The Great King Of Success Or The Great King Of Failure?

913 words - 4 pages

It is often debated whether or not the reign of King Louis XIV had a positive or negative effect on France. Although there were improvements during his reign in transportation, culture, and national defense, there were far more negative aspects. He depleted the national treasury with his liberal spending on personal luxuries and massive monuments. His extreme fear of the loss of power led to poor decision making, which caused the court to be of lower quality. King Louis XIV’s disastrous rule brought about a series of effects that influenced the French Revolution in the following century.

King Louis XIV's 72 year reign was incredibly influential in shaping French history. King Louis XIV’s ...view middle of the document...

He also built many massive palaces and monuments. These often showcased architecture and French goods of the time. The most elaborate palace built was the Palace of Versailles. Culture also seemed to grow during this period. Molière, Racine, Lully, La Fontaine, and Le Brun were all compensated with state pensions. France’s national defenses grew to rival those of England and Holland in size with the addition of a merchant marine, a police association and a navy. It could also be said that France acquired many new lands due to King Louis XIV’s decisions. In the War of Devolution against the Spanish Netherlands and in the later Anglo-Dutch War France acquired territory in Flanders. Later wars led to other territorial gains, one of which included Luxembourg.

Still, the negative aspects of France’s rule under King Louis XIV far outweigh the positive ones. His reign can best be described by the statement “L’etat, c’est moi,” (I am the state) that is attributed to him. King Louis XIV spent state money to pay for his own luxuries and monuments that glorified his image. It was also customary for the artists King Louis XIV sponsored to include direct or indirect allusions to him in their productions thus creating a god-like image of him. The Palace of Versailles alone used 5% of France’s income. This liberal spending caused a national debt, which was one of the main causes of the French Revolution. Another of King Louis XIV’s faults was his fear of a repeat of “La Fronde” which led him to make many decisions that caused the quality of his court to lower. First of all, King Louis XIV excluded nobility from the power structure and surrounded himself with ministers that he could control. He also...

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