When Louis XIV assumed personal control of the French government in March 1661, the problems caused by aristocratic violence seemed superficially similar to those faced by his grandfather and father at the beginning of their reigns. The reassertion of royal authority that occurred in early modern France under Louis was aided and in many respects preceded by long-term social, political, and religious change. From the 1570s, French thinkers had been struggling for solutions to the major problems of their day; they taught that the moral failings that had led to instability could be corrected by closer attention to the interior self. This chapter discusses the concept of civility and the views of Norbert Elias and Thomas Hobbes regarding the civilising process and manners, Louis XIV's initiatives to eradicate duelling and feuding as well as disputes, and the privatisation and militarisation of violence.
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