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The Origins of French Absolutism, 1598-1661.; (Seminar Studies in History Series)

James, Alan

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ISBN 10: 0582369002 / ISBN 13: 9780582369009
Published by Routledge, 2013
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Origins of French Absolutism, 1598-1661....

Publisher: Routledge

Publication Date: 2013

Binding: Paperback

About this title

Synopsis:

This controversial study takes the provocative line that the French monarchy was a complete success. James turns the idea of royal ‘absolutism’ on its head by redefining the French monarchy’s success from 1598 - 1661.

The Origins of French Absolutism, 1598-1661 maintains that building blocks were not being laid by the so-called architects of absolutism, but that by satisfying long-established, traditional ambitions, cardinal ministers Richelieu and Mazarin undoubtedly made the confident, ambitious reign of the late century possible.

 

From the Back Cover:

Each book in the Seminar Studies in History series provides a concise and reliable introduction to complex events and debates. Written by acknowledged experts and supported by extracts from historical documents, a chronology, glossary, who’s who of key figures and guide to further reading, Seminar Studies in History are the essential guides to understanding a topic.

 

In 1598, France emerged exhausted from nearly forty years of damaging civil and religious warfare.  By 1661 this same country was the leading power in Europe and set to embark on one of the most celebrated periods of its history.  The system of government founded during this period became known to historians as royal ‘absolutism’. It was closely associated with both Cardinal Richelieu and his successor Cardinal Mazarin who, in turn, were seen as instrumental in brokering the changes that took place within both government and society at this time.

 

Alan James argues that there was no conscious plan to modernise France or to create a new, more centralised and bureaucratic form of government. Instead the ministries of Richelieu and Mazarin were based on the traditional values of religion, war, and privilege. Organised thematically, the book examines the key priorities of government in turn to come to an assessment of the success of French absolutism, defined in its own terms.

 

 

 

Alan James is a lecturer in the Laughton Naval History Unit of the Department of War Studies, King’s College London.  His is author of The Navy and Government in Early Modern France, 1572-1661 (Boydell, 2004) for which he was awarded the prize of ‘Best Young Academic Author of the Year’ by the college.

 

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