Unit Three Essay

Submitted By edmodoman
Words: 700
Pages: 3

Jack Donahue
Mr. Horner
AP European History
17 November 2014
Contrast of France and the Netherlands During the Seventeenth Century In the seventeenth century, France society was dominated by an absolute and rigid hierarchy fueled by an economy based on mercantilism. In contrast, the Netherlands practiced a more modern, federal system, economically dependent on the large middle class and the free market system. The selected artwork reflect these sharp differences, the French is an overly ornate and elaborate painting of the Palace of Versaille in the Hall of Mirrors with the focus centered on the king, while the Dutch is a depiction of multiple men, all dressed in drab colors and clothing, and no one standing out as the superior individual. France remained as an absolute monarchy state well past the time period that absolute monarchs were considered the most efficient government after Henry IV, the first Bourbon, achieved much success on the throne and gained the approval of the masses. Henry’s major accomplishment was his rebuilding of the French infrastructure. Also, Henry IV was aided by
Cardinal Richelieu, whose primary objective was to elevate the king to absolute status. France also still maintained the Gallican Church, which gave the king control over religion, further supporting his absolutist reign. The caste system dominated society, meaning there was a very small amount of mobility between classes and status was primarily dictated by birthright. With

absolute control, kings such as Louis XIV had the opportunity to achieve goals such as strengthening the national army and supporting the arts. In fact, France was the artistic capital of
Europe under Louis XIV. But, without the checks and balances, France also ran up a substantial economic debt from the many wars the new national army partook in. Men such as John­Baptiste
Colbert attempted to limit this debt through the practice of French mercantilism. Colbert played the government’s hand in almost every part of the economy, using Louis XIV power to limit imports and increase exports and gain back wealth to the crown. This was a successful approach, but the king’s love affair with war and the lack of checks and balances in the government made
Colbert’s work a game of catch­up, rather than promoting French economic growth. The Dutch were a sharp contrast to the French, differing in religion, social structure, economic policies, and political policies. The Dutch were primarily Calvinist, but did allow more religious tolerance more than almost anywhere else in Europe during the time period. The practices of Calvinism created the differences in other aspects of society as well. Calvinists believe in the predestined elect and instilled the ideals of the Protestant work ethic. These two…