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Tran 1 Janet Tran Mrs.

Proffer AP European History 12 November 2013 The Reign of Two Absolute Rulers Many great rulers in the past have had great power, cunning, and wit to aid them in their reign. All of these attributes have been associated with both Louis XIV “The Sun King” of France and Peter I “The Great” of Russia. Both of the kings ruled their people with absolute power, but took slightly different paths in achieving and maintaining that absolute power. Simply, Louis XIV and Peter I had similarities and differences in their political, religious, and social views about how they governed their people. To begin, both sovereigns saw the necessity of oppressing the power of the nobility and smaller governing bodies to gain political absolutism. They accomplished this in their own distinct ways. For instance, Peter the Great installed systems of administrative colleges, which were bureaus of several persons operating according to written instructions rather than departments headed by a single minister. This would have put the power in his hands as these departments oversaw matters such as collection of taxes, foreign relations, war, and economic affairs. He also discouraged any rebellion through his demonstration of brute power by murdering and torturing the streltsy, the guards of the Moscow garrison, who had rebelled against him. On the other hand, Louis XIV took a more subtle path of gaining absolute political power by gathering all the nobles at his extravagant Palace of Versailles. There he steadily made the nobles more dependent on him while making sure none could rise against him in power. He also effectively curtailed the power of the parlements, regional judicial bodies of Paris, in 1673

both monarchs acquired that exquisite absolute power for which they are known for today. This lead to his oppression of the Jansenists. Regardless. In short. Peter I was more straightforward in his climb to absolute power. and both dealt with these concerns according to their own desires and opinions of how it would benefit their kingdom. Because of this. They lived austere and pious lives. to promote religious conformity. Though it might have helped with his reign. Peter I used the church to increase his own power over the nation and people. who followed the teachings of Saint Augustine. During his reign. Louis XIV was like the puppet master behind all the nobles and councils through which he ruled. Louis XIV did not force his will on the church as Peter I had done. In contrast. . In addition.Tran 2 when he required that it register laws before raising questions about them. brutally issuing laws and commands. For this. Louis XIV agreed to the papal bull banning Jansenists. pulling the political strings his favor. Louis XIV was known for his repressive religious policies and lost much of the middle class people who were Protestant. Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes. Louis XIV thought religious conformity was one of the key elements to political unity and stability. In addition. To do this he abolished the Patriarch and established the Holy Synod which consisted of eight several bishops headed by a layman. Both Peter I and Louis XIV had different views of how to deal with religious matters and the church. he decided that he wanted the people to have one religion to unite under. while Louis XIV was more manipulative in his rise to power. Rather. but also became associated with opposition to the government. Peter I sought to have his own secular control over the Russian Orthodox Church. both rulers concerned themselves with the religious affairs of the kingdoms they governed. He wanted the church under the authority of persons closer to the tsar. called the procurator general.

boyars. This was best exemplified in his construction of the city of St. Both sovereigns Peter I and Louis XIV used and changed the social and cultural values of the kingdom to their advantage and the advantage of their kingdoms Two great absolute rulers. religious and social views of how they should govern their countries. This encouraged more nobility to partake in the government and put them closer under the authority of Peter I. Also. Peter I had also forced the Russian nobility. Louis XIV defined the new trends and fads of France that the nobility eagerly strove to comply to. the “Sun King”. cunning. to shave their long beards and cut the long sleeves of their coats and shirts to follow the trends of Western Europe. they would have definitely had to get closer to the inspiring Louis XIV. and wit. Peter I and Louis XIV ruled their kingdoms according to their own political. He was able to tailor the lives of the nobles to his daily tasks. They obviously had different methods and journeys to achieving greatness. “The Window on the West”. but those types of elements were the type that defined them individually as the great rulers they are known as today. Louis XIV and Peter I also altered the social and cultural aspects of their kingdoms. In this sense. Petersburg. he was able to have the nobles on a leash. If a noble wanted to climb the social ladder in France. Peter changed the social system in Russia with the Table of Ranks. In comparison. Peter I sought to imitate or emulate the western styles and cultures in Russia rather than create new ones of his own. In his palace Versailles. This shows his desire to catch up with Western Europe and his control over the nobility. His influence on the cultural and social environment was great due to this fact.Tran 3 During both of their reigns. which equated a person’s social position and privileges to their rank in bureaucracy or military rather than noble lineage. The two sovereigns were both successful in their paths to power and have been remembered down history for their power. .