Free «The French Monarchy» UK Essay Paper
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Louis XIV, being a monarch of the Bourbons, ruled as King of France in the 1700s. Louis was the longest serving King in the history of Europe and France. According to literature, he ruled for accumulated 72 years. However, there are specific strategies that he employed to ensure he remained in power for all this time. For instance, he centralized power by scrapping the position of the chief minister. Essentially, he did not want anyone to have powers close to his as such people would challenge his rule at some point. This was intended to ensure that he ruled France as an absolute monarchy. It was an affirmation of his strong belief that his rule was a gift from God and that it could not be challenged by anyone. Thus, he did not consider it necessary to share power with other persons who were not equally chosen by God. This was the only rule that operated without representative institutions like Parliaments and Estates-Generals. In the history of France, these institutions formed the backbone of the monarch rule. For instance, the rulers would always call upon the leaders of these institutions to compare notes about the state of the nation. However, these never happened under the rule of Louis (Jones, p. 40).
Cardinal Mazarin - His influence on Louis XIV
Cardinal Mazarin laid the foundation for expansionism that was later adopted by Louis XIV. At the time Louis XIII died, his son Louis XIV was only a young boy who could not inherit the reins of power. As such, his mother Anne had to rule in place of her son until he became of age. It was during the rule of Anne that Mazarin flexed his muscles in the French leadership and established a wider base of power. For instance, he helped the widow expand the little power that her husband had left behind to become quite substantial. According to literature, Mazarin essentially worked as a co-ruler alongside Anne until he died in 1661. However, he managed to align the French policy along the wishes of the monarch. This was quite significant in establishing the system that Louis XIV would inherit. Thus, it can be safely said that Louis essentially inherited a system that was set up by Mazarin. Eventually, Mazarin’s expansionism policy helped Louis XIV to strengthen his monarchy in France. His rule became strong to the extent that it became too strong to challenge. That is why he was able to survive for the entire period that he ruled France (Lewis, p. 40).
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Colbert - his help and influence
Colbert ensured that Louis XIV remained popular among the masses and also had enough funds to maintain his rule. This came in the form of economic reforms that he initiated in France. According to literature, Colbert exposed to Louis how his tax collectors embezzled funds meant for the Kingdom. This enabled him to conceal these loopholes and eventually increase the level of revenue collection. Colbert eventually became the trusted ally of Louis as he unearthed some of the very serious threats to his leadership. For instance, he revealed to him that the postmaster of Paris had opened and read his letter to spy on him. While such a revelation would have blown out of proportion and threatened the very existence of the Kingdom, Colbert used his wisdom to suppress it. It is the reason Louis rewarded him with several appointments during his tenure. In 1665, Louis named Colbert his trusted choice for the minister of finance. Due to his immense experience in economic issues, Colbert greatly helped Louis’ government to strengthen the French economy. This was the only way to sustain the wars that France frequently engaged in during this period. However, the fact that France had weak economic laws allowed the King to spend lavishly without abandon. These later resulted in a weaker economy despite great efforts by Colbert to strengthen it. It goes without saying that things would have become much worse if Louis had not made Colbert his finance minister. It should be noted that his honesty and loyalty to the King ensured that Louis rule remained stable. Although Colbert had not been a supporter of Mazarin, he still performed well in defending Louis’ leadership. It should be noted that Colbert was proposed to Louis XIV by Mazarin in his sunset days. Nonetheless, his contribution to the strengthening of the monarchy cannot be underestimated (Le Roy Ladurie, p. 40).
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The Frondes - how it affected Louis XIV
The Frondes took place during the period between 1648 and 1653 in the mid of Franco-Spanish War. They were series of civil wars that saw destruction of property of persons perceived to support Cardinal Mazarin. In his leadership, Louis XIV employed some of the tactics that had been important during these wars to establish a strong monarchy. He reorganized the French forces and gave them strong leaders who reported directly to the King. As such, they had to perform and remain loyal to the King considering that they owed him their appointment. According to literature, he had absolute authority over the army and would appoint and fire army chiefs at will. This pressured the army chiefs to focus on nothing other than victory. In the end, France remained unchallenged by external forces that would have caused instability. It goes without saying that the resultant stability made it possible to strengthen the monarchy. This is especially so considering that the monarch gave all orders regarding security and made all appointments to this regard. It later became apparent that absolute monarchy would control France. It can be safely said that the Fronde caused the disempowerment of territorial aristocracy besides the establishment of an absolute monarchy (Beik, p. 13).
