The Reign of Louis XIV

Describe the reign of Louis XIV and the power struggles in Europe.

Louis XIV Legacy

Louis XIV placed France in a dominant position in Europe. Even with several great alliances opposing him, he continued to increase French territory. For his vigorous promotion of French national greatness, Louis XIV became known as the “Sun King”. He was compared by Voltaire to Caesar Augustus called his reign an “eternally memorable age”. Because of him, France ranked above all other European nations in art, literature, and statesmanship. France was also considered the military leader of Europe. Many believed that this military success might have allowed France to develop a strong empire of colonies. But on the negative side, constant warfare and the construction of the Palace of Versailles submerged France into shocking debt. Also, the resentment over the tax burden imposed on the poor and Louis’s abuse of power would curse future heirs and eventually cause a revolution.
Erialbania Lopez

Louis XIV comes to power

Louis XIV became king when he was just four years old. Because of his age Richelieu’s successor, Cardinal Mazarin took over. He was not the most popular along the people, he rose taxes and strengthened the central government. After many rebellions form the noble ones Mazarin died in 1661, Louis XIV being 22 years had the power now. Louis acted similarly to Mazarin in terms of increasing the power of the government and putting the nobles a side. He spent most of his time helping France attain economic, political, and cultural growth. Through this progress he received assistance from Jean Baptiste Colbert. After his death Louis applied a policy that slowed France’s economic progress.

Although he lacked assistance he made France the most powerful country in Europe. Louis invaded Netherlands, which he won and gained 12 towns. Things later got a bit cloudy for the people of France after England allied with the League of Augsburg (Austrian Hapsburg emperor, the kings of Sweden and Spain, and the leaders of several smaller European states. After a long time of warfare French people longed for peace, but from this just came another war. After Charles II death there were some issues for the crown and so the war of the Spanish succession occurred. Great Britain rose as the winner. All these struggles weakened Louis XIV as well as France did. He died in 1715 leaving a mixed legacy to his country. France ranked above all other European nations in art, literature, and statesmanship during Louis’s reign. It was also considered the military leader of Europe.
Gabriela Jimenez

Louis XIV of France was an extraordinary man and a great example of divine right who ruled for about 72 years. During his long reign France stabilized and hardened into one of the strongest and most imposing powers of Europe at the time. France, along with being politically successful, was also successful in having the most popular culture in Europe of the time for Louis was quite fashionable and did all he could to enhance the beauty of France. Louis was the ideal king of his time and the reason he was so successful in efficiently ruling France mid-reign was because he never doubted his right to rule and didn't let anyone else either.
Genesis A. Landestoy

Louis XIV thought of himself as part of the state, trying to make everything better during his reign. He started by the power off the nobility and being a patron of the arts. His failure came when he abused the money the state owned in wars. He really didn’t begin his reign when he became king, because, come on, he was just a boy when his dad died and left him the throne. The true ruler was Cardinal Mazarin who raised taxes and strengthened the central government. Since this was obviously bad for them, they made riots (the nobility) against Mazarin. When Mazarin died, Louis XIV took power. He began by taking power from the nobility by taking them off his councils, and granting their power to intendants that were in charge of the taxes. He, just in case, communicated with them regularly. His minister of finance, Jean Baptiste Colbert helped him in what the country produced and exchanged, he believing in the theory of mercantilism.

Versailles, Louis’s palace, was a center of the arts. Ballet and Opera were made more popular. He made art a way to honor the king. As I said before Louis’s only drawback was the fact that when he attacked the Spanish Netherlands he acquired so much by doing so little, he just wanted more. In the War of the Spanish Succession, though, he lost a lot, ranging from people to money.

-Gaby H.(:


by ely


Louis XIV, France's Sun King, had the longest reign in European history (1643-1715).
The early personal reign of Louis was highly successful in both internal and foreign affairs. At home the parlements lost their traditional power to obstruct legislation; the judicial structure was reformed by the codes of civil procedure (1667) and criminal procedure (1669), although the overlapping and confusing laws were left untouched. Urban law enforcement was improved by creation (1667) of the office of lieutenant general of police for Paris, later imitated in other towns. Under Colbert commerce, industry, and overseas colonies were developed by state subsidies, tight control over standards of quality, and high protective tariffs.Colbert and the king shared the idea of glorifying the monarch and monarchy through the arts. Louis was a discriminating patron of the great literary and artistic figures of France's classical age, including Jean Baptiste Moliere, Charles Le Brun, Louis Le Vau, Jules Mansart, and Jean Baptiste Lully. His state established or developed in rapid succession academies for painting and sculpture.In foreign affairs, the young Louis XIV launched the War of Devolution (1667-68) against the Spanish Netherlands, claiming that those provinces had "devolved" by succession to his Spanish wife rather than to her half brother Charles II, who had inherited the Spanish crown. The war brought him some valuable frontier towns in Flanders. Louis turned next against the United Provinces of the Netherlands in the third Anglo-Dutch War (1672-78). The intent this time was to take revenge against Dutch intervention in the previous war and to break Dutch trade. By the Peace of Nijmegen (1678-79) he gained more territory in Flanders, and the formerly Spanish Franche-Comte was added to France's eastern frontier, now fortified by the great siege expert, Sebastien Le Prestre de Vauban. Now at the height of his power, the king set up "courts of reunion" to provide legal pretexts for the annexation of a series of towns along the Franco-German border. More blatantly, he seized both the Alsatian city of Strasbourg and Casale, in northern Italy, in 1681.

