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[11] The Absolute State.doc

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Kenneth Bartlett

November 15, 2010 The Absolute State - Shift in mind of Europe - Creation of new kind of state --> Absolute state - Working to make royal master absolute -- can do whatever they want with- out anyone to stop them; ability to go beyond the law, create the law - POV 17 c.: • Practical: • better to serve 1 master rather than many • Church competed amongst themselves -- who can take more from you • King = you only get robbed once • Powerful central gov’t -- protected country from foreign intervention • Central gov’t -- prevents civil war • Ideological: Hobbes - Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679): saw this was a time of disarray; people look- ing for measure of comfort, security - Hobbes = rejected arguments of cHARLes I -- can only be tried by peers (kings), can only be judged by God (divine right to rule by gOD, only answerable to god) - Hobbes - proposed secular notion of kingship (rther than divine right to rule) - Leviathan (1651) = compares state to monster - In the beginning - people were governed by brute force (strong preyed upon the weak) --> strong had the most power (no golden age in na- ture; only strongest could exercise their will) - Nasty, brutish, short = life in this age - Strength = only justification of power - Create 1 group (make a society) who made laws applicable to everyone, weak and strong are equally subjected to law; surrendered rights to a single ruler whose responsibility was to protect weak from strong - People gave up everything for security - Nothing remained which would threaten the authority of the ruler - Unrestricted, absolute power of king = gift of people themselves - Once this bargain was struck = can’t go back - If king is tyrannical, stupid = can’t go back, contract holds regardless of nature of the monarch - Raison d’etat = king may take away your stuff for the greater good of the state (sacrifice for the wellbeing of the country) --> idea introdued by Hobbes - aBOVE = enabled order & security - No point in challenging the king = alternative is to return to state of nature (strong prey upon the weak) - Hobbes - interprets politics which leaves the realm of divine (human exis- tence = material interest; don’t belive in divine intervention in soci- ety) - Louis XIV (1643-1715): his reign = absolute state - Greatest majesty to ever fill the throne - France = governed by regency council (b/c louis was young when XIII died) - J. Mazarin (d. 1661) = Richelieu’s handpicked successor, regent in place of louis XIV - Fronde (slingshots): 1648-1661 civil war - Mazarin = brilliant diplomat, tolerant for Protestants, reenacted edict of nombe - Greedy, large collection of jewels, nepotism - gave away a lot of property - Hated by nobles - middle-born, italian - Hated by parliament = wanted to rule country themselves like in england - 1 Fronde: 1648-1649; people thought they could assassinate Louis XIV - Nobles: invited Spanish Hapsburgs to intervene and help settle things - Parliament knew they’d be humiliated if Fronde was successful - Paris mob broke into louis’ room in Louvre with slingshots - 2 ndFronde: king and cardinal were able to get complete control - 1653: 2 ndfronde was over; Louis recalled Mazarin to his offices (he ran away) - Mazarin knew he was dying in 1661: gave different advice than Richelieu did to Louis XIII: don’t take anyone else’s advice, become your own ruler -- but you need servants who will actually deliver - France became an absolute state - Mazarin suggested louis employ: Jean-Baptiste Colbert (died 1683; middle class and worked so hard to be promoted and work his way up) - Louis = good judge of character - Colbert: appointed to keep king’s c
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