Louis XIV, ruler of France for 72 years, is known for stabilizing France and making the country a strong European power. However, many of his projects were costly and caused economic problems for the nation. His personal lavish luxuries also were a financial burden to France. By the end of his reign, nearly all of the land he had acquired through warfare had to be returned, thus wasting enormous sums of French money.
King Louis XIV reigned in France from 1643-1715. For 54 of these years, he reigned without the help of an official Prime Minister. Therefore, he personally controlled the French government. This created an absolute monarchy that became a model for much of Europe. Louis’ involvement in the War of Devolution with Spain, the Dutch War, the War of Palatinate and the War of the Spanish Succession had a vast impact on France. By 1677, Louis had expanded the French navy from a fleet of 20 ships to 270 ships. During his reign, the arts flourished and French culture blossomed. Along with this came the construction of the exquisite, extravagant Versailles palace. Louis’ policy on religion produced the Edict of Fontainebleau, which revoked the former Edict on Nantes. These policies and events had both positive and negative effects on life in France during the 17th Century.
It could be argued that during his reign, Louis XIV established France as a dominant European power by expanding the French borders and advancing the arts. History shows that during his reign, France achieved a new dominant power throughout Europe. Through his careful, deliberate planning, France acquired much new land. France stunned Europe when Louis invaded the Spanis...
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... engaged France in numerous battles and because many of his greatest marshals were now dead, France began to lose many of the lands it had acquired earlier in his reign. By 1697, France had to return Lorraine, Flanders, Luxembourg and the area around the Rhine River. Louis continued to lose battle after battle, and these defeats hurt the economy of France. The cost of these defeats became a huge financial burden on the country. The public debt increased, and taxes were raised.
In short, Louis XIV should not be referred to as a glorious ruler. His projects were costly and were often fruitless. After his closest advisors died, he seemed incapable of making good decisions anymore. His personal luxuries, and his desire to be looked upon as a godlike figure, caused economic problems and a severe national debt that took France centuries to overcome.
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