Versailles & Government

These card concntrate on the importance and significance of Versaille and Louis XIV' government


Significance of Versailles

  • Made according to Louis' wishes
  • 11 miles from Paris- Louis was still fearful of the Frondes
  • Physical representation of excellence of the Sun King's reign
  • A symbol & catalyst
  • Shows inequality- rich lived in luxury, poor paid for it
  • Showed what was wrong with French society between 1661-1715
  • All part of a rational, well- thought-out campaign with a recogniseable political purpose
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Role of Versailles

  • Control of Image:
    • Create image of strong, absolutist monarch, seen through building, materials used
  • Impressive:
    • Inspire admiration & fear amongst foreign rulers & ambassadors
    • Replicas appeared in St.Petersburg, Spain, England
  • Centre of Culture:
    • Diplomacy was done in French
    • Artists of all kinds gathered at Versailles
  • Centre of Government:
    • Ran his country through 4 main councils at Versailles: High Council, Finance Council, Council of Interior, Privy Council
  • Control of Nobility:
    • Elaborate etiquette system
    • Patronage- positions in army, church, government
    • Divide & rule
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Conciliar Government

  • High Council: discussed most important matters of state eg. Foreign affairs & matters of religion,most able& loyal ministers sat here (Colbert),3-5 people- very small, Nobles of the Robe
  • Council of the Interior (Despatches): received reports & gave instructions to intendants, kept Louis informed of key issues- conscription/riots/ religious problems, Nobles of the Robe
  • Finace Council: dealt with matters of finance- finance/ industry/ shipping/ agriculture, controlled by Controller-General of Finances & team of accountants capable of book-keeping, Nobles of the Robe
  • Privy Council: led by Chancellor & 7 dozen lawyers, dealt with matters of justice, King was absent- represented by a chair, Nobles of the Robe  
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  • Louis' Control:
    • 1661-Royal council decrees precedeced over those of Parlement
    • Judical wages cut by 1/3
    • from 1665- parlement called 'superior' not 'sovereign'
    • from 1673- post-registration Remonstrance
    • After Frondes, parlement controlled by Conseil de Despeches
  • Extention of Royal Control:
    • Royal inquires into conduct of irresponsible & brutal nobles
    • Detection of false nobles- had to pay to stay nobles or become 3rd estate
    • L's control of church increased by extention of Regale
    • Lawyers used to justify L's foreigh policy:
      • reunion policy
      • set up lawyers to investigate if France had owned land/ countries in past & reclaim them
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