Sara Schneider Mr. CurwenLouis XIV In the seventeenth century there were different types of leaders in Europe. The classic monarchial rule was giving way to absolutist rule. Absolute kings claimed to be ruling directly from God, therefore having divine rule that could not be interfered with. In 1643 Louis XIV began his reign over France as an absolute king.
When Louis the XIV began his rule in 1643, his actions immediately began to suggest and absolute dictatorship. Because of the misery he had previously suffered, one of the first things he did was to decrease the power of the nobility. He withdrew himself from the rich upper class, doing everything secretly. The wealth had no connection to Louis, and therefore all power they previously had was gone.
He had complete control over the nobles, spying, going through mail, and a secret police force made sure that Louis had absolute power. Louis appointed all of his officials, middle class men who served him without wanting any power. Louis wanted it clear that none of his power would be shared. He wanted 'people to know by the rank of the men who served him that he had no intention of sharing power with them.' If Louis XIV appointed advisors from the upper classes, they would expect to gain power, and Louis was not willing to give it to them.
The way Louis XIV ruled, the sole powerful leader, made him an absolute ruler. He had divine rule, and did not want to give any power to anyone other than himself. These beliefs made him an absolute ruler. Louis XIV controlled France's economy. He began to heavily tax to support the military reforms. Louis agreed not to tax the nobility, therefore taking away the right for the upper class to have a say in where the taxation money was spent.
This gave more and more power to the king. He could spend the money that he was getting from the poor and middle class in any way he pleased without upsetting the nobility. Unfortunately for Louis, the poor could not provide the money he needed. Soon, with the help of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Louis introduced mercantilism in Europe. He regulated the flow of trade, making sure that France was exporting more than it was importing. To accomplish this, he raised the taxes on imports and lowered those on goods made in France.
He encouraged skilled workers and craftsmen to immigrate to France, offering them goods and privileges. Soon, France's economy began to rapidly improve. Louis XIV now controlled France's economy. The balance and wealth in France was in his hands. He held all the power, and liked it that way. This prosperity was an advance in his absolute control over France.
Louis XIV also took the initiative to build a massive army. He pulled people from the streets and by lottery, turning what in 1635 was a 25, 000 men army into a 250, 000 strong military by 1659. He had training for the military, increasing the cost for tax payers and building an army that would function as a 'well-oiled machine.' Louis took direct control of the army, appointing all of the officials, from the marshals of France down to the colonels. This gave him absolute power over the army, which was strong enough to dominate the continent. Louis's power was growing with the increase in economy and the commanding army. In 1685 Louis revoked the Edict of Nantes in an attempt to gain power and control.
Established by his grandfather, the Edict of Nantes granted religious freedom to the Huguenots. When he abolished the edict, he set new laws calling for the destruction of churches, closing of schools, catholic Baptism for Huguenots, and exile for those who would not convert. Louis XIV's thoughts were that of 'one king, one law, one faith.' This was an attempt to make all of France believe the same way that Louis believed, granting him even more power seeing as he ruled divinely, directly from God. If everyone believed in the same God, and this God was giving orders to Louis XIV, then Louis would have that much more power, and his subjects would have more faith in him. Louis XIV was looking for any way to increase the power in his absolute rule. Louis XIV lead France as an absolute ruler.
His long and mostly successful reign lead to the increase of absolutism elsewhere. The success in the balance of trade in France lead to increased economy as other countries began to improve with France's ideas. Rulers began to change their views and governments began to change. It was a new time with new leadership and new beliefs for Europe.