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The Legacy Of Louis Xiv Essay

1464 words - 6 pages

"L'état c'est moi," (I am the state). These were the words of the Sun King to the Parliament of Paris in 1655. He stated: there is no procedure, no judiciary or legislature, and no deliberations. He could write a letter and declare anyone he wanted to be arrested, for whatever reason. King Louis could decide to go to war. He could make laws and repeal them on a whim (Biography, Cranny pg.62). As a leader, Louis XIV used war to try and resolve problems. However, he did build the Palace of Versailles and help establish the western world’s first dance institution; both of which still draw tourists from around the world.
Louis XIV aimed at expanding French territory through the means of wars. He thought this was the best way to obtain glory. During his reign, the French army emerged as Europe’s dominant land force. He kept the military of five hundred thousand men, in combat-fielded armies of one hundred thousand (Meltzer pg. 67). Not all of the results from the wars brought difficulties to France. Some of the wars Louis XIV participated in led to France gaining land. In 1667 he launched the one year War of Devolution against the Spanish Netherlands; Louis claimed that the provinces of Spain should have gone to his Spanish wife rather than to her half-brother, Charles II (who had inherited the Spanish crown) (Sommerville, Steingard). This war brought Louis XIV and France some valuable boundary towns in Flanders. When Louis and the Dutch signed the Treaty of Nijmegen (1678- to end Dutch Wars) France gained more territory in Flanders, and the former Spanish Franche-Comte was added to France's eastern side (Steingard, Chebroux). At the height of his power, King Louis set up "courts of reunion", and he seized both the Alsatian city of Strasbourg and Casale, in northern Italy (Goyau). There was land gained from the wars but, Louis XIV’s greedy personality (combined with the impact of the wars) brought much more deficit to France than it did glory. The War of Spanish Succession (1702-1714) left France in debt and greatly weakened militarily. However, Louis had started this war to guarantee his grandson Philip V’s inheritance of Spain and its empire (Steingard). The many wars Louis was involved in also helped establish overseas colonies; at one point making France the most powerful country in Europe. The king also successfully disempowered the rebellious nobles, who had started eleven civil wars, by keeping them at the Palace of Versailles. Louis created a strong monarchy which lasted after his death, until the Revolution in 1789 (Chebroux). While in reign, he had managed to keep the Revolution at bay and protect his people. On his death bed, Louis XIV said to his grandson, “I have taken war far too lightly […]” (Biography).
The Palace of Versailles had a major role in depleting the economy of France during Louis XIV’s reign. However, he helped build up France’s current economy by constructing the Palace of Versailles. In our day, thousands of...

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