Throughout his lengthy reign louis XIV (1643–1715) never shed the hold over his human being he had assumed at the beginning. He worked hard to project his authority in the splendid setting of Versailles and also to depict the in his arrogant motto “Nec pluribus impar” (“None his equal”) and also in his sun emblem. The buttressed his authority through the divine-right doctrines elaborated by Bishop Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet and proclaimed it across Europe by pressure of arms. Yet he made surprisingly few institutional or bureaucratic changes in the structure of government. Favor Richelieu, Louis offered the device that he had actually inherited and adapted it to suit his own personality and outlook. This practice may be seen first in his mindset to the machine of central government.

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Louis XIV, information of a portrait through Hyacinthe Rigaud, 1701; in the Louvre, Paris.
Giraudon/Art Resource, new York

The development of central government

Louis’s inside council was based upon the version of the imperial council in Richelieu’s days, a High the supervisory board (Conseil d’en Haut) consisting of only three or 4 members and also excluding the king’s own relatives. Members that this board of directors were recognized as ministers, however they held no formal appropriate to the title and also ceased to be a minister if the king decided not to summon them. The very first of these good men to be Michel Le Tellier, Hugues de Lionne, and Nicolas Fouquet; but the last was disgraced in ~ a year, and by 1665 his place had been bring away by Mazarin’s former secretary, Jean-Baptiste Colbert. These three men dominated the government in the early on years that Louis’s an individual reign, however always, as with Richelieu and also Louis XIII, under the watchful and jealous eye that the king. Le Tellier had actually been secretary the state for military affairs under Mazarin’s regime, and also his biggest contribution under Louis to be to reorganize the army along lines the were hardly readjusted until after 1789. He created a royal military that wore the king uniform; it was commanded through his officers and was at some point responsible come the sovereign. It was a standing army of hitherto undreamed-of size, getting to 400,000 guys in times of war and also requiring close regulation in matters of discipline, training, recruitment, supply, and overall organization. The success that Le Tellier and also of his child Louvois, who prospered him, goes far to explain the supremacy of French eight in Europe during Louis’s reign.

Lionne, the professional in international affairs, had actually been the cook French negotiator in ~ the tranquility of the Pyrenees. His efficient influence on Louis is an overwhelming to gauge; he definitely was no the sole resource of advice in foreign affairs. Lionne continues to be a more elusive personality 보다 his colleagues, despite there can be no doubt of his importance. It need to be remembered that all essential matters the state to be reviewed in ~ the High Council; and also the king ministers were expected to provide advice and opinions top top all the was discussed, not simply on problem in the area the their particular expertise.

Colbert, however, remains the best-known of this intimate counselors. That the 17 ministers summoned through Louis XIV to the High Council throughout his reign, 5 were members the the Colbert family. In 1664, Colbert to be appointed superintendent of the king buildings; in 1665, controller general of finances; in 1669, secretary of state because that the navy. His volume for work and also his understand of information were remarkable; yet he was no an original, much less a revolutionary, thinker. His chief donation to the king finances, like Sully’s, to be to do the machinery an ext efficient, no to instead of any new mechanisms. Colbert’s an initial achievement to be to current the king with a monthly statement of the gaue won situation, despite his yearly estimates because that the complying with year never persuaded Louis of the need for economies if his mental was set in other directions. Yet, in ~ 10 year of taking office, Colbert, mostly by tightening increase on the tax-collecting management and by rationalizing the gathering of indirect taxes, did success in producing a surplus. He turned a large part of central and northern France into a free-trade area and gave the obligation for collecting every indirect taxes over there to a new syndicate of taxes farmers called the Farmers-General. Under Colbert, the complete sum levied indigenous indirect taxation climbed from 36 million livres come 62 million.

In his industrial policy Colbert thought that France required to produce for chin those manufactured items that it was importing. To attain this mercantilist goal, acquired from, among other sources, the ideas of Richelieu, Colbert to be willing to invoke a range of improvisations: direct subsidies, exemptions indigenous the taille, monopoly grants, and controls exercised through town guilds. Experienced foreign workmen were persuaded to clear up in France and to happen on their skills to aboriginal artisans; protective tariffs were imposed. The famed tapestry works of the Gobelin family was do a state enterprise, and also France ended up being largely self-sufficient in the production of woolen cloth. Colbert additionally had part success in other industries, such as sugar refining, plate-glass making, and the production of silk, marine stores, and also armaments. The all at once results of his difficult work, however, to be disappointing. French economic growth lagged behind that of England and the Netherlands, where governments permitted higher entrepreneurial initiative.

