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King Louis

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Introduction

Perhaps one of the most famous of European monarchs, King Louis XIV ruled France for some 72 years, the longest by any French head of State. It is believed that reign of King Louis XIV was reputably famous as one of 'Absolute government', primarily because the King had his own particular and dominating style of governing the nation. Attaining the powers of a King at a young age of only 5 years, King Louis XIV would rule through his mother's guidance and Cardinal Mazarin acting as the head of state deciding most of the official and civilian matters concerning the governance of France. With no proper or formal education to his credit, King Louis XIV nevertheless gained immense insight on practically all matters of governance and grew up to be an extremely intelligent head of state. From the onset of his adulthood, King Louis XIV had perceived numerous plans for his country, and if one were to grade the King according to today's standards, one would certainly place him in the category of 'Type-A personality'. This was because the King had learnt, and that too from childhood' that the best way to rule would be to control the subject with absolute authority. In doing so, the King chose his advisors and consultants from the category of 'non-nobles, with the objective of inviting least opposition, and for reasons of imposing his decisions and motives without being questioned. The nobles too were useful, and had to be retained around the King's circle, primarily to win over their confidence, in return for the positions and wealth offered to them on behalf of the state. Also famous as a hard working and pleasant natured, the King sought to bring 'glory' for France, and strived for a united France, simply because it was easier to rule. The King's ideas about making France a glorious state were also exhibited in his desires for other European nations to fear, respect as well as imitate France in all matters of governance, aspects which only remained merely a set of ideas.

Born in 1710 at Versailles, King Louis XIV gained the title of "Louis the Well Beloved", yet this title only remained so until the King remained a monarch of France, and practically diminished upon his death. Unlike heirs of monarchs, King Louis XIV was neither formally educated in worldly discipline, nor was he nurtured to become a head of state. It was perhaps these primary factors together with the ineffective upbringing during his childhood, which kept the King weak through out his life, in turn implying the King was the head of a weak government. Add to this his attaining the powers of a King at the young age of only 5 years, as also reiterated in the opening lines and his marriage at the young age of 15 years. Thus, it was not until the King had reached the age of 34 years, when he finally decided that he did not the assistance of any intermediaries, a practice which had continued since he was the King of France at age 5. Yet, his lack of education, self-confidence and failure to have a grasp on matters of governance continually hampered his role as a successful monarch. The result of this somewhat disastrous set of policies, and the King's pre-occupation with the ladies of the court in contrast to the more needed matters of national policy and governance led the nation into the 7-years War. As a result, France lost most of its territories across the world, including those of North America. Though King Louis XIV did try to improve the judicial system at home, and enhance his political and moral authority. Nevertheless, the King had generally lost support from majority of the French populations, in particular the French working class. This culminated in the Great French Revolution of 1789, only to be replaced by King's grandson Louis XVI. (King Louis XIV, 2004) Influence of Childhood and Youth on the Personality and Reign of King Louis XIV

An overview on the childhood and youth of King Louis XIV reveals that when the King was only a child, he suffered the trauma of losing

both his parents, with a brother as his only surviving immediate family. Though there are some sources, which grade the King as the only heir to the throne, the majority of works on the life of King XIV cite that he had a brother. Thus, one may observe that the King was crowned at the young age of 5, he was duly assisted in the affairs of governance by his mother and through a regent Philippe II, Duke of Orleans. In addition, the King was represented in the governance of the State through Cardinal Fleury. This also implied that no particular attention was paid towards the education, upbringing, or character building, which would prepare the young heir for the post of a King of France. The inability to acquire any formal education, training or character building all led to the upbringing of an individual who would have to rely on his own intuition, insight, and personal experiences to rule an entire nation.

Belonging to a royal bloodline, King Louis XIV was no doubt handsome and presented a figure of imposing personality. Yet these characteristics were more than spoiled and exploited through the nurturing of such thoughts as the King being the sole heir and owner of all the property as well as the subjects (individuals) left behind by his parents. The resultant implications for such line of teachings only proved to be disastrous, as the young King barely had any concerns for the welfare of the larger French populations. In addition, the circle of French nobles and well wishes of the King continuously encircled the young King and did not allow him to move outside the vivid and lively affairs of the court. Thus, emphasis was on the importance of the King's personal being as owner and head of state, while at the same time, the same courtiers made every effort to dissuade the King from contacting, or inquiring about the general welfare of the French populations, or for the matters of the nation state for that matter.

An example of his early years as the King of France shows that it was not until he reached the age of 30 years, that finally chose to take all the official matters of the state into his own hands. The King thus removed all the ministers and advisors including the chief minister through whom the nation was governed, while the King was still young. Yet, even after having taken over the reins of the state into his own hands, Louis XIV was 'indolent and lacking in self-confidence' truly making him incapable of taking any firm decision, or coordinate the various activities concerning the national policy of France.

Though the King's preoccupation with the line of court's mistresses disallowed him to take any serious interest in the governance of the nation, yet there are instances where the King tried to

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