CHY 4U: Absolutism for Dummies

Disclaimer: in no way am I suggesting that you are dummies.

Today is your lucky day! The publisher of the Dummies series of books (Programming for Dummies, Parenting for Dummies, Pugilism for Dummies) has finally broken away from its cult-like obsession with the letter P. The publisher’s new focus is the letter A. The first new title? Absolutism for Dummies!

What? Questions from the audience? Well, I never…

Observant Student: Mr. Pedrech, you said that today is our lucky day, yet I see no connection between the publishing company’s new direction and our “luck”.

Mr. Pedrech: Didn’t I mention that the publishing company has hired you?

Student in Need of a Job: Really? How much is the publisher paying us?

Mr. Pedrech: Okay. Maybe “hired” isn’t the right term. It might be better to think of yourselves as Interns.

Observant Student: So….basically, we do all of the work, don’t get paid, and get coffee for the people in power whenever they ask?

Mr. Pedrech: Yep. That’s it.

Terse Student: Can we just get to the point?

Mr. Pedrech: Sure. Sure. So, today, you will co-author a set of guidelines for absolute monarchs, or rulers who are the only real authority in their lands. There are four examples we want to consider: Louis XIV, Frederick the Great, Peter the Great, and Catherine the Great.

Student Who Can Read Neither Roman Numerals Nor French: So, why did the last three get the nickname “Great” and poor Louis only got “Xiv”? Is Xiv French for great?

Mr, Pedrech: VIX is actually the Roman numeral for 14. Next question?

Goal-driven Student: Okay. So, what’s my task here? What am I to do?

Mr, Pedrech: I will divide you into four large groups, one per absolute ruler. Each group will briefly investigate the appropriate ruler, generating 5-7 specific points that outline important decisions, policies, or facts that defined the ruler’s time in power. That is step 1.

Student Who Has an Unhealthy Obsession With Steps: What’s the next step? Please tell me…please? I just really need to know…

Mr. Pedrech: Well, next, you will be put in groups of four, with one student representing each leader. You will co-author 5 Steps to Becoming an Absolute Monarch; each point will be supported by specific details from the last round.

Student Interested in Factoids: Can you give me an interesting factoid or two before we get started?

Mr. Pedrech: Okay. Hmmm…how about this? Louis was extraordinarily proud of his legs. He liked to show them off whenever possible.

Student Interested in Factoids: Interesting! Anything else?

Mr. Pedrech: Find out the connection between Louis, the French nobility, and bedpans. Now get to work!


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