Period of Decline

The turning point in Louis's reign between the earlier grandeur and the later disasters came after Colbert's death (1683). In 1685 the king took the disastrous step of revoking the Protestant (Huguenot) minority's right to worship by his Edict of Fontainebleau, often called the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Many Huguenotswho constituted an industrious segment of French societyleft the country, taking with them considerable capital as well as skills. In addition Louis's display of religious intolerance helped unite the Protestant powers of Europe against the Sun King.
Louis settled down to a more sedate life with Madame de Maintenon, whom he secretly married about 1683. She shared with Louis the grief of lost battles and the successive deaths of all but two of his direct descendants. The two who survived him were his grandson Philip V of Spain and a great-grandson who became Louis XV when the Sun King died on Sept. 1, 1715.


Louis XIV's Legacy

The last three decades of Louis's reign were marked by almost constant warfare. France was now the dominant power on the continent and other European nations felt threatened by this supremacy. The War of the League of Augsburg (1688-1697), followed by the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714) severely strained French resources. In the War of the Spanish Succession, for the first time in nearly a century France consistently lost battles, most notably at Blenheim in 1704 and Ramillies in 1706. Louis XIV died on 1 September 1715, shortly after the Peace of Utrecht which ended the War of the Spanish Succession. As his eldest son and grandson had died before him, his great-grandson succeeded him as Louis XV.

Louis XIV's accomplishments were of many, although he was considered an utterly spoiled king, for he thought of himself as "the law". Although he established absolute monarchy and come close to his goal of religious homogeneousness in France, it came at a cost. His ambitions threw France in debt and a public unrest that would serve as a prologue to the French Revolution.

Lily S.

Reign of Louis XIV and Absolutism

Absolute monarchy or absolutism meant that the sovereign power or ultimate authority in the state rested in the hands of a king who claimed to rule by divine right. But what did sovereignty mean? Late sixteenth century political theorists believed that sovereign power consisted of the authority to make laws, tax, administer justice, control the state's administrative system, and determine foreign policy. These powers made a ruler sovereign.

One of the chief theorists of divine-right monarchy in the seventeenth century was the French theologian and court preacher Bishop Jacques Bossuet (1627-1704), who expressed his ideas in a book entitled Politics Drawn from the Very Words of Holy Scripture. Bossuet argued first that govemment was divinely ordained so that humans could live in an organized society. Of all forms of gov ernment, monarchy, he averred, was the most general, most ancient, most natural, and the best, since God established kings and through them reigned over all the peoples of the world. Since kings received their power from God, their authority was absolute. They were re sponsible to no one (including parliaments) except God. Nevertheless, Bossuet cautioned, although a king's au thority was absolute, his power was not since he was limited by the law of God. Bossuet believed there was a difference between absolute monarchy and arbitrary monarchy. The latter contradicted the rule of law and the sanctity of property and was simply lawless tyranny. Bossuet's distinction between absolute and arbitrary gov emment was not always easy to maintain. There was also a large gulf between the theory of absolutism as ex pressed by Bossuet and the practice of absolutism. As we shall see in our survey of seventeenth-century states, a monarch's absolute power was often very limited by practical realities.
-Kenny R. Gomez

Louis XIV weakened the power of the nobles by excluding them from his councils. In contrast, he increased the power of the government agents. To keep power under central control, he made sure tht local officials communicated regularly with him. He devoted himself to help France maintain economic, political, and cultural brilliance. His minister Jean Baptise Colbert helped him with his vision. To expand manufacturing, Colbert gave government funds and tax benefits to French Companies. To protect their industries, he placed a high tariff on goods from other countries. After Louis XIV died constant warfare and the construction of the Palace of Versailles plunged France into staggering debt. Also, resentment over the tax burden imposed on the poor and Louis’s abuse of power would plague his heirs and eventually would lead to revolution.

Jonathan Vargas

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