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What Did Louis Xiv Hope to Accomplish in His Domestic and Foreign Policies in France?

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What did Louis XIV hope to accomplish in his domestic and foreign policies in France?
Louis XIV’s domestic policy was to transform France. Louis XIV built on Louis XIII’s policy of extending absolute royal rule (centralised absolutism) to all parts of the kingdom. A. Aided by politicians such as Jean-Baptiste Colbert, and more especially, Jules Mazarin, Louis stamped his rule on his kingdom. It was Louis who had said “L’état, c’est moi.” (I am the state) and few doubted that he meant it. B. Louis ensured that the legal system of France was modernised. In fact, what he introduced was used in France to the time of the Napoleonic reforms. Civil law was reformed in 1667; criminal law was reformed in 1670; a Maritime Code was introduced in 1672 and a Commercial Code in 1673. C. To enforce his rule, Louis needed a large army. By the time of his death in 1715, the army of France stood at 350,000. Not only was it large in size, but it was also a modern army completely controlled by the state. Such an army ensured that the people were well controlled within France. Any hint of rebellion could be suitably dealt with. The army was answerable to the Secretary of State for War and the Intendants who worked for him. D. The credit for finding the modern French Navy went to Jean-Baptiste Colbert. In 1643, at the start of Louis’s reign, France had about three serviceable naval boats. For Colbert, this represented a weakness that other nations might exploit. Therefore, a great deal of time and effort went into developing a modern navy. This allowed France to follow an aggressive expansionist policy in both colonisation and commerce. Both added to the wealth and prestige of France. E. The economy relatively prospered in the early years of Louis’ reign. Under the guidance of Colbert, the French economy did well. Colbert realised the importance of a sound commercial policy and he viewed that overseas trade was the way ahead. France did well in this area and her economy benefited as a result as more tax revenue was raised. However, the fundamental weakness of the French economy was never tackled. Those who could afford to pay the most tax paid the least as a result of out-dated tax clauses and posts bought by the wealthy nobility. Those who could afford to pay the least, proportionately paid the most. Such a system kept many in poverty. Therefore, the greatest number of people were the poor who paid the most tax. This left them with barely enough to live off let alone buy goods that were taxed. Those who had the money to spend were the least in number and their total tax liability would have been completely disproportionate to their wealth. In one sense, the success of Colbert was such that this obvious problem was suitably disguised so that future politicians would have to solve it. * * Absolutism, the political doctrine and practice of unlimited, centralized authority and absolute sovereignty, as vested especially in a monarch or dictator. The essence of an absolutist system is that the ruling power is not subject to regularized challenge or check by any other agency, be it judicial, legislative, religious, economic, or electoral. King Louis XIV (1643–1715) of France furnished the most familiar assertion of absolutism when he said, “L’état, c’est moi” (“I am the state”). Absolutism has existed in various forms in all parts of the world, including in Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler and in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. * * * * * * * * * * * Austria and the Ottoman Turks
Czech nobility, largely Protestant, dominated the Bohemian Estates, the represent-ative body of the different legal orders in Bohemia but at Battle of the White Mountain, Habsburg defeated Protestants and new nobility “enslaved” local peasants
After the Thirty Years’ War, Ferdinand III, centralized the government in the hereditary German-speaking provinces (Austria, Styria, and Tyrol -- permanent army)
Ottomans, from Anatolia (Turkey), reached their peak in the middle of the sixteenth century under Suleiman the Magnificent and their possessions stretched from western Persia across North Africa and up into the heart of central Europe
Apostles of Islam, the Ottoman Turks were foes of the Catholic Habsburgs
The Ottoman Empire was built on the conception of state and society where all the agricultural land of the empire was the personal hereditary property of the sultan
The top ranks of the bureaucracy were staffed by the sultan’s slave corps (slave tax)
Ottomans were more tolerant of other religions than the Europeans were
Weak sultans failed to keep up with European military advances and finally with an alliance with Louis XIV of France, surrounded Vienna and laid siege to it in 1683, but the Habsburg defeated them, expanding into Hungary and Transylvania
In 1713, Charles VI proclaimed the so-called Pragmatic Sanction, which state that the Habsburg possessions were never to be divided and passed to single heir intact
The Hungarian nobility, despite its reduced strength, thwarted the full development of Habsburg absolutism as most of them being Protestants continued to insist on their traditional rights and rebelled under Prince Francis Rakoczy in 1703 (compromise) * Prussia in the Seventeenth Century
While local princes lost political power and influence, a revitalized landed nobility became the ruling class; the Hohenzollern family ruled the electorate of Brandenburg and Prussia (largest landowners in a landlord society)
Brandenburg was completely cut off from the sea and the territory of the elector’s cousin, the duke of Prussia, was totally separated from Brandenburg
In 1618 the junior branch of the Hohenzollern family died and Prussia reverted to the elector of Brandenburg who was a helpless spectator in the 30 Years’ War
Devastation of Brandenburg and Prussia prepared the way for Hohenzollern absolutism because foreign armies weakened the political power of the Estates
The weakening of the representative assemblies of the realm, allowed elector Frederick William (“Great Elector”) to take step towards royal absolutism
The Great Elector was determined to unify Brandenburg (area around Berlin), Prussia (part of Poland), and scattered holdings along the Rhine in western Germany
Taxes could be charged with their consent and the Estates of Brandenburg and Prussia were dominated by the nobility and landowning classes, known as “Junkers”
To pay for the permanent standing army (1660) Frederick William forced the Estates to accept the introduction of permanent taxation without consent and the soldiers became the core of the rapidly expanding state bureaucracy (In 1688, the army contained thirty thousand, many French Huguenots welcomed as citizens)
Two factors that appear central are war (invasion by the wild Tartars of southern Russia softened Estates and strengthen the urgency for more soldiers) and nobility having long dominated the government through the Estates for narrow self-interest * The Great Elector reduced the political power of the Estates but accepted a compromise whereby the bulk of the new taxes fell on towns and royal authority stopped at the landlords’ gates (Konisberg leader arrested and imprisoned)

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