Economic Backdrop
The economy of France was in bad shape in the 1600's. Tax's were very high and many people were poor. Crops were not very good, and much of what they had for money came from the fur trade with the Indians in the Americas. France traded with the Netherlands their exports of wine and wheat. Many of the tax's were spent on making canals or roadways within France. The french wars of religion coincided with bad crop epidemics which reduced the crop production about 40%.1 Influxes of gold and Silver from Africa and the Americas made some people become wealthy. However, it also increased inflamation which made other people poor, or have worse conditions than they had. This all had to do with mercantilism. When people could export gold and silver, trade was good and it would help France. However, if it became slow and stagnant, it was hard to make money. This applied with furs too, because fur was one of France's biggest exports and it was used for mercantilism in France. Times were hard, and the Louis XIV stepped in.1

Political Backdrop
France was politically insecure until Louis XIV. Francis I did begin some of the explorations to the new world. This did begin the fur trade. However, it is still apparent that he left France in somewhat of an economic crisis.1 Henry IV also did some good things for France. He made better coinage, and he improved the Livre tournas, which was the currency of France at the time. Swamps were drained to try to make more land for agriculture, which also helped make more fertile soil to plant crops in. Other than that he and his minister "sully", collected tax's throughout France. They used them to fix roads, and create tree lined highway. They built bridges and used some of the money for funds to build canals.3 He also improved the economic crisis, but did not do nearly as much as Louis XIV. Louis fought three wars and created peace between many countries with it. He encouraged the arts, and also built the palace of Versailles. It is big and beautiful, and he certainly left his mark on France. During his reign, he pulled France out of an economic crisis, which had led many citizens into poverty. Louis also believed that to unify his country he had to do it politically, and religiously. He revoked the Edict of Nantes in attempt to rid people that were Huegenots or some other religion.4 Louis was Catholic and wanted all of France to be of the Catholic religion. This, in his mind, would help unify France. Louis died right before his seventy seventh birthday, and left his throne to his great grand son, who was just five years old.5



Aspects of Culture
Social Backdrop
Living in France in the 16-1700's was quite different than living in France today. Until 1795, France had the largest population in europe. The population of France in the this time was about 19 million people. Women of this time were usually not educated. Most women would stay at home and be the housewife. They had the main responsibility of cooking for the family. They also had to watch their husbands business if he was away. Many wives were taught to read by there husbands. Some were even taught how to do the trade that there husband did. A women was allowed to get a job, but it was not very common. They would usually help their husband with their business. If they had a job, women were typically paid less than a man was.2


Many schools in France in the 1600's were education on the arts. Most women were not educated and a lot of poor people were not educated either.2 Some of the schools that were around were schools like the Academy of Inscriptions and Belle-Lettres. This school is better known as the Institut de France. The academy consists of fifty five french members and fourty foreign members. To become a member of the academy, you were elected by people already in the academy. Once you were elected in you were elected in for life. Once someone passed away, it gave an opportunity for a new member to become a part of the academy.The Royal Academy of Music was established in 1666. It was established by Louis XIV from his encouragement in the arts. It was a school which taught music to those who were already gifted. A few of which were also playing or singing in The Royal Chapel.5

Artistic Innovation

The art in France in the 1600's focused on portraits. They were very popular, and it was not uncommon to send or receive a portrait as a gift. Many people usually received portraits for their weddings. In most of the better portraits, a theme was trying to be expressed with the portrait.6
This painting is called "The Game of Knucklebones" by Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin. It was painted in 1734. As you can see, the women is playing a game of knucklebones. The tone and lighting given off by the oil used on the canvas gives it a warm feeling. The women appears to be happy and is enjoying herself playing the game, shown by the expression on her face. This can also show that the times were good and people were enjoying themselves. This is a self portrait, which is very popular in France at the time.

real louis.jpg
This is a portrait of Louis XIV painted by Hyacinthe Rigaud in 1701. This photo dislays the wealth of Louis. Notice the sword sheath and the exotic robes he is wearing. The sheath is studded with some gem. You can also notice by the way Louis is standing gives him a big bold look. This is to show the power that he had and that he could do almost anything he wanted

