The personal rule of Louis XIV, following on from a long period of royal minority and apprenticeship, lasted 54 years from 1661 to 1715. But the second half of this personal rule has, until recently, received significantly less scholarly attention than the 1660s and 1670s. This has obscured some of the very real changes and developments that occurred between the early 1680s and the mid-1690s, by which time a new generation of younger royals had come to prominence, France was engulfed in international war on a greater scale than ever before, and the king was visibly no longer as vigorous or healthy as he had once been. The essays in this volume take a close look at the way a new set of political, social, cultural and economic dispensations emerged from the mid-1680s to create a different France in the final decades of Louis XIV’s reign, even though the basic ideological, social and economic underpinnings of the country remained very largely the same. The contributions examine such varied matters as the structure and practices of government, naval power, the financial operations of the state, trade and commerce, social pressures, overseas expansion, religious dissent, music, literature and the fine arts.
From 1661 to 1664, France was mesmerized by the arrest and trial of Nicolas Fouquet, the country’s superintendent of finance. Prosecuted on trumped-up charges of embezzlement, mismanagement of funds, and high treason, Fouquet managed to exonerate himself from all of the major charges over the course of three long years, in the process embarrassing and infuriating Louis XIV. The young king overturned the court’s decision and sentenced Fouquet to lifelong imprisonment in a remote fortress in the Alps. A dramatic critique of absolute monarchy in pre-revolutionary France, Embezzlement and High Treason in Louis XIV's France tells the gripping tale of an overly ambitious man who rose rapidly in the state hierarchy—then overreached. Vincent J. Pitts uses the trial as a lens through which to explore the inner workings of the court of Louis XIV, who rightly feared that Fouquet would expose the tawdry financial dealings of the king's late mentor and prime minister, Cardinal Mazarin.
At the start of the eighteenth century Louis XIV needed to remit huge sums of money abroad to support his armies during the War of the Spanish Succession. This book explains how international bankers moved French money across Europe, and how the foreign exchange system was so overloaded by the demands of war that a massive banking crash resulted.
In the past thirty years, the study of French-Indian relations in the center of North America has emerged as an important field for examining the complex relationships that defined a vast geographical area, including the Great Lakes region, the Illinois Country, the Missouri River Valley, and Upper and Lower Louisiana. For years, no one better represented this emerging area of study than Jacqueline Peterson and Richard White, scholars who identified a world defined by miscegenation between French colonists and the native population, or métissage, and the unique process of cultural accommodation that led to a “middle ground” between French and Algonquians. Building on the research of Peterson, White, and Jay Gitlin, this collection of essays brings together new and established scholars from the United States, Canada, and France, to move beyond the paradigms of the middle ground and métissage. At the same time it seeks to demonstrate the rich variety of encounters that defined French and Indians in the heart of North America from 1630 to 1815. Capturing the complexity and nuance of these relations, the authors examine a number of thematic areas that provide a broader assessment of the historical bridge-building process, including ritual interactions, transatlantic connections, diplomatic relations, and post-New France French-Indian relations.
Scandinavia, Diplomacy and the Austrian-French Balance of Power, 1648–1740
Author: Peter Lindström
Publisher: Nordic Academic Press
Taking a fresh look at the history of diplomacy, this book looks at the fight for hegemony between France and Austria after the Peace of Westphalia 1648, showing how their clashes dragged the Scandinavian kingdoms into European top-level politics and forced them to take part in the play, constantly negotiating risks and profits. Historians Peter Lindström and Svante Norrhem discuss how the Great Powers were binding allies to their side, and how the Scandinavian countries and their political elites responded. Many of the diplomatic strategies were solidified through family alliances, patronage, and economic politics, something quite different from what is expected from today's diplomatic neutralities.
Pronatalism and the Politics of Reproduction in Early Modern France
Author: Leslie Tuttle
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Early modern rulers believed that the more subjects over whom they ruled, the more powerful they would be. In 1666, France's Louis XIV and his minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert put this axiom into effect, instituting policies designed to encourage marriage and very large families. Their Edict on Marriage promised lucrative rewards to French men of all social statuses who married before age twenty-one or fathered ten or more living, legitimate children. So began a 150-year experiment in governing the reproductive process, the largest populationist initiative since the Roman Empire. Conceiving the Old Regime traces the consequences of premodern pronatalism for the women, men, and government officials tasked with procreating the abundant supply of soldiers, workers, and taxpayers deemed essential for France's glory. While everyone knew-in a practical rather than a scientific sense-how babies were made, the notion that humans should exercise control over reproduction remained deeply controversial in a Catholic nation. Drawing on a wealth of archival sources, Leslie Tuttle shows how royal bureaucrats mobilized the limited power of the premodern state in an attempt to shape procreation in the king's interest. By the late eighteenth century, marriage, reproduction, and family size came to be hot-button political issues, inspiring debates that contributed to the character of the modern French nation. Conceiving the Old Regime reveals the deep historical roots of France's perennial concern with population, and connects the intimate lives of men and women to the public world of power and the state.