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Open Access Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses a gradual revision of European 'absolutism' that took shape in the last decades of the twentieth century largely on the basis of research in archives that added regional and elite perspectives to the top-down monarchical view. The language of fidelity and subservience went together with a keen defence of local corporate interests. While the monarchical state harshly punished open defiance, as a rule accommodating local interests and rights. At the heart of the monarchical state a similar pattern predominated: open challenges were never tolerated, but loyal supporters were granted extensive rights. Louis XIV's successful attempt to attach the highest nobles to his court by rewarding them with prestigious offices and privileges created an aristocratic stronghold that would persist until the revolution. The rulers themselves, whether strong or weak, relied at least a part of their lives on the support and advice of confidants in their domestic environment.

Keywords: European absolutism; Louis XIV; twentieth century



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