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Historical Analysis Questions

What conditions or individuals did Richelieu describe as being obstacles to Louis XIII’s exercise of “sovereignty”?

Richelieu proved himself as an untiring servant of the French crown by warming his way up the power ladder till he became Louis XIII’s prime minister. Richelieu described the way the nobles carried themselves in a way that portrayed they were not Louis XIII’s subjects who were an obstacle to the majesty’s exercise of sovereignty. He also noted the manner in which the most influential councils of the provinces carried themselves as if they were autonomous in the offices they held (Richelieu 1). Richelieu saw the behaviour of the governors as a bad example to the subjects and had the potential to cause harm to Louis XIII’s realm. If his habit was not regulated, it would affect the provincial appellate court and diminish the Majesty’s royal authority.

Richelieu also described the protestants (Huguenots) as an obstacle to Louis XIII’s ability to exercise his full powers through their large measures of religious liberty. This seemed to weaken the king’s position at home and abroad (Richelieu 1). In addition, the Huguenots enjoyed excess military power, which made them a threat to the government.

The Cardinal believed that the king was exquisitely possessed by the power of reason and that the state interests had overtaken the desires of his soul. Richelieu thought that the subjects and peasants of the land must continually be kept in check by imposing order because they were like stubborn mules who fed on a mixture of cajolement and discipline but still could play a big role in blocking the king’s exercise of practising sovereignty.

Did Louis XIV identify the same conditions or individuals as threats to his Sovereignty?

Louis XIV did not identify with the same threats to his sovereignty as Louis XIII. Louis XIV made sure that a centralized government existed in order to tighten control of France and its colonies. He also made sure that reforms were implemented to reduce the deficit and ensure the growth of industries (Louis XIV 1). Unlike Louis XIII, he reorganized the French army in an attempt to pacify and disempower the rebellious nobles. He also dealt with the Huguenots by ordering the destruction of all protestant churches and schools and made an order to make the catholic faith a requirement for all children.

Based upon the primary sources and additional learning materials, describe one strength and one weakness of Louis XIV as a ruler.

Louis XIV has been termed as not just a king but a leader. He was adored when things were in order and existed in a regular manner. Though naturally judicious and moderate, he managed to be the master of his tongue and emotions. Louis XIV had weaknesses, he loved hearing praises heaped on him as well as flattery (Louis XIV 1). It was his love of praise which enabled Louvois to convince him to engage in numerous wars, by persuading him that his Generals had fewer war talents compared to him.

What is the primary source evidence for your assertions?

On Louis XIV’s weakness, “……. his natural talents were below mediocrity, but he had a mind capable of improvement, of receiving polish…” (Modern History Sourcebook). On his weakness, “…. there was nothing he liked so much as flattery, or, to put it more plainly, adulation; the coarser and clumsier it was, the more he relished it” (Modern History Sourcebook).

What were the demands of the Diggers?

The Diggers demanded and insisted upon all the premises as their definite human rights and liberties (Diggers 1). They also demanded that there shouldn’t be any declarations, rulings, actions or proceedings carried out to the bias of the subjects on any of the premises. From then on, the Prince of Orange will save them from the defilement of their rights and from any other efforts upon their faith, civil liberties and liberties.

How would you connect the demands of the Diggers to the materials covered in the previous twelfth module?

The demands of the Diggers were related to the previous acts of illegal practices. One such practice was the royal exclusive or special right of dispensing with the law to suit their needs, the full suspension of the law without seeking consent from parliament and the lack of the subjects’ freedom of speech with the royals’ ability to interfere with the course of justice.

How would you compare the demands of the Diggers to the parliamentary privileges established by the English Bill of Rights?

The requirements of the Diggers are comparable to the parliamentary provisions established by the Bill of Rights. Under the Bill of Rights, King James II was condemned for power abuse and a declaration was made that the kingdom could no longer decree without the parliament’s consent (Diggers 1). It also reduced the authority held by the monarchy and raised the position of the parliament and thus, outlined the exact rights of individuals.

Works Cited

Anthony Grafton and Donald Bell. “The West: A New History”, pp. 370-398; 433-434

Gerrard Winstanley. “Digger Pamphlet”.

English Bill of Rights 1689. An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown

J.H. Robinson, ed. “Readings in European History”. Hanover Historical Texts Project. Scanned by Brian Cheek, Hanover College. November 12, 1995.

Modern History Sourcebook: Ducde Saint-Simon: The Court of Louis XIV

Modern History Sourcebook: Social Conditions in 17th Century France



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