Prof. Saimbert John
19 November 2014
Louis XIV (1638-1718), known as the Sun King, lasted for 72 years, longer than that of any monarch of a major European history. In that time, he transformed the monarchy, also introduced a golden age of art and literature. He established his country as the dominant European power as well. During the final decades of Louis XIV’s rule, France was declined by several wars. Early life and reign of Louis XIV
Louis XIV was born on September 5, 1638 , he was his parents’ first child after 23 years of marriage. His father the King Louis XIII of France and his mother queen, Anne of Austria. So he was as a “gift of God.” For the king’s family. The king Louis XIII ruled with Cardinal Richelieu, who served as First Minister. When Louis XIII died Cardinal Richelieu also died shortly after the King's death. Richelieu's successor, Cardinal Mazarin, governed the country until Louis XIV grew up. He always wanted to be able to rule alone. During the early years of Louis XIV’s reign, Anne and Mazarin introduced policies that further consolidated the monarchy’s power, angering nobles and members of the legal aristocracy. Mazarin died March 9, 1661. On March 10, Louis claimed supreme authority in France. Louis saw himself as God’s representative on earth. He had the support initially of his ministers, then that of the French people. Louis XIV assumes control of France
After Mazarin’s death in 1661, Louis XIV broke with tradition and astonished his court by declaring that he would rule without a chief minister. He viewed himself as the direct representative of God, endowed with a divine right to wield the absolute power of the monarchy. To illustrate his status, he chose the sun as his symbol and reflected the image of knowing everything and incapable of making mistakes or being wrong. “Roi-Soleil” (“Sun King”) around whom the entire kingdom revolved. While some historians question the attribution, Louis is often remembered for the idea “L’État, c’est moi” (“I am the State”). Vincent Buranelli states: “Louis XIV adopted all the measures that occurred to him to make himself the master and the servant of France; and by” France” he meant the entire nation and all its classes from the highest to the lowest. He acknowledged that every honest man occupied an honorable niche in the state at the level appropriate to his occupation”(LOUIS XIV 45).
Immediately after presuming control of the government, Louis worked so hard to centralize and increase control of France and its overseas colonies. His finance minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert , enforced reforms that aggressively reduced the negative amount and encouraged the growth of industry, while his war minister, the Marquis de Louvois, expanded and reorganized the French army. Louis also managed to conciliate and disempowered the historically defiant nobles, who had established no less than 11 civil wars in four decades, by persuading them to his court and adapting them to the wealthy lifestyle there. Louis XIV and foreign policy
In 1667 Louis XIV launched the War of Devolution, the first in a series of military conflicts that characterized his aggressive approach to foreign policy, by occupying the Spanish Netherlands, which he claimed as his wife’s inheritance. Under pressure from the English, Swedish and especially the Dutch, France retreated and returned the district to Spain, gaining only some border towns in Flanders. This unsatisfactory outcome lead to the Franco-Dutch War , in which France obtained more territory in Flanders. Now at the height of his powers and influence, Louis established “rooms of reunion” to annex disputed cities and towns along France’s border through quasi-legal means. William F Church stated in his book “The Greatness of Louis XIV”: “When we occupy ourselves with the government of Louis XIV, when we endeavor to appreciate the causes...
Cited: LOUIS XIV Written by VINCENT BURANELLI
TWAYNE PUBLISHERS, INC. : : New York 1966
The Greatness of Louis XIV ( Second Edition) 1972
Edited and with an introduced by
William F. Church
THE SUN KING
NANCY MITFORD ‘ A brillant son et lumiere performance’ - Guardian
Please join StudyMode to read the full document