Sunday, 10 April 2016

The Bourgogne Faction

The Bourgogne Faction was centred around Louis, Duc de Bourgogne and by extension his popular wife, Marie Adélaïde of Savoy. The faction was convinced that France was in great need of reform as to the governmental system. This shared opinion was what sparked the faction; the Duc de Bourgogne had developed into an intelligent young man who himself was greatly in support of reforming his grand-father's (Louis XIV) system.

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The Duc de Bourgogne

The main protagonist of the faction was the Duc de Bourgogne's tutor, Abbé Fénelon. The Abbé (or Archbishop) was outspoken to say the least. He authored several letters and treatises which were harsh in their critics on the Sun King's regime and nothing short of absolutely adoring of the Duc de Bourgogne. However, in 1699, the King had had enough of Fénelon's critics. He banished him from court and forbade him from having any contact with the royal family.

Other members included the Colbert family such as the Duc de Chevreuse and the Duc de Beauvilliers. The infamous Duc de Saint-Simon has also been connected to the faction.

Duc de Chevreuse (Colbert's son)

The circle around the Duc de Bourgogne remained steadfast. High moral principles were the trademark of the faction which included several of the most progressive philosophers of the time as well as aristocrats who sympathised with the lower classes. The development towards a less absolute monarchy was a main agenda for the factions; rather than the all-mighty King they were in favour of delegation some aspect of governmental power to the provinces.

The disgraced Fénelon
During the life of the Grand Dauphin the group had little to no influence. Then, in 1711, the Grand Dauphin died which meant that the Duc de Bourgogne was now Dauphin. Suddenly, the Bourgogne faction stood to gain everything. The chance of reform seemed to be within reach. The ageing King's health was deteriorating so those who looked to the future sought the next in line. Yet, an ageing King is still King and the Dauphin had not nearly enough influence to achieve the faction's goals.

The end of the Bourgogne Faction came just a year later. The Duc de Bourgogne and Marie Adélaïde both fell ill and died to the great horror of the court. Officially, this was the end and the surviving members would themselves follow their idol to the grave soon after. The ideas did not die out though. During the regency of the Duc d'Orléans government was indeed divided into several sectors which had been one of the main goals of the Bourgogne faction.

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