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The Legacy of Louis XIV. Transformed France into the strongest country in Europe Able financial ministers: Cardinal Richelieu and Jean Baptiste Colbert transformed French economy, increased trade and improve French treasury

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the legacy of louis xiv
The Legacy of Louis XIV
  • Transformed France into the strongest country in Europe
  • Able financial ministers: Cardinal Richelieu and Jean Baptiste Colbert transformed French economy, increased trade and improve French treasury
  • The wars of Louis XIV against Spain and internal wars of religion will nearly bankrupt the nation.
a shaky monarchy after louis xiv
A Shaky Monarchy after Louis XIV
  • Death of Louis XIV who ruled for 72 years, left throne to five year old great-grandson, Louis XV
  • the Duke of Orleans, regent for five-year old Louis XV makes John Law financial manager of the kingdom
    • Helped establish the first national French bank—the Banque Generale

John Law

john law and the french economy
John Law and the French Economy
  • The wars of Louis XIV left the country completely wasted, economically and financially
  • Law abolished internal tolls and encouraged building new roads for trade
  • Started new industriesled to 60% increase over two years
  • Revived overseas commerce by increasing French fleet from 16 to 300 ships
the mississippi bubble
“The Mississippi Bubble”

Law organizes a monopoly on trading privileges in the French colony of Louisiana in North America

To get French investors, the value of the Mississippi Company’s stock was inflated

1718--the Mississippi Bubble as it was called turns into a financial disaster and Law flees the country disguised as a woman


The impending collapse of John Law’s bank triggered a financial panic throughout France. Desperate investors, such as those shown here in the city of Rennes, sought to exchange their paper currency, for gold and silver before the banks’ supply of precious metals was exhausted.

Collection Musée de Bretagne, Rennes

the reign of louis xv r 1715 1774
The Reign of Louis XV (r. 1715-1774)
  • Saw growing discontent among French citizens who desired more say in gov’t and rejected royal absolutism set up by his great grandfather, Louis XIV
  • Parlementis reinstalled and becomes the center for popular resistance to royal authority for most of the century
social division amongst the french
Social Division amongst the French
  • Many French resented special privileges of the aristocracy
    • Nobles and clergy were exempt from taxes
    • Aristocracy received gov’t pensions
    • Highest positions in gov’t were reserved fro aristocrats
    • Promotions based on political connections rather than merit
    • Versailles became a symbol of wasteful, extravagant, and a frivolous life
growing discontent
Growing Discontent
  • France’s main ability to produce in agriculture was based on the feudal system of peasantry tied to the land
  • Peasants were taxed excessively in comparison to other segments of society
  • The philosophes gave expression to these grievances and discontent grew
need for gov t reform
Need for Gov’t Reform
  • France had no uniform code of laws lacked justice in French judicial system
    • Not all classes were treated equally in the eyes of the law
  • 1770—local parlements rose up against Louis XV’s absolutism, BUT were abolished by the king
  • Some philosophes applauded the parlements attempted reform and demanded an overhaul of French system
death of louis xv
Death of Louis XV
  • Louis XV failed to solve the problems of France left to him by his grandfather
  • Corruption and inequality in gov’t are the legacies left behind
  • Crowds lined the road to curse Louis casket

Under Louis XV (r. 1715–1774) France suffered major defeats

in Europe and around the world and lost most of its North

American empire. Louis himself was an ineffective ruler, and

during his reign, the monarchy encountered numerous

challenges from the French aristocracy.