The Fall Of Louis XIV

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The French monarchy’s decline in authority can be seen from the acclaimed zenith of Louis XIV. By 1685 it was clear that power was highly concentrated with underpinned by the belief that Louis XIV ruled with divine right absolutism. This can be seen in the centralisation of power in the newly built palace of Versailles where the ‘Sun King’ portrayed an image of absolute power. It was reinforced by the revocation of Edict of Nantes, as he believed religious diversity weakened his regime. This allows one to examine and compare his reign to the nadir of Louis XVI only a century later, whose authority had been fatally undermined as France was in turmoil; on the verge of bankruptcy by 1789, it was blighted by increased poverty and revolutionary…show more content…
The public was frustrated at an inefficient, unjust taxation system and the lack of change even with the evident need for reform. The last monarch of the Ancien Regime Louis XVI (1773-89) who proclaimed himself “the restorer of French liberty”, continually hired and fired ministers all of whom highlighted the same problem in France’s finances; the need of radical change of the way the public was taxed. Calonne suggested a progressive land value tax. This resulted in the Assembly of Notables being formed in 1787. The nobility rejected this plan which created hostility towards the king and opposition from the first and second estate for the reforms and anger from the third estate for appeasing the nobility and clergy. This led to the authority of Louis XVI being questioned and was a contributing factor to the downfall of the Ancien regime as it highlighted the willingness of the king’s ministers in challenging the privileges of the first and second estate. This was a recurrent problem as the privileged classes again stood against the king at the Estates-general (1789). Therefore, it is indeed convincing to suggest that the inefficient taxation system under all monarchs led to the downfall of the Ancien Regime. Furthermore, it can also suggest that the first and second estates’ unwillingness to deprive themselves of some of their privileges trapped the French economy as it did not allow for the reform. This exacerbated the grievances of the third estate who became more susceptible to revolutionary
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