Analyzing Louis XIV's reign

Topics: Louis XIV of France, French Revolution, France Pages: 2 (750 words) Published: December 7, 2013
Louis XIV was the epitome of an absolute monarch. Through his endless wars, extreme extravagance, and absolute control over taxes and the economy, he set the example for other European powers. His absolute rule brought about both positives and negatives. By building a large army to defend and expand his borders, he alienated other empires and created enemies. Placing political power and faith in the nobility helped him rule a vast kingdom but displaced him from the common man. His obsession with being a great conqueror expanded France to its largest in history, but nearly bankrupted the country and resulted in losing more territory than he gained. Although Louis XIV brought many improvements to France, as well as western society, his insatiable lust for war and extravagance caused more harm than good to the French Empire.

Louis XIV believed that being a conqueror was the greatest title a leader could obtain. Because of this, he would use his empire's extreme wealth to wage constant wars with his neighbors. During his reign, he created a professional army with standardized weapons and uniforms. He also created a rational system of training and promotion. His army model was copied throughout Europe. Realizing that he wanted to fight on multiple fronts, he greatly increased the size of his army. This, in turn, caused other European powers to expand their armies, as well as form coalitions against the Sun King. This coalition allied against Louis resulted in multiple defeats and loss of land.

At first, Louis' wars were quite beneficial. He was able to take over a few cities and began expanding his kingdom to what he considered its natural boundaries. More importantly, he was able to accomplish this without adding taxes to the people. But by 1684, the expansion ceased and the troubles began. He yielded territory to England, Spain, and Sweden. The wars of the next two decades did not provide any additional territories to France and strained the French resources....
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