With the expansion of the royal domain (crown domain), a strong monarchy was formed, which in early modern Europe became a political and cultural point of reference. The French Revolution made France a modern nation-state. Subjects of an absolute monarch became citizens with basic democratic rights. Check estatelearning.com to see more about France and other countries in the world.
Heads of State of France
|The French heads of state (Kings: 843–1792 and 1814–1848)|
|Charles II, the bald||840 / 843–877 (875 emperors)|
|Ludwig II., The regular||877-879|
|Charles III , the thick||885-887 (881 emperors)|
|Odo of Paris||888-898|
|Charles III, the simple-minded||898-923|
|Robert I of France||922-923|
|House of the Boso|
|Rudolf of Burgundy||923-936|
|Ludwig IV., The overseas||936-954|
|Robert II, the pious||996-1031|
|Louis VI. , the thick||1108-1137|
|Louis VII, the boy||1137-1180|
|Philip II Augustus||1180-1223|
|Louis VIII, the lion||1223-1226|
|Louis IX , the Saint||1226-1270|
|Philip III , the bold one||1270-1285|
|Philip IV, the handsome||1285-1314|
|Ludwig X., the brawler||1314-1316|
|Johann I, the child||1316|
|Philip V, the Tall One||1317-1322|
|Charles IV, the handsome||1322-1328|
|House Valois (Capetian)|
|Johann II, the good||1350-1364|
|Charles V the Wise||1364-1380|
|Charles VI , the madman||1380-1422|
|Charles VII, the victorious||1422-1461|
|Louis XI. , the cruel one||1461-1483|
|Louis XII. from Orléans||1498-1515|
|Francis I of Angoulême||1515-1547|
|House Bourbon (Capetian)|
|Henry IV of Navarre||1589-1610|
|(Louis XVII, Dauphin)|
|Napoleon I.||1804-1814 (1815)|
|House Bourbon (Capetian)|
|Louis XVIII||(1814) 1815-1824|
|Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte||1848-1851 (1852)|
|Third Republic (Presidents)|
|MEPM Count of Mac-Mahon||1873-1879|
|État Français (Head of State)|
|HP Pétain||1940–1944 / 45|
|Provisional Government of the French Republic (Presidents)|
|C. de Gaulle||1944 / 45-1946|
|F. Gouin, G. Bidault, L. Blum||1946-1947|
|Fourth Republic (Presidents)|
|Fifth Republic (Presidents)|
|C. de Gaulle||1959-1969|
|V. Giscard d’Estaing||1974-1981|
|E. Macron||since 2017|
Decline of the absolute monarchy (1715–89)
With the death of Louis XIV, the reign of his still underage great-grandson and successor Louis XV. (1715–74, of age 1723) to Philip II, Duke of Orléans.
This fundamentally changed French politics by giving back part of their power to the aristocracy and especially to the parliaments and allied with Great Britain against Spain. The national debt decreased through the financial manipulation of the J. Law, so that the economy received new impulses. Cardinal Fleury (leading minister 1726–43) succeeded once again in consolidating the state finances. Nevertheless, the crown succumbed to a gradual decline in power, caused by Ludwig’s weak policy and the rule of mistresses (Marquise de Pompadour, Countess Dubarry), its costly and loss-making war and colonial policy and the renewed shaking of state finances. Fleury was able to secure the right to Lorraine to France in 1735/38 (War of the Polish Succession; 1766 Acquisition of Lorraine); in the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48), in which France intervened against Fleury’s will, it was unsuccessful; In 1756/57 France finally changed the alliance from Prussia to Austria, which was fateful for France: In the Seven Years’ War (1756–63) it fought unsuccessfully against Prussia and lost its North American and most of its Indian colonies to Great Britain (Peace of Paris 1763).
Fundamental reform approaches to reorganize state finances by taxing all income and all classes failed due to the resistance of the privileged classes, the nobility and clergy, against which the crown was unable to assert itself. The attempts at reform also met with bitter resistance from the highest courts of justice, the parliaments. These were ruled by the holders of commercial and hereditary offices, the official nobility (noblesse de robe) who gradually rose alongside the old nobility (noblesse d’épée). The situation of the clergy was determined by the social contrast between poorly paid pastors and the prelates, who came almost exclusively from the aristocracy. The French Enlightenment, without a uniform political concept, directed their criticism both against absolutism and the power position of the church (Montesquieu and Voltaire) as well as against the privileged structure of the ancien régime (encyclopedists, J.-J. Rousseau).
The Physiocrats advocated the abolition of feudality, which hampered agricultural productivity. Against the political and social grievances and their own disadvantage, the economically strengthening and socially rising bourgeoisie began increasingly to oppose as the leading layer of the third estate.
The reform of the Chancellor R. N. de Maupeou (1771) aimed at modernizing the judicial organization was followed by Louis XVI. (1774–92), the grandson and successor of Louis XV. , withdrawn under pressure from the privileged.
Attempts at reform by his finance ministers A. R. J. Turgot (1774–76), J. Necker (1777–81) and C. A. de Calonne (1783–87) also failed under his government. The politically unproductive French participation in the North American War of Independence exacerbated the financial crisis. After the failure of all efforts to avert national bankruptcy, which undermined the authority of the Crown, the King convened the Estates General, which had not met since 1614, to eliminate the deficit and reform the state. This triggered the movement that led to the revolution.