Essay on 3 absolute monarchs: Louis XIV, Peter the Great, Frederick the Great

Essay by rt3378Junior High, 8th gradeB, February 2007

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From 1638-1786, there were three absolute monarchs. Louis XIV, the sun king, built a splendid court at Versailles where he looked over the nobles. Peter the Great, the westernizer, changed Russia from a backward country into a great power. Finally, Frederick the Great, the enlightened despot, was full of tolerance and restraint and had good views on government. He improved Prussia many ways.

Louis XIV increased his revenue by taxing, improving trade and commerce, and gave favors to the middle class for money. First, he appointed Colbert as his Minister of Finance. There were taxes such as taille (land tax), aides and douanes (customs duties), and gabelle (salt tax). Louis spent this money on his wars. Colbert used this money for strengthening the country of France. Second, he abolished corrupt ways of collecting taxes and removed useless offices to increase the king's revenue. Furthermore, Colbert improved trade and commerce using the mercantile system, which was a method of commercial warfare.

Colbert also established French trading companies. He thought that France did not need to buy things from other countries by making colonies of its own. Furthermore, he regulated guilds by checking the quality of the products that they make. Another way Louis increased his revenue was by giving titles, appointing offices, and arranging marriages to the middle class. They were willing to pay for all of these rewards.

Louis controlled his nobles by building a splendid court at Versailles. At Versailles, the "king provided amusements for them, and here he could keep his eye on them." The only favors Louis could give to the nobles were to assign offices, arrange marriages for their children and give pensions. However, this was not enough to distribute to all the nobles. St. Simon states, "He sensed that he lacked by far...