England and France both developed very different governmental systems during the sixteenth century. Great Britain created a governmental system on which there is little infringement upon the rights of the people, and there is a parliamentary government to keep the royal power in check. The French monarchy was the exact opposite. The monarchs ruled absolutely and controlled all the affairs that took place in the kingdom. Although the English and French of the sixteenth century evolved differently, their governments both generated great power and wealth.
The English parliamentary system incorporated the ideal of a society where the people have the power. This in turn was backed by a powerful ruling class of nobles and royalty. This provided an efficient bureaucratic government that mirrors the Democratic-Republic system that is currently employed in America today. Resulting from no direct taxation, in exchange for the increase in price of royal services, the majority of the population did not have to pay exorbitant amounts to coexist in an environment with powerful figureheads. The wealth generated was then kept inside of the royalty resulting from the nobles requiring the royal services.
The commoner peasant class was not constrained by the government’s financial burdens. This lead to the rise in the lower classes economically, which led to better furnishings, diet, and extra capital. The extra money then was poured into the adventurous joint-stock companies which financed voyages to Africa, India, and China. This resulted in lucrative profits from the rare commodities. The government’s investment in this industry also led to a large cash flow and an increase in prestige and power in its venture throughout the uncharted seas.
The Absolute Monarchy of France took the idea of prestige and power to a new level. Taxation was placed upon sales, salt trade, and households. This generated huge new wealth for the French government. However, the French government consisted mainly of the Absolute Monarch and his cabinet. The power of the nobles was leeched from them as they sought entertainment and fine foods from the bottomless pockets of the court of the Absolute Monarch.
Extravagant events that led to the decreased power of the nobles were brought to a whole new level as King Louis IX reigned. He is quoted as saying “I am the state”, because of his absolute influence on the French government. Great power succumbed to this as he envisioned conquering both Spain and Germany. However, other nations stepped in to keep a balanced system of kingdoms within flourishing Europe.
The English idea of the power of the people through parliament and no direct taxes was drastically different from the power strapped people of the French Absolute Monarchy. However, the English and French governments both proved very successful in accomplishing their goals of obtaining huge wealth and power through their radically different ruling systems.