France Crisis of Monarchical Absolutism 2

The Decline of French Power in Europe and the Crisis of Monarchical Absolutism Part II


To avoid an excessive enlargement of the house of Orleans (Philip V had abdicated and had ascended to the throne of Spain Louis I, son-in-law of the regent), the Duke of Bourbon broke the marriage contract between Louis XV and the infant and this was sent back to Spain. Having celebrated, despite the disapproval of public opinion, the wedding with Maria Leszczyńska, daughter of the ousted king of Poland, it was easy for the bishop of Fleury, governor of the king, to cause the misfortune of the duke and the marquise.

According to softwareleverage, Fleury was appointed prime minister, who in the same year (1726) also had the cardinal’s hat, his politics (domestic economy and peacekeeping in Europe) proved to correspond to everyone’s wishes. In 1724, a congress of representatives of the fourfold alliance met at Cambrai; but the postponement of the infant had induced the king of Spain to withdraw from it and to make an agreement with the Empire. This agreement between the Bourbons of Spain and the Habsburgs, which overthrew the entire European political system, provoked an alliance between France, England and Prussia (Treaty of Hanover, 1725) which was joined by Sweden, Denmark and Holland. But shortly afterwards Prussia broke away and, in agreement with Russia, connected with the Empire. This was the situation in Europe when Fleury assumed power. To avoid war, he consented to a dangerous alliance with Spain; the Treaty of Seville (1729) constituted a temporary agreement with the great maritime powers, and England, which had drawn many commercial advantages from it, also induced the emperor to keep the peace. Peace of short duration because in 1733, the death of Augustus II king of Poland marked the beginning of the war of succession (v.succession, wars of). France was ready to support the candidacy of Stanislao Leszczyński, but when he, after being crowned, was attacked by August III, son of the deceased king, and forced to flee to Gdansk, the French government, where the secretary of state Chauvelin was following. a policy of his, often at odds with that of Fleury and too inclined to accept the interested advice of the English cabinet, shamefully abandoned him and continued the war on his own on the Rhine and in Italy. With the Treaty of Vienna (1738), Augustus III was recognized king of Poland, Stanislaus had Bar and Lorraine, with the pact that upon his death the two duchies should pass to France; Austria ceded the Two Sicilies to the Infante of Spain and recovered Lombardy; Tuscany was assigned to the Duke of Lorraine.

From this moment on, the French aims for Italy coincided with the old program of Henry IV: to give the peninsula a stable structure and to link its scattered members with a federation that would make it independent from Austria. And since this design, now advocated by Chauvelin (1733), later taken up by D’Argenson (1764) and finally by Dumouriez (1773), could not obtain practical implementation due to the distrust of the Italian princes and the Spanish opposition, Louis XV he supported the Savoyard aspirations on Lombardy and balanced the Habsburg influence by leveraging, from time to time, the Genoese and Venetian republics and the Lorraine Tuscany. When the war of the Austrian succession broke out, France took the field once again against the ancient rival, but this time only to secure a larger sphere of influence in Italy. Despite the efforts, the enormous expenses and the glorious victory of Maurice of Saxony (Fontenoy, 1745), the peace of Aachen (1748) took all its conquests of Flanders back from France. Louis XV contented himself with the concession of the duchies of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla to his son-in-law Filippo, while the defeated England obtained the renewal of the Utrecht pacts, that is, the demolition of the Dunkirk forts and the expulsion of the Stuarts from France. Frederick II gained Silesia. This treaty, which aroused general disapproval in France, appeared as a victory of the Protestant nations against the two oldest Catholic states of Europe, and it was understood that it was to lead to that rapprochement with Austria which would have been wiser to carry out eight years. first,

The war of succession, until the so-called “stupid peace” proved the government’s political and diplomatic errors, had been popular. The participation of Louis XV, his 1744 illness in Metz and the death of the Duchess of Châteauroux, his first favorite, which gave hope for a moment in his repentance, kept the people still alive with respect for the monarchy. But the coldness that welcomed the Aachen treaty soon turned into opposition, when it was seen that the cessation of hostilities did not lead to a reduction in the tax burden and that, reigning in Versailles a new favorite, the Pompadour, the enormous expenses bled the Treasury. Journalists and pamphleteers did not hesitate to lash out against the king. In vain did Pompadour, who effectively exercised the functions of prime minister,

Meanwhile, France was in turmoil and the conflicts of ideas were extremely violent: if there was no longer fighting between Jansenists and anti-Jansenists, there was fighting between believers and “philosophers”. It was the moment when the Encyclopedia came out. The antagonism between parliament and the clergy also intensified. The king took the side of the clergy and to the “great grievances” of 1753 he replied by exiling the members of parliament. Then all the parliaments of France declared themselves in solidarity with that of Paris, and there was talk of States General. The repressions exasperated the resistance: the idea was now spreading that the nation was above the king, like the church above the pope. Afraid of the extent of the conflict, the court recalled parliament. The latter, in 1755, declared that the Unigenitus constitution promulgated by Clement XI in 1713 and since then the cause of very lively struggles in France (see jansenius) was not an article of faith and prohibited the clergy from considering it as such. The king overturned the decree, because he needed a “free gift” from the clergy, but having obtained it he rejected the bishops’ complaints. Meanwhile, the Pompadour obtained the office of lady of the palace of the queen and convinced the king to order that the constitution be respected as a decision of the church. The attack of Damiens (1757) created a diversion to the ire aroused by this act of the king and allowed the Pompadour to have the two best ministers fired: D’Argenson (War), Machault (Marina). This was on the eve of the Seven Years’ War.

France Crisis of Monarchical Absolutism 2