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Louis XIV: The Sun King

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Melissa Pham

on 24 October 2014

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Transcript of Louis XIV: The Sun King

Louis XIV: The Sun King
born May 14, 1643
son of Louis XIII
inherited the crown at age 4, but his mother Anne of Austria was his regent until he was of age to rule
he and his mother were "uncommonly affectionate" due to the fact that they were together all of the time
Anne of Austria and Louis XIV were both greatly interested in food and theater
Cardinal Mazarin helped Anne of Austria rule and carried on Cardinal Richelieu's policies
his childhood supposedly came to an end when the First Fronde began
Louis XIV's 5 Rules of Absolutism
The king must be God-like
The king must be wealthy
The king must be in control
The king must be able to enforce religious conformity
The king must have an army
Wars of Louis XIV (1667-1713)
Desire for increase in royal power and military and domination of Bourbon dynasty over European affairs led to series of wars
Under Francois-Michel Le Tellier France made a professional army with 100,000 men in peacetime and 400,000 men in wartime
First War (versus Triple Alliance) (1667-1668)
Began in 1667 when Louis invades Spanish Netherlands to his north and Franche-Comté to the east
Triple Alliance of Dutch, English, and Swedes forced Louis for peace in 1668
Dutch War (1672-1678)
Louis never forgave Dutch for making Triple Alliance, so in 1672 French invades United Provinces after isolating Dutch
Victory led to alliance of Brandenburg, Spain, and Holy Roman Empire which forced Louis to end Dutch war
Peace at Nimwegen in 1678
French got Franche-Comté from Spain
War of League of Augsburg (1689-1697)
Conquest of provinces of Alsace and Lorraine and occupation of Strasbourg led to creation of League of Augsburg,
League of Augsburg consist of Spain, Holy Roman Empire, United Provinces, Sweden and England; it began the war of League of Augsburg
War brought economic depression and famine to France
Treaty of Ryswick end war and forced Louis to give up most of his conquest
He got to keep Strasbourg and part of Alsace, but the war wasn’t worth the gain
"It is legal because I wish it."
-Louis XIV
Louis XIV's Fourth War: The Spanish War of Succession (1702-1713)
War over the right to succeed Spanish throne.
Charles II the sickly and childless ruler also known as the "bewitched" was the last Hapsburg to rule Spain.
Philip V, the man to rule Spain after Charles' death, caused a fear of a Bourbon hegemony, which would certainly mean destruction of European balance of power.
This fear caused a coalition to be created, consisting of England, the United Provinces, Hapsburg Austria, and German states opposing France and Spain leading to the war that lasted 11 years.
The coalition fought many battles and eventually forcing France out of Germany and the Netherlands at Blenheim and Ramillies.
The war was concluded with the Peace of Utrecht (1713) and the Peace of Rastatt (1714). Recognizing Philip V as the ruler of Spain and stating that France and Spain were to remain separated.
Death Of Louis XIV The Sun King (1715)
After 72 years of reign Louis died of gangrene at the Palace of Versailles on September 1.
On his deathbed, Louis XIV told his successor," Je m'en vais, mais l'État demeurera toujours." (I depart, but the State shall always remain.)
Louis left France in ruin surrounded by enemies.
He told his successor "Lighten your people's burden as soon as possible and do what I have had the misfortune not to do myself."
The people who loved, trusted, and respected Louis XIV began to see his craze for power and glory.
"There is little that can withstand a man who can conquer himself."
-Louis XIV
The Palace of Versailles
Opened May 6, 1682
When the cháteau was built, Versailles was a country village
The court of Versailles was the center of political power in France in 1682 when Louis XIV moved from the capital Paris
Not only is it a famous building, The Palace of Versailles is a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy, or absolutism, of Ancien Régime, which is a monarchic, aristocratic, social and political system
There were a total of 4 building campaigns between 1664 to 1710
The first building campaign commenced with the festival Plaisirs de l'Île enchantée (Pleasures of the Enchanted Island) in 1664 and ended 1668
The second campaign (1669-1672) started with the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle
With the Treaty of Nijmegan and the end of the Dutch war, the third campaign started in 1678 and ended 1684
The defeat of the War of the League of Augsburg led Louis XIV to undertake his last building campaign (1688-1697)
The Reign of Louis XIV
Louis XIV took the throne a day after Cardinal Mazarin's death
Age of twenty-three, Louis XIV was determined to save sole control of France
He was very serious about taking the throne, despite his reputation for being a playboy
Proved he would pay the price of being a strong ruler
Created the grand majestic court at Versailles
Realities fell far short of the aspirations
Despite the efforts of both Cardinal Richelieu and Mazarin, France still possessed a bewildering system of overlapping authorities
Administration of Government
One key to Louis’ power was ability to restructure the central policy-making machinery of government- was part of his own court and household
Royal court at Versailles was an elaborate structure to serve different purposes:
personal home of Louis
location of central governmental machinery
place where powerful subjects came to find favors/offices for themselves and their clients
main arena for rivaling aristocratic factions for power
Greatest threat to Louis’ rule were the princes of the blood (royal princes)
Eliminates the threat removing them from the royal council
“I had no intention of sharing my authority with them.”
Domination of his ministers and secretaries gave Louis control of the central policy-making machinery of government and authority over the traditional areas of monarchical power
Traditional groups and institutions of French society too powerful for Louis to have direct control over the lives of his subjects
Relationship with the parliaments allowed Louis to exercise both political and economic control over these provincial law courts

Financial Issues
Cost of building palace of Versailles and other palaces, maintaining his court, and pursuing wars created financial issues for Louis XIV.
Jean-Baptiste Colbert became the controller general of finances.
Sought to increase wealth and power of France through general adherence to mercantilism, which stressed government regulation of economic activities to benefit the state.
Colbert attempted to expand the quantity and improve quality of French manufactured goods.
Founded new industries, such as the royal tapestry works at Beauvais and invited Venetian glassmakers and Flemish clothmakers to France
Improved communication and transportation by building roads and canals.
Decreased imports directly by raising tariffs on foreign manufactured goods.
Edict of Fontainebleau
Louis XIV didn’t allow Protestants to practice their faith
Believed in “one king, one law, one faith”
October 1685 issues Edict of Fontainebleau which revokes Edict of Nantes and allowed destruction of Huguenot churches and closing of Protestant schools
200,000 Huguenots fled to England, United Provinces, and German states
Most of the Huguenots were skilled artisans, so their leaving weakened French economy and strengthen the states they moved to
This document was also known as the “Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.”
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