? Cite evidence from the charts to support your claim.

Ms. Cannistraci Name:________________________________ Date:______

Document 5:

Rule of the Bourbon Dynasty: Abuse of the Old Regime in France by King Louis XVI

Tithe: A special tax amounting to one-tenth a person’s income, which had to be paid to the church.

Corvee: Forced labor on public roads without pay, from time to time.

Feudal Dues: Taxes paid to nobles by peasants for the use of such items as ovens, mills and wine presses.

Capitaineries: Farmers had to allow the game (small animals) from nobles lands into their fields, althought the crops may be destroyed.

Only members of the clergy and/or nobility could hold government office not matter how qualified an individual may be.

Lettres-de-cachet: The king could have anyone arrested at any time without a trial.

The king made all of the laws.

The king raised taxes at will, collected them and spent the money as he wished.

The king declared war, raised armies and made peace, consulting no one else.

There was freedom of religion for Catholics only because King Louis XIV revoked The Edict of Nantes

Did the Bourbon Dynasty effectively rule France? Cite textual evidence to support your claim.

Ms. Cannistraci Name:________________________________ Date:______

Document 6:

. . . Powers of the king.The King, Louis XVI, was absolute. He ruled by the divine right theory which held that he had received his power to govern from God and was therefore responsible to God alone. He appointed all civil officials and military officers. He made and enforced the laws. He could declare war and make peace. He levied taxes and spent the people’s money as he saw fit. He controlled the expression of thought by a strict censorship of speech and press. By means of lettres de cachet (sealed letters which were really blank warrants for arrest) he could arbitrarily imprison anyone without trial for an indefinite period. He lived in his magnificent palace at Versailles, completely oblivious to the rising tide of popular discontent. . . .

Source: Friedman & Foner, A Genetic Approach to Modern European History, College Entrance Book Co., 1938

Based on this excerpt was Louis XVI an effective Bourbon ruler of France? Cite textual evidence to support your claim.

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