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Like their counterparts in the Middle East and Asia, a number of European states in the early modern era also pursued the twin projects of imperial expansion abroad and political integration at home. But consolidating central authority was a long and difficult task. Obstacles to the ambitions of kings in Europe were many - the absence of an effective transportation and communication infrastructure; the difficulty of acquiring information about the population and resources; the entrenched interests of privileged groups such as the nobility, church, town councils, and guilds; and the division between Catholics and Protestants.

Perhaps the most well-known example of such European state-building efforts is that of France under the rule of Louis XIV (r. 164317151643-1715). Louis and other European monarchs, such as those in Spain and Russia, operated under a set of assumptions known as absolutism, which held that kings ruled by "divine right" and could legitimately claim sole and uncontested authority in their realms. Louis's famous dictum "L'etat, c'est moi" ("I am the state") summed up the absolutist ideal. Source illustrates at least one way in which Louis attempted to realize this ideal.

Written by Louis himself, this document focuses on the importance of "spectacle" and public display in solidifying the exalted role of the monarch. The "carousel" described here was an extravagant pageant, held in Paris in June 16621662. It featured various exotic animals, slaves, princes, and nobles arrayed in fantastic costumes representing distant lands, as well as many equestrian competitions. Unifying this disparate assembly was King Louis himself, dressed as a Roman emperor, while on the shields of the nobles was that grand symbol of the monarchy, the sun.

What posture does Louis take toward his subjects in this document?


Formulate an evaluative question about the cartoon.


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The cartoon shows us a giant octopus (Rockefeller) that grabs everything in front of it and thus makes a profit. Rockefeller is described in this cartoon as a ruthless and ambitious businessman who would do anything to conquer the entire industry.

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