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King Louis XIV: A Disastrous Ruler

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King Louis XIV: A Disastrous Ruler

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 childhood was traumatic because of “La Fronde” which was a noble rebellion against the monarchy. This experience taught King Louis XIV to distrust the nobles. It was for this reason that he eventually excluded nobility from the council and surrounded himself with loyal ministers whom he could control. He also separated the aristocracy from the people of France by moving the court to the Palace of Versailles. One of the most notable of King Louis XIV’s decisions was that he refused to appoint another Prime Minister after the death of Prime Minister Mazarin. Every decision, from the declaration of war to the approval of a passport, went through him personally. During his reign as king, France participated in several wars including the War of Devolution, in Anglo-Dutch War, and the War of the Spanish Succession. Another major action he took was the proclamation of the Edict of Fontainebleau, which revoked the Edict of Nantes, imposing religious uniformity through Catholi...

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...roblems and turned a great number of people against the monarchy. These events lead to the resentment that was another key factor in beginning the French Revolution. The end of King Louis XIV’s rule was especially disastrous. After the death of his advisor Colbert, King Louis XIV made even more horrible and costly decisions. He further enlarged the military and entered into many wars in which he lost a great deal of her newly acquired territories and increased the national debt even more.

In short, the reign of King Louis XIV had a disastrous impact on France. His liberal spending, appointing of easily controlled people to court, revoking the freedom of religion, and poor decision making sparked the economic burdens and resentment of the aristocracy that were major factors in the French Revolution and the eventual downfall of the French monarchy.
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