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France of the 17th Century and the Figure of Louis XIV Essay

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Updated: Sep 15th, 2021

Discuss the ways in which Louis XIV’s personal rule influenced art and architecture all over Europe

Louis XIV believed that the worship of the Sun King required a vast temple to assemble all officials and the faithful. His influence over art and architecture spread all over Europe. He built a temple as a supreme expression of the absolute monarch. His constructions became the most impressive accomplishments of the art, integrating painting, architecture, furniture, and sculpture. Louis XIV invested enormous funds into construction because he believed that the residences of royal and noble families have to reflect wealth and power. Rebuilding, expansion, and beautification of the royal palaces and temples went on year after year.

Marly, his summer residence, was surrounded by fountains and greenery. Louis XIV was blamed for excessive construction because the costs consumed 5% of the annual budget. However, the temples and palaces built by Louis XIV gave a powerful spur to the arts in France as well as in Europe.

Summarize the methods Colbert used to increase the king’s wealth. Discuss their effects both in the short term and at the end of Louis XIV’s long reign

Colbert was recommended to the king by Mazarin. The first service of Colbert was to make the king aware of the corruption of the Superintendent of Finances. Colbert was named Controller General of Finances. Colbert had a passion for work, a clear mind, and an absolute dedication to the king and France. He was the one to introduce rigorous accounting methods that permitted income and expenses to be traced month by month and introduced the annual budget.

The special chamber was established to prosecute financiers who enriched themselves dishonestly. He reduced the income tax and weighted indirect taxes on everyone. After the death of Colbert, the budget deficits reappeared. As the result, the king increased existing taxes and added two new. New methods to raise money were introduced: loans, lotteries, the sale of new officers, and currency manipulation. These were the effects of Colbert’s theory.

Although an orthodox Catholic, Louis XIV was often in conflict with the Papacy. Explain

Customs permitted the king to fill vacant offices in the diocese until the new bishop was appointed (regalian rights). However, these rights were not applied to sixty dioceses and the king decided to put an end to this exemption. With the support of the nobility, the king asked the clergy to back the rights against the church claims.

The assembly resulted in four rules: the kings are not subjects to ecclesiastical authority, the pope’s authority in spiritual matters cannot annul the universal councils, the regalian rights remain inviolable, and the pope’s judgment is faith matters becomes reversible. These rules laid the foundation of the conflict between the king and the pope. The king has limited the power and authority to faith matters only and the pope was not willing to lose his power over the political and economic affairs of France.

As the defender of Catholicism, Louis XIV attacked what he saw as heresy. Outline the measures he took and discuss their results

Louis XIV brutally dispersed the nuns and toe-down their buildings. Moreover, he secured a new papal condemnation and imprisoned those who refused to subscribe to Jansenist doctrine. The existence of groups whose religion differed from the rulers was eliminated. He forbade dissenters from anything that was not stated in the Edict of Nantes. He established a Conversion Fund in 1676 and provided cash to encourage recantations. Those who held to Supposedly Reformed Religion were excluded from all public offices and possessions such as medicine and law. He signed the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, forbade public worship, demolished all houses of worship, and drove pastors from the kingdom. The ordinary faithful were forbidden to leave France.

What advancements in military organization, engineering, and tactics developed in this period? Discuss the ways in which these changes pointed toward a modern army

Louis considered the army as a principal instrument of foreign policy. First, the army was increased in size: 125,000 infantrymen and 47,000 cavalrymen. Louvois organized a compulsory service and each parish had to provide a certain number of militiamen aged between twenty and forty. Second, the new ranks of major and lieutenant colonel were created. These ranks could not be purchased and poor officers could rise to the higher ranks.

Orders and maneuvers were standardized and each soldier had to wear a uniform of his regiment. Soldiers were paid a regular wage and were provided with transportation services. Old and poor soldiers are offered comfortable retirement homes. Third, the reform was aimed at specialization. Finally, armament was improved and a lighter flintlock was provided. The above reforms made the army of France powerful and significantly contributed to the strengthening of the political and economic situation in the country.

Summarize the main events of the War of the Spanish Succession and discuss the results for France

The aim of Louis XIV was to secure the desired results for France without having to undertake another war. The king reserved only the Spanish possessions in Italy. On November 1, 1700, the king provided that the sole heir would be Philip on the condition that the crowns of Spain and France would never unite. The Grant Alliance of England, Holland, and the Empire was concluded in September 1701.

The War of Spanish Succession forced France to protect its boundaries and the vast territory owned by Spain. The French took the offensive in Germany and Italy and won several victories. However, in 1704 and 1709 the main army in Germany was destroyed. The spreading famine and severe winter in 1709 forced Louis XIV to resign and sue for peace. The English favored peace and the talks between French and English diplomats resulted in a peace agreement. The results of the war for France were rather negative: France has lost its position as a superpower in Europe.

Discuss the role played by England in the military and diplomatic campaigns of the reign of Louis XIV

England played an important role in the military and diplomatic campaigns of the reign of Louis XIV. If the English did not accept an offer for peace, France would be totally destroyed. According to the Policy of Magnificence, the king demanded and obtained agreements that French ambassadors would take precedence over Spanish ambassadors. He also forced England to agree that the British ships would fire the first salutes. Therefore, England assumed responsibility for starting the war and left a weak France to defend itself. If France was the first to start the war, it would be defeated. England was much stronger than France and without the assistance of the British, the French would not be able to defend their country and preserve the national boundaries.

Briefly describe the state of the kingdom inherited by Louis XV in 1715

The kingdom inherited by Louis XV in 1715 was poor, financially distressed, loaded with heavy taxes, and ruined export industries. All of Europe experienced an economic slowdown and France suffered from severe food shortages. Famine and epidemics aroused the critical spirit of the population and the basis of absolute monarchy was attacked. Within few months, a smallpox epidemic carried off many of the noble and royal representatives.

Louis XV inherited a country with was weak, was economically undeveloped, lacks stable foreign relations, and had no power in Europe. Moreover, the lower and middle classes were highly dissatisfied with the government and the social unrest undermined the success of all policies.

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