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How Successful Was The Reign Of Louis Xviii

993 words - 4 pages

Louis XVII came to the throne in 1814 as the rightful heir. After the defeat of Napoleon there were two possible branches of the Bourbon family. The elder branch, which was Louis XVIII (brother to guillotined Louis XVII) and the younger branch, which was Louis Phillippe, duc d'Orleons. It was left to the allies to choose who should rule, and they did not want France to be a republic. However Europe could no establish who should be the new ruler of France. They therefore decided to let France choose for herself. This was just a way of covering up the fact that they couldn't choose a ruler themselves. However there was no intention of consulting the people of France through any system of voting. Talleyrand, once Napoleon's legal servant, was in favour of the Bourbon's returning. It was therefore him who convinced the allies that there was widespread support in France for the restoration of the Bourbons, and when Wellington entered Bordeaux to be met by crowds of people shouting "vive le roi" (long live the king) it convinced the allies that the restoration was stood a good chance of success. Therefore in April 1814 Louis XVIII returned as king.Louis XVIII, at the time he came to the throne, was aged fifty-nine years old. He was over weight and walked with difficulty. His personality was dull and uninspiring. He was known to be a firm believer in the divine right of kings. His character was such that he lacked charm and the truth was, that he was wanted for what he stood for, rather than what we really was.When Louis XVIII came to power, the economy was strong, and this was therefore good and positive for his reign. Louis XVIII did not squander the advantages he possessed. By supporting capable ministers, especially his favourite, Elie Decazes, he ensured the governments finance was on a firm footing. With the war fees paid off by 1818 & foreign troops withdrawn, the country was able to settle down after the costly glory of Napoleonic era. In fact under Louis XVIII an effective system for controlling government spending was developed that was to last with out any major adjustment for more than a hundred years.The allies feared because they thought French people grown use to national glory would soon get bored of a dull monarchy. They need not to worry. It seems that although most French people were pleased to bask in the glory, they did not immediately miss the pleasure when it was no longer available.Louis XVIII's greatest success was managing to convince the pays legal that he intended to make the charter if 1814 a working reality. He did this by restraining those supporters who wanted to undermine the charter, or even do away with it altogether. Also by communicating a general belief that in it as providing the basis for political life in France in the future.These Ultra-Royalist, known as the Ultras, were even more Royalist...

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