King Louis XIV of France once boasted, "I am the state!" how true that was considering he was the absolute ruler of France for 72 years. As a child Louis lived through the Fronde a series of violent uprisings in France. When he became king he knew he could never allow that to happen. Louis believed that the best way to stop the social uprisings in France was a strong monarchy.
Louis worked hard to strengthen the French state. He continued the practice of choosing advisers from the middle class, not the nobility. This way the nobles could not challenge the king's authority. Louis also elected Jean-Baptiste Colbert economic and financial minister; Colbert introduced policies to help stimulate trade. Louis also appointed Francois Michel Le Tellier minister of war.
Francois helped make the French army the best in Europe. The King also saw the protestant Huguenots as a threat to his throne. Many Huguenots were leaders in the army and some were wealthy merchants. In some parts of the country they controlled trade. The king demanded that the Huguenots to convert to Catholicism to prove their loyalty to the king. When they refused, Louis repealed the Edict of Nantes, which meant the Huguenots couldn't practice their religion.
Many Huguenots responded by leaving the country. France lost many talented workers because of this. The King wanted to expand the glory of France. Many countries therefore, allied against France. When Charles II of Spain died; he left his kingdom to Louis's grandson Phillip of Anjou. Louis accepted the provisions of the will.
Many countries were fearful of a united Spain and France so they waged a 12-year war against France and Spain. Peace was restored when England, and the Netherlands recognized Phillip as king of Spain as long as France and Spain were never united under one crown. This long war of Spanish Succession emptied the French treasury. France enjoyed one of their best cultural periods under King Louis XIV. The palace he built at Versailles was beautiful.
However the palace cost a lot of money, as did the war of Spanish Succession. Louis XIV Left the French treasury nearly empty. King Louis was a passionate ruler but because he spent so much money showing France's wealth he left the country in economic ruin.