One of the autocrats of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries was Louis XIV. He ruled over France from 1643 to 1715 and was a very powerful leader. During his reign Louis was focused on glorifying both his name and his country. His motto during his rule was one king, one law, one faith and it was his motivation for many of the decisions he made while ruling France.
The accomplishment that showed his power best was his creation of the palace at Versailles. In addition to being a great display of his power the palace also helped Louis control his nobles even better. He kept the nobles close to him so that he would have great amounts of control over them, this helped the one king part of his motto. In addition to building the palace at Versailles, Louis also showed his power by revoking the edict of Nantes.
When he revoked the edict that allowed Protestants in France he told the Protestants to either convert from their religion or to leave the country. This was obviously supported by the one faith part of his motto but by doing this he caused the majority of Protestants to leave the country.
Louis also showed his power by fighting four wars during his reign. He lead France to fight in four wars, The War of Devolution, which was a short and indecisive struggle with Spain, The Dutch War, when Louis’ soldiers invaded Holland, the War of the League of Augsburg, which was known as the war without victory, and the War of the Spanish Succession, which was ended in 1714 by the Treaty of Utrecht. The wars continued to become more expensive and longer with each one. The wars all showed the strength of Louis as a leader.
To fund the wars Louis used his political strength to tax the people, especially the poor, more and more as the wars continued. To help with the money problems the country was having Louis decided to appoint Jean-Baptiste Colbert Another act of Louis that demonstrates his power is when he called and assembly of clergymen and got them to increase his own power and decrease the popes.
New laws then prevented the pope from sending new bishops to France without Louis approval or removing the current bishops from France without Louis approval. Louis also makes it impossible for the pope or the church to excommunicate any leader in France.
Louis used his power over the nobles to keep them under his control by making many of them be his servants and had them do simple chores for him to keep them busy and prevent them from plotting against him. This action showed him using the one king part of his motto as he was trying to keep the power for himself.
Louis was so powerful that he placed one of his own descendents on the throne in Spain and caused and end to the struggle between the countries. Despite his power Louis left France with many problems after his rule. They were a weakened country with many foreign enemies, he left his own countries population demoralized, and he left the treasury bankrupt.
Though Louis had good reasons to make the majority of his decisions he didn’t see what they would lead to and left France in a poor condition. to run the country’s treasury. While Colbert was running the treasury it gained a lot of money that wasn’t there when Louis became king. The money brought in by Colbert was done by creating some new taxes and by using the current taxes more effectively but it was still a large burden on the poor peoples. Colbert also tried very hard to strengthen France’s industries while he was working to improve the treasury. All of the help that was provided by Colbert was in a sense from Louis because he had appointed him in the first place.