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The assertion of royal authority
Author: John J. Hurt

This study examines the political and economic relationship between Louis XIV and the parlements of France, the parlement of Paris and all the provincial tribunals. It explains how the king managed to overcome the century-old opposition of the parlements to new legislation, and to impose upon them the strict political discipline for which his reign is known. The work calls into question the current revisionist understanding of the reign of Louis XIV and insists that, after all, absolute government had a harsh reality at its core. When the king died in 1715, the regent, Philippe d'Orleans, after a brief attempt to befriend the parlements through compromise, resorted to the authoritarian methods of Louis XIV and perpetuated the Sun King's political and economic legacy.

Open Access (free)
John J. Hurt

Conclusion As previously noted, revisionist historians view the royal state as ruling Old Regime France by means of compromises with national and regional elites, sharing authority with them and protecting their interests in return for their loyalties. This study has tried to show that the administration of Louis XIV had after all an authoritarian core, especially in its relations with the parlements. Absolute government, whatever ornate compromises decorated its multiple facades, rested on an authoritarian foundation. With respect to our topic, the critical

in Louis XIV and the parlements
John J. Hurt

written), escaped detection until November 1675. It is probable that the other provincial parlements evaded the new ordinance in similar ways.40 As the first decade of his personal rule ended, Louis XIV had shown that he could make the parlements register his laws when he invoked his personal authority, a significant gain for absolute government and one that had eluded all his predecessors. To be sure, he enjoyed a position to which those predecessors could only aspire, as a monarch ruling a united kingdom in peacetime, 31 Louis XIV and the parlements master of his

in Louis XIV and the parlements
John J. Hurt

session on 14 June, the magistrates voted enthusiastically to invite deputies from these tribunals to meet with their deputies that very afternoon in the Chambre Saint-Louis of the Palais de Justice. The deputies would deliberate on how to wage a joint struggle against the May edict. An assembly in the Chambre could only heighten widespread interest in the way current events matched those of the Fronde. In 1648 the Chambre SaintLouis, composed of representatives from these very tribunals, had attempted to dismantle the machinery of absolute government; and several

in Louis XIV and the parlements
Open Access (free)
Sovereignty and registration of the laws
John J. Hurt

absolute government. Little or nothing in the pages to come supports the optimistic view of revisionists, notably that of William Beik, who portrayed the ruling class of Languedoc as allied with Louis XIV, nurtured, protected and ‘basking in the sun’ of his benign reign. The experience of the parlements teaches that absolute government came at the expense of once influential institutions and subjects and weakened them for a long time, perhaps permanently. There is something to be said after all for the claim of Ernest Lavisse, that the government of Louis XIV rested upon

in Louis XIV and the parlements
John J. Hurt

overriding the principles upon which they claimed to act. In retrospect, it is only surprising that it took this administration as long as it did to achieve this result. Once Louis XIV, guided by Colbert, chose to pitch his fiscal machine at a higher level, he had finally had no choice but to overcome the constitutionalism of the parlements and establish the political discipline that became a hallmark of his reign and a signal victory for absolute government. 59 Louis XIV and the parlements Notes 11 Mémoire pour messieurs les maîtres des requêtes commissaires départis dans

in Louis XIV and the parlements
John J. Hurt

office. Parker and Mettam, expanding upon Moote and inspired by Beik, thought that the kings reached a social compromise with office-holders, intentionally making them into partners of absolute government by respecting their venal interests and bolstering their economic and social position. Revisionism firmly insists that Louis XIV treated the venal interests of the parlementary judges with particular delicacy. It argues, in the manner of Lavisse and Mousnier, that on the issue of venality the upper magistracy still limited the authority of the king. On this reading, 67

in Louis XIV and the parlements
Dominant approaches
M. Anne Brown

bound to the subject does not vary. For Locke (here in sharp contrast to Hobbes), any society which is not constituted as the product of and as answerable to the union of rational persons is not truly a political society but merely a degenerated state of nature. For Locke, then, absolute government (such as Hobbes advocated), in which all are subject to the will of one without the protection of institutions of impartial justice, is neither the state of nature nor true political society, but is a degraded nature where people are neither free nor secure. Thus

in Human rights and the borders of suffering