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Who Were The Winners And Losers Of The Seventeenth Century France?

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Louis XIV was one of the winners in the Seventeenth century France. Louis the XIV was only five years old when he was ascended to the French throne after his father death. Louis' mother Queen Anne selected Cardinal Mazarin as his regent. However, Mazarin lacked Cardinal Richelieu shrewdness that was Louis XIII's most important adviser. Marazin attempted to increase the royal revenue, which led to the civil war called the Fronde; the war lasted from 1649 to 1652. After Mazarin's death, Louis had to deal with an aristocracy that resented the increasing powers of the French monarchy. In order for Louis to achieve his goal, he adopted the concept of the "divine right of kings". "They claimed that kings were placed on earth by God to uphold piety and justice" (Kishlansky, pg. 494). Knowing this, he established the absolute sovereignty of Louis and his monarchy. Louis' statement, (I am the state) represented that there was no higher level of authority that could ever control him (Kishlansky, 503).

During Louis XIV 72 year reign, France became a dominant power in Europe. Many countries envied France's success in industry and agriculture. Louis chose Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683) to administer the government of France. He helped in reviving trade and economy of France. "Colbert's fiscal reforms were so successful that in less that six years a debt of 22 million French pounds had become a surplus of 29 million. Colbert achieved that astonishing feat not by raising taxes but by increasing the efficiency of their collection" (Kishlansky, pg 508). Colbert organized factories and systems of productions, trading companies and colonies, which were known as mercantilism. The main idea of this was to build up the nation's supply of gold by exporting goods to other lands and by earning goods in return.

With all this power, Louis XIV wanted to strengthen France by controlling its economy as well. He believed that there should only be no more then one religion and that religious unity was essential for absolute control. Therefore in 1685, Louis revoked the Edict of Nantes, which meant limiting toleration to Huguenots. He destroyed Huguenot schools and churches and took away their civil rights. Many of these Huguenot were exiled from France, which led these people to settle in Holland, England and America. Louis XIV had a strong desire to increase his kingdom that he also took control of the military actions of the state. By doing so, the French armies were able to gain some territory in Germany and the surrounding areas.

By establishing absolute control over every aspect of the government, Louis epitomized the "absolute monarchy". As king, he controlled the economics, religion, foreign and domestic policies and military exploits of France. Louis did take that statement "I am the state" into great termination. He definitely ran the state and acted as if the state was there to serve him, he lived an extravagant life. He built a magnificent palace at Versailles, which was surrounded by great art and beautiful landscaping. "His



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