Paper2 Essay


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State Building and the

Search for O r der in the

Seventeenth Century


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There are several interesting topics of chapter 15 but I chose to focus

on just a few areas like ’’ The witchcraft craze’’. When we think or hear the

word witch, most of us instantly think of H alloween or some movie or old

folktale they have heard. Logic tells u s that the likely hood of real witches

flying around on brooms ticks casting spells and putting curses on people

are just pure fiction.

Even though the idea makes for a great bedtime or

campsite spooky storyline. It is very hard to believe that some of these wild

stories actually have some truth based on real events well before our time.

I can admit, I am the beli eve what I see type; but , m uch to my dismay, there

were many recounts of strange behavior during the 16th -17th century era .

People felt the need to blame the unexplainable and so -called weird

happenings on something or someone. One writer writes; ‘’reports of

strange behavior, such as Roman complaints about “Strigae,” women who

could fly when they turned themselves into owl -like creatures and went

about stealing babies. The cult of Diana involved nocturnal women on

horseback, and stories circulated about peculiar pagan fertility cults.

Moreover, there was a long -standing tradition of popular belief in various

forms of magic, practiced by many lay people, and often to helpful ends.

Cunning women, diviners, healers, and astrologers were among those who


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ordinary people might consult in the belief that these “spe cialists” could

utilize the magical properties that reputedly were inherent in nature and

not the monopoly of the Christian Church. On occasion, such people might

turn their talents to more destructive ends (practicing bad magic or

“maleficia”) and others might be more inherently or persistently malicious ’’

(WitchcraftExplained1) . The phase was not all negative as many were able

to gain capital off being noted as witch es by selling things that could heal,

rid or cure someone. Many had come increasingly more and more

comfortable and accepting of the craze as reli gion spread forcing people to

think differently and outside the box. ‘’ more people were questioning

traditional attitudes toward religion and finding it contrary to reason to

believe in the old view of a world haunted by evi l spirits ’’ (Spielvogel359) .


If you search the internet for information pertaining to Louis XVI,

you will find both enlightening and confusing knowledge about his life,

failures , and accomplishments .


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Louis ’s story begins in Versailles, where he was born on August 23, 1754.

Married a woman named Marie Antoinette who happened to be the

daughter of the emperor and empress of Austria in 1770; their union was

thought to be able to bring better relations between France and Austria .

Depending on where you retrieve information about Louis, you will find

accounts of a heroic ruler, as well as behavior that could be deemed

questionable for a king. Louis took over as king in 1774 , holding this

position was nothing new for his family since his grandfather; Louis XV

was the previous ruler. Several little unknown facts about Louis exist ; like ,

‘’ 1. Few monarchs have ruled for longer.

Born in 1638, Louis XIV became king at age 4 following the death of

his father, Louis XIII, and remained on the throne for the next 72

years. This marks him as both the longest -reigning French monarch in

history and the longest -reigning monarch of any extant European


2. Louis’ mother served as his regent.

In his will, Louis XIII arranged for a regency council to rule on his

young son’s behalf. However, his Habsburg wif e, Anne of Austria,

orchestrated an annulment of the council and took over as sole regent.

In that capacity, she and her chief minister, Italian -born Cardinal Jules

Mazarin, conflicted with the country’s nobles and judges, who rose up

against the crown in a s eries of rebellions from 1648 to 1653. Mazarin

was eventually able to crush the dissenters, but not before Louis XIV

suffered numerous perceived humiliations, including twice having to

flee Paris. From then on, Louis XIV distrusted not only aristocrats and

commoners alike, but also Paris itself.

3. He ruled without a chief minister.

As a young man, Louis XIV largely left the decision -making to Mazarin,

his mentor and godfather. But when Mazarin died in 1661, the 22 -year –

old immediately informed his astonished court that he would

henceforth rule without a chief minister — something no French king

had done for generations. Though many officials apparently expected

him to soon bore of this role, he continued carrying out the routine,

monotonous affairs of government for the rest of his life. Sitting in on


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council meetings, writing letters, reading documents, hosting foreign

representatives and planning military strategy, he all the while

consolidate d power in his own hands.

4. Louis considered himself God’ s representative on Earth.

Although Louis XIV did not invent the “divine right of kings” doctrine,

which held that monarchs derived their authority from God and were

therefore entitled to wield absolute power, he was certainly an

adherent. He made a partic ular point of associating himself with the

Greek and Roman sun god Apollo, adopting the sun as his emblem and

even playing Apollo in a royal ballet. Like many other kings, Louis XIV

also claimed to possess miraculous healing powers. On major holidays,

he we nt around touching those infected with scrofula (also known as

tuberculosis of the neck).

