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Writing About The Memories of the Duc de Saint-Simon (Essay Sample)


Papers to include the answers to the following questions :
1. How reliable do you think Saint-Simon is as an historical source? What sources of information did he have? Do you think he distorts his information? What conclusions, if any, would such distortions affect?
2. What was an absolute monarchy? What, in theory, were its implications for the society of orders?
3. Did the ritual and etiquette of Louis XIV's court, as described by Saint-Simon, foster absolutism? If you consider ritual and etiquette as propaganda, what messages were being sent at Louis's court? Were they effective? Did Louis always seem to be aware of their political implications? If not, how can you explain this? Are historians mistaken in talking about "absolutism"?
4. Modern theorists often divide life into private and public spheres: private life is domestic, public life is political. Does this division seem to exist in Saint-Simon's discussion? Can the nature of absolute monarchy help explain your answer?
5. To judge from this source, could women be politically important under an absolute monarchy? If so, what conditions helped make that possible? Can your answers to the previous set of questions help you answer this one?
6. Were "absolute monarchs" in fact absolute? Could Louis act without constraint? How can your answer help you understand absolute monarchy?


The Memories of the Duc de Saint-Simon
Question 1
Saint Simon was a great author and his work is a reliable source of history since the accounts that are contained in his writings is what he went through in his early life while working as a military officer and while working in the court. Another significance of his historical writing is that Duke Saint Simon collected information from different places and he did not rely on himself alone. He got information from the other court members and letters from the postal services (p 229). The historical accounts of Saint Simon do not contain distortions since he embarked on proper research before his writing. After abandoning his military career, he went to live at the court of Versailles, where he continued to make notes and read the work of other memorialists and historians. Usually, the other members of the court relied on him and they would consult with him regarding the matters that they would not understand such as history, genealogy, and court etiquette. That means that he was a reliable source and other members of the court relied heavly upon him.
Question 2
Duke of Saint Simon was involved in the opening up of a period of substantial political thaw, as he wrote many proposals for the increased participation in the central government even if by the nobility. He tried as much as possible to get rid of the absolute monarchy since it did not give the people a chance to participate in decision making about various issues that affected them. We can define absolute monarchy as a system of g

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