While the French Monarchy was strengthened by a number of forms of power, these same strengths were also potential weaknesses that might prevent the regime from responding effectively to a crisis. To what extent do you agree with this statement?
Throughout the 1780’s, the French King remained powerful and had several forms of authority. The Absolute Monarchy drew on a number of different strands of power, ranging from a political theory and religious authority to common public perception of the King’s benevolence and legitimacy. However, as only a limited number of these understandings were documented, if at some stage, a crisis such as opponents of absolute royal authority were to question the origins and limits of power, the entire system would be weakened.
Furthermore, whilst the King’s power was strengthened in part by his Council of State, the fact that he had the power to replace the ministers at will meant that few dared to reveal problems occurring in French society as well as suggest policies that may be beneficial to the whole of France, but unpopular with the King. Thus, whilst the ministers aided in the control of the country, their advice and suggestions to the King may have acted as potential weaknesses due to the possibility of the proposals being influenced by the current disposition, attitude and personality of the King.
The King’s personal authority controlled provincial France by a network of royal governors, ensuring his absolute power retained ultimate control even in towns situated far away from Paris and Versailles. However, the King’s knowledge pertain to the state of the nation was only as virtuous as the reports he received from the royal governors, as the King himself rarely left Versailles, meaning he was in danger of accepting a fabricated reality derived from false or biased reports from these governors. This acts as a major weakness to the King’s power as decisions he may have made for the whole of France in a time of...