The Reign of Louis XIV
Chapter 5
Section 2
Main Ideas
After a century of war and
riots, France was ruled by
Louis XIV, the most
powerful monarch of his
time.
 Louis’ abuse of power led to
revolution that would
inspire the call for
democratic government
throughout the world.

Introduction
1559, Henry of France
died.
– Left four young sons.
 Three of the sons ruled but
were all incompetent.
 Their mother, Catherine
de Medici was the real
power.
 Catherine tried to preserve
royal authority but religious
wars between the Catholics
and Huguenots made it
difficult.

Religious Wars and
Power Struggles


Catholics and Huguenots
fought 8 religious wars
between 1562-1598.
1572 – St. Bartholomew’s
Day Massacre in Paris.
– Sparked a six week
nationwide slaughter of
the Huguenots.
– Huguenot nobles were
attending a wedding for
Catherine’s daughter and
Henry of Navarre.
Henry of Navarre

Catherine and her last son
died in 1589.
– Henry inherited the throne.
– Became Henry IV, the first king
of the Bourbon dynasty in
France.
Catholics opposed Henry.
 Henry gave up Protestantism
and converted for the sake
of his country.

Edict of Nantes



1568 – Henry declared –
– that the Huguenots could live in peace in France
– and set up their own houses of worship in some
cities.
This is an example of religious toleration.
Known as the Edict of Nantes
Rebuilding France
Henry devoted his reign to
rebuilding France.
 He restored the monarchy in
France to a strong position.
 Some people were happy and
welcomed peace.
 Others disliked Henry for his
religious compromise.
 1610 – Henry was stabbed to
death while riding in his
carriage.

Louis XIII &
Cardinal Richelieu

Louis XIII = Henry’s
son
– Took over after
Henry’s death
– Very weak king

1624 – appointed
Cardinal Richelieu, a
Catholic minister, to
assist him.
Cardinal Richelieu
In a sense – the
ruler of France.
 Wanted to increase
the power of the
Bourbon monarchy.
 Went about this by
two steps…

Richelieu’s Steps
1. Moved against Huguenots.
– Still allowed them to practice,
but would not let them build
walls around their cities.
 2. Sought to weaken nobles’
power.
– Increased the power of
government officials that were
middle class.
 Richelieu also got France involved
in the Thirty Years’ War against
the Hapsburgs.

Skepticism
The idea that nothing can ever be known
for certain.
 French thinkers expressed an attitude of
doubt toward churches that claimed to
have the only correct set of doctrines.

Montaigne & Descartes
Read the three paragraphs under
Montaigne and Descartes on page 163 in
your text.
 Answer the following questions:
 How might political and religious leaders
have reacted to the work of Montaigne?
 Did Descartes’ response to the challenges
of skeptics such as Montaigne put an end
to the skeptics’ arguments? Explain.

Louis XIV Comes to Power
The efforts of Henry IV
and Richelieu
strengthened the French
monarchy and paved the
way for Louis XIV.
 Louis XIV became the
most powerful ruler in
French history.

– “I am the state.”
– Was four when he began
his reign.
Louis, the Boy King
Louis XIII died in
1643, leaving his son
to reign.
 Richelieu’s successor,
Cardinal Mazarin
really ruled France.
 Mazarin ended the
Thirty Years’ War.

Mazarin





Many people hated Mazarin,
particularly the nobles.
Strengthened the central
government.
Nobles led riots and
threatened the king’s life.
Louis would never forget the
fear.
Wanted to be so strong that
he could never be threatened
by them again.
Louis Weakens the Nobles’ Authority
Mazarin died in 1661, leaving
22 year old Louis to rule alone.
 Excluded nobles from
councils to weaken their
power.
 Increased power of
intendants (officials who
collected taxes & administered
justice).
 Demanded regular
communication between
local officials and him.

Economic Growth


Louis devoted himself to
making sure that France
attained economic, political
and cultural brilliance.
Minister of Finance, Jean
Baptiste Colbert, assisted
him greatly in achieving these
goals.
– Tried to make France selfsufficient.
– Manufacture everything &
not rely on imports.
Jean Baptiste Colbert






Gave government funds & tax
breaks to French companies.
Placed a high tariff on
imports.
Encouraged people to migrate
to Canada.
After Colbert died, Louis
recalled the Edict of Nantes.
Response? Huguenots fled
the country.
Result? France lost many
skilled workers.
The Sun King’s
Grand Style
Spent a fortune to
surround himself with
luxuries.
 Each meal was a
feast.
 Built a fabulous
palace known as
Versailles.
 Page 166.

Louis Controls
the Nobility
Required hundreds of
nobles to live with him.
 At least 100 of the most
privileged nobles waited
outside Louis’ canopy bed to
help him dress.

– Four would have the honor of
handing him his slippers or
holding his sleeves.
Patronage of the Arts
Versailles was a
center of the arts
during Louis’ reign.
 Louis made opera &
ballet more popular.

Louis Fights Disastrous Wars



Under Louis, France was the
most powerful country in
Europe.
1660, France’s population
was about 20 million.
– 4 times that of England
– 10 times that of the
Netherlands
French army was ahead in
terms of size, training and
weaponry.
Attempts to Expand France’s Boundaries




1667, Louis invades the
Spanish Netherlands.
– Gains 12 towns
Tries the same with the Dutch
– They flood the city and stop
France.
Louis continued to try to fight
wars.
Problem? The rest of Europe
had formed an alliance and
wanted to stop France.
William of Orange
1689 - Dutch prince,
William of Orange,
became the king of
England.
 Joined the League of
Augsburg – Hapsburg
emperor, Kings of
Sweden, and Spain
 Defeated France

France’s Problems &
Louis’ Mistakes

Problems
Series of poor
harvests
 Constant warfare
 New taxes (to pay
for the war)


Mistakes
Massive Population
 Expanding France
 Continuous expansion

War of the
Spanish Succession
French longed for peace.
– Instead, got another war.
 1700 – Charles II (King of Spain)
dies and leaves throne to Philip
of Anjou (Louis XIV’s grandson).
 Enemies were now both ruled by
French Bourbons.
 England, Dutch Republic,
Portugal, and several German
and Italian states joined together
against France and Spain

Treaty of Utrecht
War dragged on until 1714.
 Under the Treaty of Utrecht, Louis’
grandson could remain king as
long as France & Spain did not
unite.
 Big Winner? Great Britain
 Great Britain gets Gibraltar,
permission to sell slaves in
Spanish Colonies, and gave Britain
Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and
Hudson Bay area

Louis’ Death and Legacy





Last years – More sad than
glorious
Regretted the suffering he
brought to France due to his
wars.
Died in 1715 – led to great
rejoicing.
Positive side – France was a
great power
Negative side – war and
Versailles left France in great
debt
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