Essay On French Political Economy

French Absolutism, Social, Political, And Economical

Absolutism is the sovereign power or ultimate authority in the state and layed power in the hands of the King who claimed power due to divinity. The government of France in the 17th century couldn't be labeled an absolute monarchical government because it depended on limited political realities. The king relied on ministers, nobles and peasants, to control people and their control would fall short of the aspirations of the King due to overlapping authorities. In order for absolutism to exist in France the government would need to control the social, political, and economical lives of all the residence of France. King Louis XIV was the closest King to obtaining absolutism, people considered his version of absolutism to be the best but even that could not reach the full pentacle of absolutism.

During the 17th century in France the King Louis XIV's reign was the best example of absolutism. The social status of French culture, which also included language and manner was visible throughout Europe. Nobility however still wanted to be in control of their wealth which caused friction with the ultimate rule of absolute monarchy. The monarch needed to fully control religious beliefs of all the people and even the King who wanted everyone to be Catholic could change the way people felt about God. The King believed in "one King, one law, one faith" but protestants didn't have the same faith as him so they undermined his authority. In 1685 King Louis issued the Edict of Fontainebleau, this destroyed the Huguenot Church and closed Protestant schools. After the issuing many people fled from France which weakened their economy and gave power to the States they fled to which formed a group of Protestants against Louis.

The political power of an absolute monarchy allowed them to make laws, administer justice, and make taxes. King Louis XIV relied on Cardinal Mazarin to control the government. Cardinal Mazarin was a foreigner so he had a hard time...

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Essays on Historical Political Economy: The Case of the French Third Republic

Alexandra Cirone

Essays on Historical Political Economy: The Case of the French Third Republic
Cirone, Alexandra
Thesis Advisor(s):
Huber, John
Ph.D., Columbia University
Political Science
Persistent URL:
My dissertation examines how political institutions -- such as dual mandates, committee systems, and political associations -- impact the level and timing of party consolidation in a new democracy, as well as incentivize the behavior of elite politicians. I explore this through an intensive, data-driven analysis of the French Third Republic (1870-1940), during its formative years of its democratization. I trace the evolution of French political development across three papers. I first begin in the electorate, by looking at how a lack of ``bottom-up" electoral pressures slowed early political competition in France, and use an exogenous shock to population to demonstrate how urbanization affected local races and the creation of the first political associations in 1901. I then link the electorate with the legislature by examining how an institution meant to connect local and national politics -- cumul des mandats, or the ability to hold two offices -- had a negative effect on party development. Finally, I look at how the legislative organization of the committee system affected the career trajectories of politicians, in the absence of party institutions. In sum, this research contributes to a growing microfoundations literature that argues the geographic distribution of voters and the incentives of political elites are crucial but understudied factors in key episodes of early institution building in new democracies.
Political science
French--Politics and government
New democracies
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Suggested Citation:
Alexandra Cirone, 2017, Essays on Historical Political Economy: The Case of the French Third Republic, Columbia University Academic Commons,


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