Much more successful were Colbert’s initiatives at cultivating the development of the navy. He reorganized the recruitment system on a rotating basis, whereby seamen offered in the royal navy for six months every 3 years. The refurbished the hospitals in every of the significant ports; rebuilt the arsenals in ~ Toulon and Rochefort; and also increased the size of the navy from about 25 ships in 1661 to 144 in 1677. He likewise established colleges of marine engineering, hydrography, and also cartography. His interest in reestablishing French sea power was, in part, to difficulty the commercial dominance of the Dutch. He urged the structure of the French mercantile marine and established a number of overseas commerce companies, in details the east India and also Levant companies, no of which had much success. He additionally attempted to safeguard French early american interests in the West Indies and Canada. The code Noir that 1685, applied after Colbert’s death, legalized slavery in the French colonies, also though it to be banned in France itself.

Besides the High Council, the king’s council also met for rather less an important matters under a selection of different guises. The Council for Dispatches (Conseil des Dépêches), or, more loosely, the Council for the Interior, had particular responsibility for residence affairs, including the activities of the intendants; the royal Council for Finances (Conseil imperial des Finances) supervised necessary matters affecting financial facets of the king’s domain lands. These 2 councils, favor the High Council, to be presided end by the king in person. Yet the royal council additionally met without the king under three more titles to attend to judicial and administrative matters. The Privy council (Conseil Privé) judged disputes in between individuals or bodies and dispensed the king supreme and also final judgments. The State Council for Finances (Conseil d’État et Finances) emergency financial problem of an additional importance, when the jae won Arbitration Court (Grande Direction des Finances) was an bureaucratic tribunal that cleared up disputes between the state and also individuals or corporations. Every of this subdivisions the the king council contained an ext members than the exclusive High Council, comprised of the secretaries of state and of financial and also judicial experts.

The initial group composing the High Council added a great deal to the basic pattern that Louis’s reign, an especially in military, fiscal, naval, and commercial attitudes, partly due to the fact that many of those who adhered to as ministers came from the exact same tightly knit team of royal servants. In addition to the 5 members of the Colbert family, over there were additionally three Le Telliers; and, while only one member that the Phélypeaux family, luigi II, comte de Pontchartrain, was a minister, four served as vital secretaries the state. All these counselors reflect the mindset of the king himself: lock worked exceptionally hard; they proffered advice but were under no illusions around the hazard of suggesting once louis had made up his mind; and also they favoured a protectionist, paternalist policy, whether in the organization of industry, the administration of the colonies, or the building up that the navy. Just toward the end of the reign, through the facility of the board of directors of commerce in 1700, did a less regulatory policy show signs the emerging.

To bring out the decisions reached in his intimate and secret High Council, louis relied chiefly on his provincial intendants. Stationed in the funding cities that France’s 30-odd généralités, or governmental districts, the intendants were, like the ministers, appointed through the king. In the districts they could exercise strength of police; raise army forces; manage industrial, commercial, and agricultural matters; obtrude censorship; carry out the financial to work of assorted communities; assign and collect taxes; and also wield substantial judicial government in civil and also criminal affairs. Inevitably, this agents the the main government created substantial friction and hostility. These brand-new men, with no local roots, answerable just to the king and also acting practically invariably in one authoritarian context, to be deeply resented by older imperial officials, through municipal authorities and guilds, and also by regional parlements and also estates—all of who operated through well-established channels and according to traditional local privileges. The usage of intendants, who organized neither venal nor hereditary office, was one means in i m sorry the limiting result of the revenue of office on imperial policies could be circumvented. The authoritarian element of louis XIV’s regime is undeniable: the was determined that no institution or social course would to escape the supervision the the crown and also its ministers. Thus, the power of patronage, which had actually been worked out for generations in provincial noble households, began to lose its political significance as the king’s ministers collected their own different administrative clienteles.

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In particular, because the Fronde had remained a painful storage from his childhood, the king never permitted the an excellent nobles a comparable opportunity for revolt. Versailles came to be a location of security for pensioned noblemen and also their families whose just serious occupation to be the traditional one of arms, and Louis noted ample opportunities for this pursuit. Provincial nobles were attracted into collaboration with the royal management and shared in the profits made indigenous exploiting the system. The 2nd rebellious team in the Fronde, the members the the Parlement the Paris, were likewise subjected to stringent controls. In 1673 Louis developed regulations stipulating the the court’s remonstrances against royal enactments sent to it could in future it is in made just after the laws concerned had to be registered. Through this device the king properly muzzled the magistrates’ objections of royal policy. It to be equally his on purpose to get rid of the delaying strategies of the provincial courts, specifically those positioned close to delicate frontiers.