5. He was quite open about his infidelities.

In 1660, Louis XIV married Marie -Th?r?se, the daughter of Spain’s

king, a politically expedient move that cemented peace b etween the

two nations. Yet he also took on a string of mistresses, three of whom

gained semi -official status, appearing next to him at church and even

going off with him to war. Among other benefits, the first of those

three became a duchess, the second r eceived a chateau with 1,200

gardeners, and the third wed Louis XIV in a secret ceremony following

the death of the queen. Many of his i llegitimate children were given the

proper education and considered part of royal society.

6. He was a religio us bigot.

A devout Catholic, Louis XIV believed in the motto, “one king, one law,

one faith.” To that end, he mercilessly cracked down on the country’s

Protestants, known as Huguenots, who made up roughly 5 percent of

the population. The coup de gr?ce came in 1685, when, in revoking the

nearly century -old Edict of Nantes, he stripped them of all religious

and civil liberties. Hundreds of Huguenots who continued practicing

their religion were put to death and at least 200,000 others fled France

for lands that are more tolerant . At around the same time, Louis XIV

expelled all Jews from the French West Indies. He even went after

other Catholics who did not adhere to his narrow view of the faith,

such as the Jansenists, who believed that humankind was inherently

corrupt a nd that God bestowed salvation arbitrarily. In 1709, he


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banished the nuns from the movement’s main convent and soon after

ordered its destruction, all the while lobbying the pope to condemn

Jansenism as heretical.

7. He was constantly at war.

Disingenuously claiming the Spanish Netherlands (roughly

corresponding to present -day Belgium) as the inheritance of his wife,

Louis XIV launched the War of Devolution in 1667. This invasion,

along with the Dutch War (1672 -1678) and the War of the Reunions

(1683 -1684), netted him a number of new territories that remain part

of France to this day. Yet in aggressively expanding his borders, he

attracted the enmity of much of the rest of Europe, which united in a

“Grand Alliance” against him during the next two conflicts: The Nine

Years’ War (1688 -1697) and the War of the Spanish Succession (1701 –

1714). With countless lives lost, disease and famine rampant, the

economy in shambles and taxes high, Louis XIV had an apparent

change of heart late in life. “Do not follow the bad example that I have

set for you,” a dying Louis told his heir. “I have often undertaken war

too lightly and have sustained it for vanity. Do not imitate me, but be a

peaceful prince.”

8. Louis owned the Hope Diamond.

As one might expect from the creator of the 700 -room Palace of

Versailles, Louis XIV knew a thing or two about luxury. One of his

prized possessions was an immense diamond, and then called the

French Blue, which purportedly produced the dazzling illusion of a sun

at its center when positioned again st a gold background. Stolen during

the French Revolution, well after Louis XIV’s death, it reemerged in

Great Britain years later with a new cut and then bounced around from

one owner to another. Now known as the Hope Diamond, this 45.52 –

carat stone, argu ably the most famous jewel in the world, is housed at

the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. Not

until 2009, when a lead replica of the French Blue turned up, did

experts confirm definitively that the French Blue and the Hope

Diamond are the same.

9. His successor was France’s second -longest -reigning monarch. In the

last few years of his life, Louis XIV suffered through a series of family

tragedies. First, in 1711, his son and heir apparent died of smallpox.


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Then, the following year, measles claimed the lives of a grandson and a

great -grandson, as well as a beloved granddaug hter -in -law. Two

grandsons remained alive. However, one died in the aftermath of a

1714 hunting accident, and the other was forced to renounce the

French th rone as part of a deal in, which he remained ruler of Spain.

Louis XIV was now down to just one potential heir: a sickly great –

grandson. Though in desperation he declared that two of his

illegitimate sons could become king if his direct line died out, it ne ver

came to that. Taking over at age 5, his great -grandson would go on to

govern France for the next 59 years as Louis XV (Greenspan2015) .

The Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights came about because people were tired of being

taken advantage of and having standards only apply to certain things and

individuals. They sought for a way to make things fair and bring more

structure. They demonstrated a modern day protest that forced the hand of

many people, bring ing forth change. ‘’ In 1688 Stuart king James II was

replaced by Mary, James’s daughter, and her husband, William of

Orange. After William and Mary had assumed power, Parliament

passed a bill of rights that specified the rights of the parliament and

laid the foundation for a constituti onal monarchy ’’ (Spielvogel377) .


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Works Cited

Greenspan, Jesse. “”9 Things you may not know about Louis XIV.”” History 31 august 2015. “”The Seventeetn Century European witchcraft Explained.”” 21 June


Spielvogel, Jackson J. Western Civilization . Cenveo, 2015.

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