Louis XIV – The Sun King and the Great Enlightened Monarch
Question: III-1- 4: Briefly discuss the main achievements of Louis XIV of France. Why is he called the ‘Sun King’?
Answer: In 1643, Louis XIV took over the emperor of France. He was hardly five years old at that time. Upto 1661, Cardinal Mazarin ruled France for the young king.
1. Peace with Neighbours: Mazarin secured the borders of France from the Habsburg dynasty ruling over Austria and Spain. He signed the pace of Westphalia with Austria in 1648 and the treaty of Pyrenees with Spain in 1659. It helped Louis later to raise the prestige of France and his Bourbon family.
2. Popular Revolt - Fronde: Mazarin was able to suppress the popular revolt, which is popular in French history as Fronde. It was the revolt of the people of Paris Parliament against Mazarin. There were following results: (1). The nobles became weak before the authority of the Emperor. (2). The Parliament of Paris was weakened and the Emperor was able to establish his authority. (3) The Parliament lost the power over the financial and political matters before the rulings given by the Emperor. (4) The royal authority was placed on firmer grounds. It later helped Louis to establish the authority of his rule in France.
The Age of Louis XIV
3. Establishment of Absolute Rule: It was Louis XIV who was able to make the Europe believe in the principle of divine right of monarchical absolutism. He brought the rule of the empire in direct control of his hand in 1661 after the death of his mentor Mazarin. He achieved it by his deeds and personality as the Emperor of France. It made the French people loyal to the French Emperor till the days of the French Revolution. His ideology was framed by the guidance of his tutor Bossuet. The Emperor learned and was fixed the belief that he was having divine blessings. That, his main aim was the welfare of the nation and he is answerable to god for that. That what so ever he thought and deemed it right to do, all that was guided by the God himself. With such a mental grooming, he achieved the honour for France not only in internal matters but also in the European politics. He became the role model of rest of the kings of Europe who were getting freedom from dependence upon their feudal lords.