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According to literature, Louis considered himself the protector of religion in his time. He would make his devotions on a daily basis regardless of which part of the territory he was. It has been argued that his strong religious conviction made him establish a strong monarch during his tenure. He firmly believed that he was doing all these for the glory of God and that he had a duty to do it. Thus, he could not possibly disappoint as this would mean absconding God-given duty. It was observed that by the middle of his rule, Louis religious observances were essentially centered in the Chapelle Royale at Versailles. The entire kingdom appreciated his love for religion. At some point, it appeared as though religion would cause Louis’ kingdom to crumble. He had become very intolerant to several churches as he believed that they had to convert to Catholicism. However, most of these people were Protestants who were previously in catholic and would not have easily gone back. This left them with no option other than to defy the King. In fact, at some point he resorted to persecution of the masses to intimidate them into joining the Catholic Church. While this did not yield the intended impact as most people fled to North America, it instilled fear among the people to the extent that no one would raise a finger against the King. Yet still, his motives were not challenged because he essentially had a larger-than-life image. It should be noted that his strong religious affiliation caused fear among his subjects. Thus, no one had to the audacity to challenge his rule for the entire period. Meanwhile, this enabled him to establish a strong monarchy that would certainly stand the test of time. It goes without saying that religion played a critical role in the establishment of a strong monarch during Louis’ time (Lewis, p. 40).
Louis managed to contain competition from the rival families by ensuring that they kept fighting one another. It should be noted that they would form a significantly strong team if they faced Louis leadership as the common enemy. That is essentially the reason he played tactical by ensuring that they never got into good terms. This essentially made it possible for Louis to entrench his monarchy more strongly as there was no significant opposition to challenge his rule. In some instances, Louis tried to befriend a few that he could manage to convince and dump them when it was no longer necessary to keep them (Lewis, p. 40).
Superintendent - Nicolas Fouquet
The young King also used repression to achieve political milestones in his leadership. A typical example is that of Nicolas Fouquet who fell out of his favor early in his reign. According to literature, Nicolas was accused of extreme public display of wealth against the wishes of the King. This has been interpreted as an attempt to keep everyone lower than himself. By publicly displaying his riches, Nicolas would earn public perception of being better than the King or just richer than the King. This would imply that he could easily challenge his grip in power. Thus, the most prudent thing for him was to contain Nicolas. According to literature, he did this by arresting and imprisoning him till death. He would never come out in public again to challenge the King. In the end, Louis established a stronger grip of power in the Kingdom and dealt ruthlessly with anyone who dared to challenge his rule (Ashley, p. 40).
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In conclusion, Louis was the longest serving King in the history of Europe and France. According to literature, he ruled for accumulated 72 years. However, there are specific strategies that he employed to ensure he remained in power for all this time. For instance, he continued with the leadership skills and policies established by Cardinal Mazarin. This man had laid the foundation for expansionism that was later adopted by Louis XIV. At the time Louis XIII died, his son Louis XIV was only a young boy who could not inherit the reins of power. As such, his mother Anne had to rule in place of her son until he became of age. It was during the rule of Anne that Mazarin flexed his muscles in the French leadership and established a wider base of power. Besides, the inclusion of Colbert ensured that Louis XIV remained popular among the masses and also had enough funds to maintain his rule. This came in the form of economic reforms that he initiated in France. According to literature, Colbert exposed to Louis how his tax collectors embezzled funds meant for the Kingdom. This enabled him to conceal these loopholes and eventually increase the level of revenue collection. According to literature, Louis considered himself the protector of religion in his time. He would make his devotions on a daily basis regardless of which part of the territory he was. It has been argued that his strong religious conviction made him establish a strong monarch during his tenure.
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