Prerequisite: HS101, one HS300-level course, and written or electronic permission of the instructor. European societies were in crisis in the seventeenth century. Religious passions and political rebellions, wars, famine, and intellectual revolution threatened social order. The resolution of this turmoil produced the English parliamentary system and the French form of "absolutism"--two very different paths to stability. This seminar examines the courts of Louis XIV and other monarchs to determine how they achieved solutions to the problems of their times. It also studies the creation of cultural policies that encouraged the spread of new ideas.