17th Century France vs. Britain

Length: 3 Pages 868 Words

Though France and Britain ultimately developed two different governmental structures, they were developed to solve administrative and social problems common to both countries. The country of France had long been an absolutist state. “In an absolutist state, sovereignty is embodied in the person of the ruler”(McKay/Hill/Buckler 531). This statement refers to the philosophy of divine right, in which the ruler is answerable only to god. Kings/Queens were given the right to rule based upon their bloodline. If a child was born into the royal family he/she would eventually rule for life. Since this turn of fate was under the control of no human force, rulers believed they were not answerable to any human. This philosophy left no room for variance or compromise within the political structure. There was no resemblance of the modern idea of “checks and balances”. Rulers made decisions, laws, and policy based upon personal beliefs and desires. As with any system, there are pros and cons. Within an absolutist state, if the ruler is conscientious and effective he will do what is most beneficial for his constituents and the country will prosper. Opposition to the government will be at a minimum and the crown can rule effici Continue...


The first major point was the aftermath of the Protestant reformation. In addition to this, the cost of running a government in general had gone up and the country needed more money. These three points show how France and England adapted to the needs of the seventeenth century. Because the king didn't have as much power to tax as he pleases, the government could make a firm and accurate taxation of the people. But it is hard to say which system is the better system. In France, the price of government had also gone up. In England, the parliament because of this need grew to have power over the king and cause great toleration of people's beliefs, in addition to keeping a strong central government. In France, the Parliaments of Henry IV were totally changed by the next active king, Louis XIV. The main difference to democracy is that in a democracy all people have the right to vote. In a constitutional monarchy, such as in England, the KingQueen is the head of state and has some political authority, but the ultimate power rests with the electorate body. Using his control of the economy, a strong "Mercantilism" system was used aimed at maximizing foreign exports and reserves. ------------------------------------------------------------------------Bibliography. France was the more dominant state in the 17th century. Unfortunately, a shortsighted, inefficient ruler could destroy a country. Was one structure better than the other Each system served the needs of that country.