“One King, One Law, One Faith”
King Louis XIV began his reign of France the day after Cardinal Mazarin’s death and expressed his determination to be a real king and the sole ruler of France. He reigned in France from 1643 to 1715 and held the desire to enhance the glory of his dynasty. Louis XIV consciously fostered the myth of himself as the Sun King, the source of light for all of his people. He was a staunch believer in the theory of divine-right monarchy, which was a based on the belief that monarchs receive their power from God and are therefore responsible to no one except God. Louis’ goal was “one king, one law, one faith,” which he accomplished by controlling the nobility, adhering to mercantilism, and using religion as a tool for national unity. By constructing the court at Versailles, Louis created a personal household, the location of a central government, and the place where subjects came to find favours and offices. This helped control the nobility by distracting them from real power, and establishing a prerequisite of active involvement in activities for obtaining offices, titles, and pensions. Louis eliminated the threat of high nobles and royal princes, who considered it their responsibility to assert the policy-making role of royal ministers, by removing them from the royal council and enticing them to his court where he could keep them preoccupied with court life and out of politics. Louis relied for his ministers on other nobles instead of high nobility and royal princes, expecting them to be subservient. His domination of his ministers and secretaries gave him control of the central policy-making aspect of government and therefore authority over the traditional areas of monarchial power. Louis had less success with the internal administration of the kingdom, because the tradition groups and institutions of French society were too powerful for him to have control over. Louis’ controller of finances, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, aided him in...
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