- Published: December 31, 2021
- Updated: December 31, 2021
- Level: College Admission
- Language: English
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Louis XIV The period of Louis’s XIV reign was signed by the reinforcement of aristocracy as social and drastic changes in contemporary French legal basis.
1) Before Louis XIV took the throne, French aristocrats were barely controllable and poorly controlled. At the period of French expansion, there even was a revolt named the Fronde, directed against the absolutization of monarchy and its profound penetration into mercantile economic interests of nobility. French hierarchical top lacked unity and leadership nonetheless. The main problem of feudalism was rooted in the discrepancies between each landowner’s wishes and interests, so the country was literally being torn into many parts. Another factor was associated with hereditary nobility, who covered the highest government positions for generations, so there emerged direct need for a kind of ‘personnel flow’, i. e. for the reconstruction of the whole apparatus. Furthermore, the influence of church was also weakening, so the crown was losing its allies and had to adjust to the new circumstances. The saddening experience of three-wave Fronde played its role during Louis’s reign, and his first steps and goals were gaining control over French financial lifeblood and restricting alleged freedom of aristocracy.
2) Louis XIV dealt wisely with aristocracy. First of all, he waged numerous wars, in which noble classes were to participate (in order to demonstrate loyalty and obedience) – otherwise they wouldn’t receive promotion and new government offices. Louis refused to distribute power among less significant feudalists, but he attempted to win their devotion he brought them to his court for a kind of probation term and then rewarded aristocrats with titles or pensions. Nevertheless, Louis never stopped controlling the number of aristocrats at highest hierarchical positions, so their number was always limited. Another Louis’s direction was the establishment of strong sustainable military apparatus headed by the most loyal and industrious aristocrats. Furthermore, typically for the 17th-century monarch, Louis hired province servants, or intendants, who were contributing to the process of centralization. Intendants were to civilize provinces and spread French culture across indigenous population as well as to provide sustainable economic development at local level. In fact, intendants were officials Louis could rely upon, as they were the descendants of less significant and powerful nobility, who didn’t share the interests of contemporary aristocracy. In my opinion, one might notice some elements of PR and propaganda in Louis’s army design: he applied strict subordination principle in this area, but lured troops and commanders with future career promotion. In addition, all positive changes in military area were being made in the name of the monarch, but not captain.
3) Louis was a spendthrift and didn’t take into account the limitedness of his resources when beckoning aristocrats with high pensions and new titles. In spite of his military expertise, the monarch was completely incompetent in accounting and finance management, so by the end of his reign the country experienced another revolt threat. His changes in French law were reduced to military reforms, whereas economy wasremained in distress. That time was still characterized by the lack of feudal unity, as everyone was surviving on his own. The positive outcome of Louis’s rule was the reinforcement of colonialism and expansionism, especially for royal navy, which launched slave trade and explored new lands.
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