I imagine Louis XIV’s surprised countenance if he has learnt that he has been the absolute monarch. And this might be the great discovery also for you, Esteemed Readers. The absolute monarchy, absolutism in the 17th century – that what we have been learned at school and that what is still promoted actively in books on history. Ha-ha-ha!
First of all let’s try to comprehend the origin of this term. It’s sad to mention, but the term ‘absolutism‘, together with ‘the Ancient Régime‘ so famous to us, were invented by a group of activists at the Revolution period. (Alexis de Tocqueville, for example). They created a substantial theory, perverting the true sense of the monarchy in France. Cutting cruelly the Divine basis & traditions, these young people made a great favour to the new French government, that felt unsecure & uncertain and only dreamed to destroy any recollection of the previous historical period as soon as it possible.
We all know what the absolutism mean. But what kind of reigning was in the 17th century France? In his great ‘The Political Testament’ His Eminence Cardinal de Richelieu says that the State is an image of the God’s Kingdom on Earth. Besides he often refers to the fact that France is the Universal Monarchy. Do you see the difference? The Universal monarchy means serving to God & to Subjects, to do everything for good, but, at the same time, the king’s rights are very restricted: on one hand with the Scripture, on the other hand with Councils and various executive bodies. There are a lot of legends, stories & anecdotes about bureaucracy in the 17th century France. No matter the king was the head of the state, far not every his will or law were accepted easily. Officers, like a cancer, created big problems to the state and the king had to fight with this army of spongers, who revenged in the most disgusting way: in 1789 they simply erased the true sense of the Universal Monarchy in France.
Vive le Roy!