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Henry VIII vs. Louis XIV
Transcript of Henry VIII vs. Louis XIV
Henry VII was an intelligent, charming man in his early years who gained the crown through his older brother's death. He was well-respected by the public when he first began his reign, people left and right praising his ascension to the throne.
However, they quickly began to regret their praise as Henry's impulsive behavior and defiant personality became a hassle for both politics and the general public as well. He famously broke away from the Catholic Church simply because the Pope would not void his current marriage to Catherine of Aragon, thus sparking a rigid rivalry between him and the Catholics in England.
Many say that he was the main founder of the Anglican Church of England, though it technically was started by his daughter, Queen Elizabeth.
Louis's Rule (1643-1715)
After a childhood full of conspiracies, corruption, and nobles attempting to seize power through him, Louis developed a strong hatred for those who wished to gain power over him. As soon as he was considered old enough to rule on his own, he insisted that he would not rely on a prime minister to help make decisions anymore; from now on, he'd be the one calling the shots.
He was quick to gain power all throughout Europe through excessive amounts of money and a modernized army of more than 100,000 men. Louis used whatever means he could to gain territory, such as when he used his wife's inheritance to invade the Spanish Netherlands and claim it for France.
Louis was famous, or perhaps infamous in this case, for building the Palace of Versailles as a way to control the power of the nobles. He'd lure them to Versailles with the promise of high-sounding, yet meaningless, titles and kept them occupied with a life of entertainment.
Henry VIII, compared to Louis XIV, was an overall ruthless monarch who wasn't afraid to show off his greediness, abuse his absolute power, or influence others with his clever political strategies.
"Heartless Harry" vs. "Sun King"
Henry in Politics
As a youth, Henry gained many allies due to his boundless charisma and charm, but as he grew older, he began to morph into a bitter, suspicious old man who arrested and executed using the accusation of 'treason' as his just cause.
His many marriages were often political advantages as well, as some of his wives had strong political ties to other countries and therefore created strong ties between those nations.
Catherine of Aragon (1st) - Spain
Anne of Cleves (4th) - Netherlands
Louis in Politics
In Louis's case, he tended to make more enemies than allies. The English, Dutch, and Habsburgs all wanted him dead and gone for one reason or another.
His revoking of the Edict of Nantes drove France to its industrial decline. Many Huguenots worked in business and were artisans, so when they were driven out of France due to persecution, France lost a vital part of its industry.
Very few people liked him, and it's been said that as his body was carried to French kings basilica at Saint-Denis, his own people spat at him.
Abuse of Power
It was obvious right from the start that Henry cared little about the Catholics in England, and he often went against them in his actions. He closed down several Catholic monasteries to seize their wealth, and when he was not permitted to divorce his first wife by the Pope at the time, he split from the Catholic church entirely.
Louis may have thrown several grand parties with the money he collected through high taxes, but Henry's actions (separating from the Catholic Church, marrying and divorcing as if it was going out of style, etc) helped kick-start the rather strenuous relationship between the Catholics and Protestants of England, which led to a disastrous war that nearly tore Europe apart.
Though he didn't build any extravagant palace like Louis did, Henry's greed came in the form of the wives he took.
We all know the story: 'Divorce, beheaded, died, divorce, beheaded, survived'. But his greed went farther than just wanting a wife. He desperately wanted an heir to succeed him after he perished, and didn't care what it took.
Even while he was married to his first wife, he had several different mistresses at one point, and didn't care much for Catherine's opinions what so ever. To him, she was just the woman who would produce his next potential heir.
Henry's Rule (1509- 1547)
Henry's arrogance and terrible temper made him a reckless ruler who refused to let anyone speak against him, even in the slightest. He used his authority for his own gain on a daily basis, and it was his actions that began the rough relationships between the Catholics and Protestants in England. People feared his unpredictable rage, especially his allies, as they could be executed at any minute should they say the wrong thing.
Louis may have been the Sun King, but when push comes to shove, he was nothing compared to the fear-inducing, spiteful king known as Henry VII.