Louis XIV: The Decline Of Power

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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 ideas were spreading. This was evident with the open, public satire of the King and widespread desire for change from France’s traditional monarchical rule. This culminated in tumultuous events which brought about the end of the dynasty.…show more content…
France had a taxation system which was corrupt, unfair and outdated. The taxation system was centralised to the suit the interests of the nobility and clergy and therefore failed to maximise revenue for the state whilst causing considerable discontent due to its inconsistent administration. While many were subject to the harsh implementation of taxes, they were further angered by the exemptions of the First and Second Estate, secured and reinforced through the parlements’ Right of Remonstrance. The sporadic hiring and firing of ministers was conducted largely on the basis of status over merit, meaning ministers were often incompetent and unsuitable. This was shown by the large discrepancy in the policies of Calonne and his predecessor Necker in a time of deep seated financial turbulence. France’s aggressive, expansionist pursuit of la gloire came at the expense of the poor who suffered harsh wartime
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