France Under The Reign Of Louis Xiv.

1319 words - 5 pages

The time of Louis XIV was a very strong period of history for France. Many people will say that France was made a better country during this time. Many will argue that nothing was done for France during this time. During the reign of Louis XIV France experienced multiple extremes at the same time. France was brought to glory by its wars and art galleries and the Palace of Versailles, but at the same time all of these things took its toll on the highly taxed poor as they tried to support the bankrupt country. His government was nothing more than a cast of actors in the play of Louis' beliefs. The fact of the matter is this; although the result in the long term may have been a betterment of France, the only reason anything was done, was to stroke and coddle Louis XIV's massive ego.One of Louis' greatest endeavours was the constant strengthening and reinforcing of his absolute power, which in turn fed his massive ego. By emphasizing his absolute power Louis was able to do anything that he pleased. In his palace of Versailles, Louis reigned over the aristocrats, who all competed for the great honours of being able to pass the king his shirt, or bow before his food as it passed down the hallway. The whole palace and the fact that these people worshipped the king, did no good for the country of France, it was all at their expense. It was all great for one thing though, the ego of the king. Louis was so busy being swept off his feet by all the attention he got that he simply forgot to care about the state of his countries finances. As long as Louis and his band of aristocrats were able to live in the lap of luxury who cared what went on in the rest of the country, for Louis could justify his palace and its costs simply because he was the absolute ruler and what he said went. Anyone close enough to speak to him quickly found out what his greatest weakness was: flattery. Even the coarsest adulations were able to woo the king with ease. The rules and regulations of Versailles were all meant to belittle the aristocrats. Even the smallest everyday tasks such as knocking at a door were made to be different in Versailles. Louis wanted the aristocracy not to knock vulgarly on a door but to "scratch it with the little finger of the left hand, growing the finger nail long for that purpose." There was no real purpose for this change in tradition; it was nothing more than a ruse that misled the aristocracy to believe there presence in Versailles had meaning. The truth is the aristocracy were too busy worshipping Louis, which was exactly what he wanted, to see that the real reason they were there was so Louis could keep tabs on them and ensure that the people who held power before Louis' time were not plotting against him.Some might argue that Louis did many things for France. Yes he built schools, roads, hospitals, art galleries, created police forces and improved cities, but it can also be argued that all of these things were done simply for himself. Since Louis...

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