Political, Economic, and Religious Developments in France

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Discuss the political, economic, and religious developments in France during the reign of King Louis XIV, and how the other states of Europe reacted to create a 'balance of power' designed to check France's rise in power and influence both in Europe and overseas. Louis XIV created a highly centralized monarchy, the most centralized that had ever existed in Europe up to this point. He eradicated the remnants of feudalism in France and created a court that revolved around his personality. He was a passionate believer in the divine right of kings. He had a great deal of support for his reign from the 'intelligentsia' of the era, because of his patronage of writers and artists. However, he also drained the power of Parliament of any influence. When the Prime Minister died, Louis assumed sole responsibility for reigning over his kingdom. "Louis is reputed to have claimed 'I am the state', and although this statement may be apocryphal, his will was, indeed, the will of the state in matters of military matters and foreign policy" (Louis XIV, 2011, Oxford Companion to Military History). He constructed the famous palace of Versailles as a testimony to his power, but also to keep an eye on the aristocrats in the court. Louis pursued an aggressive foreign policy for most of his reign. To the very end, the other European monarchs resisted his dominance. The final "cataclysm" of the ongoing struggle between France and the rest of Europe cumulated in the War of the Spanish Succession,
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