Louis XIV and the parlements

The assertion of royal authority

By John J. Hurt

Louis XIV and the parlements

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-6980-2
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £15.99
  • Published Date: February 2004
  • BIC Category: Humanities / European history, Society & social sciences / Politics & government, HISTORY / Europe / France, POLITICAL SCIENCE / General, European history, France, History


This is the first scholarly study of the political and economic relationship between Louis XIV and the parlements of France, the Parlement of Paris and all the provincial tribunals. The author explains how the king managed to impose strict political discipline for which this reign, and only this reign, is known. Hurt shows that the king built upon that discipline to extract large sums of money from the judges in the parlements, thus damaging their economic interests. When the king died in 1715, the regent, Philippe d'Orléans, after a brief attempt to befriend the parlements through compromise, resorted to the authoritarian methods of Louis XIV and perpetuated the Sun King's political and economic legacy.

This study calls into question current revisionist understanding of Louis XIV and insists that absolute government had a harsh reality at its core. Based upon extensive archival research, this remarkable book will be of interest to all students of the history of early modern France and the monarchies of Europe.


List of Tables
1. Compulsory Registration and Its Limits, 1665-1671
2. Victory over the Parlements, 1671-1675
3. Venal Office and the Royal Breakthrough
4. The Ordeal of the Parlementaires
5. The Regent and the Parlements: the Bid for Cooperation
6. Confronting the Parlement of Paris, 1718
7. Sequels


John J. Hurt is Associate Professor of History at the University of Delaware

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