Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Sun King

Sun King Golden Emblem 

French King, Louis XIV, reigned from 1643-1715, bringing absolute monarchy to its greatest height. With the building of Versailles, Louis XIV controlled  his court, their wishes, monies, and powers to the best of his ability...and mostly, he controlled them absolutely. His court was moved completely to Versailles on May 6, 1682.
Versailles, Air View

Early in his life, Louis XIV saw a civil war which would cause the royal family to be driven out of Paris. It is believed that this civil war brought Louis XIV poverty, misfortune, fear, and lack of trust in Paris, its nobles, or its common people.

King Louis XIV Painting 

Upon the dealt of the chief minister, Louis XIV declared himself chief minister and ended the "reign of the cardinal-ministers." From this point on, Louis XIV would control his government until his death.

Hall of Mirrors, Versailles

Yet gaining control over France wasn't as easy at this might sound thus far. First, Louis XIV put elaborate displays of his sovereignty at the Palace at Versailles. He committed other royal's time with his daily rituals of getting out of bed, eating meals, and strolling through gardens, which became huge theatrical productions. It became fashionable and expected for royalty to have these elaborate schedules, which other noblemen would vie to help with.

Second, Louis XIV used centralized government to create domestic tranquility, which was much appreciated after years of war with almost every other country in Europe and a civil war. Upper bourgeoisie were awarded positions of power, but were moved to Versailles to keep any of them from gaining regional power.

Thirdly, he wanted to have "one king, one law, one faith." He raged endless war with Protestant institutions in the attempt to create religious unity in France.

Fountain in the Versailles Gardens 

For Louis XVI, unity was everything to France, but years of war would cost the country in the end. His decline happened after revoking the Protestant minority's right to worship by his Edict of Fontainebleau. Many of the Huguenot's (Protestants), which constituted the industrious segment of French society, left the country, taking skills and wealth with them. His intolerance helped unite the Protestants of Europe against the Sun King.

Helpful Link:

Pegard, Catherine. "NewsEvents." Shows at Versailles. Public and Private Companies Throughout France, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2014. <>.

 Stingrad, Elena. "Minority." Louis XIV. N.p., 26 Nov. 07. Web. 04 Mar. 2014.

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