Rulers Before King Louis XIV essay example

589 words
"Louis XIV of France was the most powerful ruler of his time", (sherman 7). He gained possession of the throne as a mere boy in 1643 and remained in power until 1715. His many unusual ways made him a great leader. However, he carefully masked his intentions, as described by Saint-Simon in his Memoires. Saint-Simon viewed the king under a different light, since he felt slighted and resentful.

As with all rulers, some things must be done under the table to better the lives of the people. But as it applies to King Louis XIV, it was done to keep the people ignorant so that he could fully manipulate them as he saw fit. As we look back, we see that King Louis XIV was indeed a brilliant man. He kept his people very happy and introduced many things to the "average" lifestyle.

A grand palace was built to house his entire court, furnished with only the most valuable commodities. Lavish parties were thrown very often, giving rise to night life. Back then, night life was considered suicide due to the many dangers that were frequent in that time period. Louis XIV popularized the street light, allowing for a longer day. All this was very important for his people and future generations to come, but was this his only goal?

"Frequent fetes, private walks at Versailles, and excursions were means which the King seized upon in order to single out or to mortify individuals by naming the persons who should be there each time, and in order to keep each person assiduous and attentive to pleasing him", (sherman 7). In other words, the king used many opportunities to keep the people attentive to him for his own personal gain while keeping those people in the dark. As described by Saint-Simon, King Louis XIV always had a lit candlestick held by his side at bedtime. To which this "favor" was granted belonged to a courtier whom he wished to honor.

The highest respect went to those people who's names were called after the King's prayers. "Louis XIV carefully trained himself to be well informed about what was happening everywhere... ". (sherman 7). He held countless spies, most of whom didn't even know of their secret alliance to the King. No king in history kept his people under such a careful eye while still keeping a good reputation. Perhaps this marked the trend of secrecy in governments to come? "He attempted and succeeded in exhausting everyone by making luxury a virtue, and for certain persons a necessity", Saint-Simon recalls, "thus he gradually reduced everyone to depending entirely upon his generosity in order to subsist".

Rulers before King Louis XIV had demonstrated similar techniques, but not in the exact same way. Louis XIV seemed to have a certain finesse about him that attracted people. Till today, leaders and rulers strive to gain their people's trust in a similar manner. King Louis XIV had many unusual customs, which made him a great ruler. The problem is that despite his apparent care for his people, he remained a "ruler" and not a "leader" because of his thirst for control. In this aspect, continuity is obvious in regards to his dominate predecessors.

Regardless of his not so popular qualities he changed the world through, among other things, his many attributes to the swinging night life.