in Louis XIV and the parlements

This chapter tries to show that the administration of Louis XIV had, after all, an authoritarian core, especially in its relations with the parlements. As a result of their resistance to the fiscal demands of the Dutch War, the king imposed upon the tribunals those rules about registration procedure that deprived them of any influence upon new laws, relegating them to the margins of political life for the duration of the reign. When the regent Philippe d'Orléans, after a brief conciliatory period, enjoyed a fresh success with authoritarian methods, he demonstrated once again the hard realism that lay at the heart of absolute government. All the royal officials who served the regent began their careers under the late king, and many continued to serve after Orléans died in 1723, carrying the absolutist tradition forward. Had the parlements struggled with any success against Louis XIV and the regent, they might have retained some political powers and spared themselves most of the financial reverses that they suffered in their venal offices. They emerged grievously weakened from the reign of Louis XIV, their political functions virtually abolished and their venal offices stripped of the capital gains built up in the past century.

Louis XIV and the parlements

The assertion of royal authority


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