The Huguenots: Louis XIV, The King Of France

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This document review describes and compares three documents written by the rulers of three European nations: Louis XIV, the king of France; Frederick William, the Great Elector of Brandenburg-Prussia; and Peter the Great, the emperor of Russia. Through these documents, we are able to see what was most important to these monarchs, and what they considered best for themselves and their countries. Although textbooks are useful for reading descriptions of historical people and events, through reading documents such as these, we are able to see not only what these rulers did, but also their motives and their rationalizations of their decisions. In “Louis XIV Revokes the Edict of Nantes”, written in 1685, Louis XIV explains that the Huguenots,…show more content…
The two rulers took opposite approaches in their dealings with this religious group. Louis XIV allowed such persecution of the Huguenots in France that many of them fled the country. The Great Elector welcomed these refugees, making provisions for them legally and financially. The differences in how Louis XIV and the Great Elector reacted to the issue of the Huguenots show what they each thought was most important in ruling their countries. Louis XIV valued power more than anything, and he wanted to increase his control over his subjects. He knew it would be more difficult to control people with religious differences, and he hoped that revoking the Edict of Nantes would end these divisions. The Great Elector valued economic prosperity--he welcomed the refugees because he knew they were a skilled and highly-educated group who would help increase the overall wealth of Prussia. Both Louis XIV and Peter the Great viewed war as extremely important--Peter the Great even mentions Louis XIV in his letter, describing his love of war, “glorious exploits” and what he considered great success. Their goals for war, as indicated in their two documents, appear to be different. Louis XIV used war as a tool to conquer more people and gain more land to grow the French kingdom. Peter the Great described war as important mostly for defense against Russia’s enemies and in ensuring…show more content…
Louis XIV, as mentioned above, wanted to control his people’s religion, mainly because he hoped it would help him become a more powerful king. Peter the Great wanted to control his son, trying to force him to share his own opinions and values. Neither Louis XIV not Peter the Great was entirely successful in their plans to increase their power. When France lost many of the Huguenots due to persecution, Louis XIV lost some of his best subjects, resulting in a worse financial condition for his country. Peter the Great was certainly not successful in convincing Aleksei to study war, or to follow him in any other way. Aleksei became involved in a rebellion against his father; Peter the Great may have had a role in his
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