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The Reign of Louis XIV Absolute Rule in France. Louis XIV Comes to Power Louis took the throne at age 5 in the year 1643. - At the time, his mother, the.

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Presentation on theme: "The Reign of Louis XIV Absolute Rule in France. Louis XIV Comes to Power Louis took the throne at age 5 in the year 1643. - At the time, his mother, the."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Reign of Louis XIV Absolute Rule in France

2 Louis XIV Comes to Power Louis took the throne at age 5 in the year 1643. - At the time, his mother, the Queen Regent was side-lined and true power was in the hands of Cardinal Mazarin, the successor of Cardinal Richelieu. - Many groups in France dislike Mazarin’s rule because he increased taxes and strengthened the power of the central government (Absolutism) at the expense of the nobility’s power. - From 1648 – 1653, riots spurred by anti-Mazarin sentiments tear apart the kingdom. These riots were led by nobles and they would often use their rioting mobs to threaten the king. - Years of fighting, riots and disorder leave the peasants weary of troubled times. In this way, they are perfectly ready to accept the stable but iron rule of an absolute monarch. - Mazarin’s death in 1661 led Louis, now 23, to come into his own and truly rule his country.

3 “Up to this moment I have been pleased to entrust the government of my affairs to the late Cardinal. It is now time that I govern them myself. You [secretaries and ministers of state] will assist me with your counsels when I ask for them. I request and order you to seal no orders except by my command… I order you not to sign anything, not even a passport… without my command; to render account to me personally each day and to favour no one.” (Spielvogel, Western Civilization 456) Sounds Absolutist to me!!

4 Louis Takes Action to Weaken the Nobles His first step to limiting noble power was to exclude them from his decisions. Nobles had always acted as advisors to the decisions kings would make. Instead, he created government agents to collect taxes and administer justice. These were called intendents By doing this, he made it so that his nobles had to come to HIM to advance, gain riches and position.

5 A Day in the Life of Louis court/a-day-in-the-life-of-louis-xiv Key Ideas: Outside the curtains which surrounded his bed, 100 of the wealthiest and most powerful nobles of France would wait patiently, hoping they would be chosen to help Louis dress. Only four would be chosen to help. In the halls of the palace, lesser nobles would stand, hoping to be noticed by the King as he made his rounds throughout the palace. This situation increased royal power in two ways  1. The nobility becomes completely dependant on the King’s favour for advancement.  2. If not at home, the nobles couldn’t effectively run their realms, meaning the King’s agents throughout the country had nearly complete control.


7 At the center of this courtly culture was the palace at Versailles.






13 The Patronage of Art in the Court Louis was a patron of the arts and under his rule France experienced a century of brilliance in the arts and sciences.  Jean Racine – wrote tragedies based on Greek myths.  Molière – wrote comedies that made fun of French society, ex.The Miser.  Ballet becomes popular at court.  The French Academy is officially sponsored by Louis, making it a center of the arts and sciences.

14 The Strengthening of Royal Power  Louis spent “many” hours each day on governmental affairs.  He used Cardinal Richelieu’s (he’d been First Minister of Louis XIII, preceded Mazarin) policies as a guideline for how to run the state.  Centralization of power (eliminate noble’s holdfasts), oppose Habsburg dynasty (Spain and Austria/Germany)  He expands the bureaucracy and appointed his intendants to carry out government functions in the French provinces  Usually, governmental jobs were given to members of the middle class. (eg. wealthy merchants)  Louis also maintained a standing army of between 100,000 and 400,000 soldiers, making it the most powerful army in all of Europe.

15 Jean Baptiste Colbert and French Mercantilism Jean Baptiste Colbert was Louis’ finance minister.  Needed to offset the costs of Louis’ palaces, court, and wars He used mercantilist policies to make France the wealthiest state in Europe.  Mercantilism is the concept of using imported raw materials from colonies to supply cheap materials for domestic manufacturers.  Colbert encouraged the improvement in quality of French-made goods and the development of new industries (especially in luxury goods). He imposed high tariffs on imported goods from other nations. Trading influence could not truly compete with the British and Dutch however.

16 Colbert, Louis, and Taxes Large portion of the burden falls to the peasants in the form of taxes.  Tailles: This land tax affected the non-noble land owners of France (peasantry included) and fees were imposed based on the amount of land owned.  Gabelle: A tax on (predominantly) salt. Deemed excessive and unfair, only fully removed in the mid 20 th century. While Colbert’s economic reforms do not fix the underlying problem of France levying the heaviest taxes on those least able to pay, he did set the country up for true economic growth in the future.

17 Louis XIV’s Laws Code Noir  Holds slave owners (Roman Catholics in the colonies) accountable for their charges and takes steps towards improving the treatment of slaves in general (prevents separation, allows freeing, permits marriages). Code Louis  This refers to an amalgamation of previously fractured civil law practices throughout France and improves state record keeping for things like births, deaths and marriages (progress towards order, and the separation of the church from the state).

18 The Wars of Louis XIV Louis ruled France for 72 years and in that time developed a desire for expansion, looking to broaden the reach of the French Empire. He was encouraged by early success, and attempted to conquer other regions of Europe to expand his borders. 4 wars between 1667 and 1713 -Other nations of Europe join forces to oppose his attempts. (Eg. Triple Alliance of Dutch, England, Spain to oppose his incursion into Spanish Netherlands in 1667) - They felt that maintaining a balance of power was critical to European peace.

19 ** The War of Spanish Succession What? - Louis’ grandson, Philip V, was going to inherit the throne of Spain (left to him by Charles II). Many other nations of Europe refused to allow the two nations to join as one. A long and costly war was fought from 1700 to 1713. In the end, it was decided that Philip V could remain King of Spain, but France would never be allowed to unite the two crowns into one nation.

20 The Sun sets on France Louis’ costly mistakes  Expensive wars drained the French treasury (same thing as Philip II in Spain)  Revoked the Edict of Nantes (1598, had given Protestants rights in largely Catholic France, civil unity), causing 100,000 Huguenots to flee France. The Huguenots were some of the most hard working French. Costly to the nation, like the war with Spain. Louis XIV and his Legacy  Outlives his sons and grandsons.  Leaves his 5 year old great-grandson on the throne when he died.  Quickly, the power of France began to fade under bad harvests and heavy taxes.  Louis XV was too weak to deal with these problems.

21 “Soon you will be King of a great kingdom. I urge you not to forget your duty to God; remember that you owe everything to Him. Try to remain at peace with your neighbours. I loved war too much. Do not follow me in that or in overspending. Take advice in everything; try to find the best course and follow it. Lighten your peoples burden as soon as possible and do what I have had the misfortune to not do myself.” -Louis XIV, 1715

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