Absolutism term Essay

            The term absolutism is used to describe the way European monarchs ran their countries. In France, the absolute monarchy was in place for a very long time and by the time of Louis XIV the idea of absolutism was brought to the very limits by the monarch and his wife, Marie Antoinette. During their monarchy the couple was the personification of absolutism. Everything that they did, said, wore, and ate was extravagent and over the top, including their palace. The Palace of Versailles represents the ideal of absolutism perhaps more than any other aspect of the royal couple’s reign as the last monarchs of France.

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            The Palace of Versailles is an absolutely stunning architectural example of French Baroque style. The outside of the palace is magical and it is very large in terms of square footage and how many rooms there were. The King and Queen were living in a palace that was grander than any in all of the world, and even the gardens were known far and wide as some of the best in Erope. The palace represented the absolutism of the King and Queen because their personalities were reflected in the fact that the palace was more than they needed. The people of France at the time that the Palace of Versailles was built were mostly peasants in extreme poverty. Many were starving to death, and yet the monarchy put an exorbinent amount of money towards building this palace. Many people felt that this was just a show of their absolutism, and a way to overindulge. This led to a great deal of bad feelings towards the monarchs and their absolute monarchy.

The Palace of Versailles was and still is a perfect example of the craftsmanship, art, and architecture of France at the time. The large rooms filled with marble and satin, the beautiful ornate decoration and the incredibly stunning artwork, and the luscious gardens were examples of the best that France had to offer and was a reflection of the overindulgence that the monarchs and other aristocrats could partake of in an absolute monarchy. Absolutism was the theme of everything that happened inside the Palace of Versailles.

            What the palace represented to the public was the fact that their monarchs were completely disconnected from them. Absolutism is a form of government and, in this case, monarchy that means the king has the first and final say in absolutely everything. He can control all of the political, social, and financial aspects of the affairs of state and all of the bounty of France’s wealth was distributed amongst the aristocracy. The common classes and the peasants were suffering as the King continued to grow more and more powerful and even more wealthy. Versailles, with all of the expensive materials, fine art, and large parties where the aristocracy could flaunt their wealth and be gluttonous with food and wine. Everything about absolutism meant doing things in excess, and Versailles represented this completely.

            The Palace of Versailles was, therefore, a perfect representation of how absolutism affected a country and what its definition was. It defined absolutism because it shows all of the various ideals that made up the absolute monarchy that existed in France. Firstly, absolutism means no opposition, and even though the Palace of Versailles was opposed by some as being overly-ornate and excessive it did not matter to the King. He was able to do whatever he wanted, without opposition, simply because he was the absolute monarch of France. Second, absolutism means everything in excess and this is well represented by the architecture of the building (it being so large), the ornate decoration inside (such as the rooms of art and the hall of mirrors), and the excessive parties. Thirdly, the excessiveness represented the fact that, in absolutism, the king did not have to answer to anyone, even his own people. This is why he could spend all of the money on a palace instead of on country. Overall, the Palace of Versailles is a structural representation of absolutism and what it meant to French history prior to the French Revolution.

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