11 October 2011
Louis XIV and Absolutism
Over the past hundreds of years, many monarchs have used absolutism to rule over their nations. Louis XIV used absolutism to keep his subjects loyal to him. There were many different aspects in Louis’s absolutism including fear and power. Louis created different materialistic objects and created jobs and laws to keep many of his subjects loyal. He also had many different characteristics that would make different types of people loyal to him. Louis could make his subjects fear him. He could charm his people as well and make his subjects have the urge to do things for him. These were just some of the ways Louis XIV used absolutism to make his subjects loyal. One of the many ways Louis XIV gained loyalty from his subjects was the objects that he built for his people. The palace of Versailles was an important factor that made many nobles more loyal to the king. Built by Louis, the palace of Versailles was an enormous palace that housed over ten thousand people including nobles, Louis himself, and a staff of thousands. Versailles helped Louis by making the nobles power diminish while making his own power increase. He held ceremonies daily that reinforced his importance and showed others his value to the government. Louis had the power to attract nobles and others into Versailles and create servant like people out of them. At Versailles people competed to complete various tasks from handing Louis his shoes to filling his bath with water; some people even got the honor of cleaning his bottom. These are a few reasons how Versailles made nobles and others even more loyal to Louis.
Louis’s unique characteristics also helped make his subjects loyal to him. One important attribute that Louis had was fear. Many people fear the consequences that Louis would give to them if they failed one of his orders. This caused many of his subjects to work extremely hard and complete every task they were given to the best of their ability. An example of the effect that his fear had on his subjects is Vatel. Vatel was a servant of Louis that would only accept perfectness for Louis. After one of his dinners failed, he committed suicide in fear of the consequences he thought Louis was going to give him. Another trait that helped Louis was his charm. Louis made himself seem very smart; he was also athletic and handsome. These qualities made people want to do things for him. This helped Louis because it downgraded the status of royals and nobles while upgrading his own importance.
Divine right was a big factor for Louis during his time as king. Louis was convinced that he was chosen by god to become the sun king and rule France. He declared himself head of the state and said that god chose him to rule over everyone; people believed him and followed his orders and commands. Divine right helped Louis gain even more power because he had the power of the Catholic Church in addition to his loyal subjects. With divine right, Louis ruled the church and the people.
Like few other leaders, Louis XIV used absolutism to keep his subjects loyal to him. He used many different methods of winning his people over, from attracting his nobles in with a magnificent palace to instilling fear into his servants. If you say that Louis XIV wasn’t a great leader, then you’re not correct. Louis took control of France and made it the most powerful nation in Europe. This was done using absolutism to keep his subject loyal.