Assess The Reign of Louis XIV

Essay by daniel_510High School, 11th gradeB+, February 2007

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The long reign of King Louis XIV had a potent impact on France and Europe. During his reign it was clear that France was the most influential country in Europe and the economy thrived. Even though his absolutist reign made France one of the most dominant countries in Europe, he made a few dreadful decisions that in the long run had an unprecedented effect to France. Despite the fact that Louis XIV made France prosper economically and culturally, his own hazardous military and religious decisions like the expulsion of the Huguenots, left France in total financial pandemonium after his death.

France was the cultural center of Europe during the reign of Louis XIV. French became the language of polite society and replaced Latin as the language of diplomacy and scholarship. The French style of classicism and fashion were the models for all of Europe. Louis, who was referred as the sun king, because like the sun he was the center of all power, influenced the architectural style of Europe with his 100 million dollar palace at Versailles.

The expensive palace helped was done in baroque style, which was popularized and spread even more after its construction. This palace also served as a fundamental tool of state policy throughout his reign because through it he was able to control the nobles, who were forced to live in his opulent palace.

Even though the French treasury was close to bankruptcy when Louis XIV assumed power things changed dramatically and France flourished economically during his 72-year reign. Much of the success is owed to Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Louis's financial minister who applied mercantilism rigorously to France and revived France's trade and economy. His goal was to make France self sufficient by centralizing the economy through government control of trade and industry. He promoted...