This painting is another portrait of a general named Charles Armand de Gontaut, duc de Biron. He was a general when Louis XIV was ruler. It was painted by Nicholas De Largillierre in 1714. This portrait also shows his wealth. The fur is a sign of wealth and represents how he is french, since it is one of Francis's largest exports. The elaborate armor also displays his wealth, and shows some of his power. Through all of that, his face gives off a slight sense of happiness, also giving a hint that the times were good in France.
Classic literary texts


The primary religion of France was catholicism. Louis XIV was fairy strict about enforcing it. He was the head of the Gallican church. Louis revoked the edict of Nantes. It was replaced with the Edict of Fontainebleau, which simply revoked the Edict of Nantes. This gave him permission to try to convert all of France to Catholicism. He began closing the Protestant churches, and banned all practice of the religion. His goal was to get them to convert to Catholicism, not to have them leave the country. So he didn't let any of them migrate either. As many as 400,000 Protestants converted to Catholicism. If they did not convert, they were heavily taxed and financially abused. For Catholicism, Louis built The Royal Chapel in the Palace of Versailles, since the one he used that was built in 1682 where the Hercules Salon was proved to be too small.4


The Palace of Versailles is Louis XIV's biggest architectural achievement. Originally a hunting lodge that was built by Louis XIII in 1624, the building become a very popular sight. Louis XIV had four building campaigns on it. The first was to make the building capable of holding up to six hundred people for a party. It's gardens were also much improved too. The second building campaign began right after the treaty of Aix La Chappelle. This Treaty settled a war between France and Spain, known as the war of Devolution. In this building campaign, the Chateau was improved. It began to look like it does today. Seven rooms were also built, one which was devoted to great historical figures of the past, such as Alexander the Great. The third building campaign began right after the Treaty of Nijmegen was signed, which ended the Dutch war. The architect Jules Hardouin - mansart helped to design some of the changes and additions. He was considered the apex of architecture at the time. The Hall of Mirrors was added to the palace, and many interior decorations and improvement was done. Not only was Jules concerned with the interior, but he was also concerned with the exterior. He also helped landscape the palace gardens. After this building campaign, the Palace looks much as it does today. The fourth and last building campaign ended soon after the War of the League of Augsburg. Most of the changes were the addition of the Royal Chapel. Other small changes had been made to the kings chamber as well. Louis moved from Paris to the Palace in 1682. There the court and the head officials stayed until it was moved back to Paris by the royal family in 1789.7

Observations about what we have learned.

The first thing I learned doing this project is that finding good sources and information on what you are looking for if you want good information is tedious hard work. It is time consuming and can be very aggrivating. It is a lot of work to do when you are at home because it takes up most of the weekend. It is also hard when there is no one can help you because you are at home, but makes you feel accomplished when you get it all done. The second thing I learned was just about everything I wrote about. There was almost nothing in the textbook about France, so I had to go and learn all of this about France, which turned out to be somewhat interesting. Julia had an interesting article in Louis, which helped me understand a bit more.


1.Wikipedia, "Economic History of France." Last modified Oct 27, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_history_of_France
2.Lambert, Tim. Localhistories, "Women in Tudor Times." Last modified 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.localhistories.org/women.html.
3.Wikipedia, "Henry IV." Last modified nov 2, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_IV_of_France
4.Wikipedia, "Louis XIV." Last modified 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_XIV_of_France
5.Biography.com, "Louis XIV.biography." Last modified 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://www.biography.com/people/louis-xiv-9386885?page=2.
6.Gioseffi, Decio. Louvre Paris. New York: Newsweek Inc. And Arnoldo Mondori Editore, 1977.
7.Wikipedia, "Palace of Versailles." Last modified nov 3, 2012. Accessed November 4, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_Versailles.
Louvre - in English

grading cultures wiki rubric.doc
grading cultures wiki rubric.doc

grading cultures wiki rubric.doc

This is the rubric that I have used in the past. It functions well as a checklist.
grading cultures wiki rubric.doc
grading cultures wiki rubric.doc

grading cultures wiki rubric.doc