Louis Xiv, The Sun King

This essay has a total of 1048 words and 4 pages.

Louis Xiv, The Sun King

Louis XIV was only four years old when he succeeded his father to the French throne. Often
uncared for, he nearly drowned because no one was watching him as he played near a pond.
This began to shape in his young mind an early fear of God.Louis' character was also
shaped by the French Civil War. In this, the Paris Parlement rose against the crown. For
five years, Louis would suffer fear, cold, hunger and other spirit-breaking events. He
would never forgive Paris, the nobles, or the common people.Finally, in 1653, Cardinal
Jules Mazarin was able to end the rebellion. He began to instruct Louis on his position as
king. Even though Louis XIV was now of age, the Cardinal remained the dominant authority
in French politics.French kings gained respect as a soldier; Louis served with the French
army during France's war with Spain. His biggest battle, however, was sacrificing his love
for Mazarin's niece for politics. In 1660 he married the daughter of the king of Spain to
bring peace between the two countries.Mazarin died March 9, 1661. On March 10, Louis
claimed supreme authority in France. Not since Henry IV had such a claim been made. Louis
saw himself as God's representative on earth, therefore, infallible. He oversaw
roadbuilding, court decorum, defense, and disputes within the church.He had the support
initially of his ministers, then that of the French people. He had given France the image
it desired-youth and vitality surrounded by magnificence. Louis won the favor of the
nobles by making it evident that their future depended on their ability stay on his good
side. This weakened the nobility, and would eventually weaken France.Louis had among his
supportors a wide spectrum of individuals. Writers such as Moliere were ordered to glorify
him. Monuments rose throughout the country and Louis had palaces built in his honor. The
most elaborate was Versailles, located outside Paris. Away from disease, Versailles also
isolated the king from his people. The aristocracy became mysterious.France was also
undergoing an economic revolution. Exports were increased, and a navy, merchant marine,
and police association emerged. Roads, ports and canals were being built. He invaded the
Spanish Nederlands in 1667. The restarted war between France and Spain would be on again,
off again for the remainder of Louis' reign.In 1668, the French army retreated under
pressure from Dutch and English forces. Louis swore to defeat the Dutch and ruin their
Protestant mercantile republic. He allied himself with his cousin, Charles II of England,
and invaded the Netherlands in 1672. Louis was victorious when the Treaty of Mijmegen was
signed in 1678. When the Dutch were defeated, he had also defeated its allies, Spain and
the Holy Roman Empire. France's borders had expanded to the north and the east. His navy
had become as as large as that of England and Holland.His private life was not as
fortunate. Friends had been implicated in the Affair of the Poisons, where eminent people
had been accused of sorcery and murder. Louis ordered his court to become discrete. The
seat of Government was transferred to Versailles in 1682. When the Queen died, he married
her Mme de Maintenon, who had been governess to the King's children.Louis did not
understand the reformation, and he viewed French Protestants as threats to the throne. He
revoked the Edict of Nantes, which had granted them freedom of worship. Many left France,
those that remained were persecuted.England, the Dutch, and the Holy Roman Empire united
in 1688 in the Grand Alliance to stop French expansion. This war ended in 1697 with the
signing of the Treaty of Rijswijk. France lost part of its territory, and Louis lost
public support. He was forced to recognize William of Orange as king of England. This went
Continues for 2 more pages >>