1638–1715, king of France (1643–1715), son and successor of King Louis XIII.
After his father’s death his mother, Anne of Austria, was regent for Louis, but the real power was wielded by Anne’s adviser, Cardinal Mazarin. Louis did not take over the government until Mazarin’s death (1661). By then France was economically exhausted by the Thirty Years War, by the Fronde, and by fiscal abuses. But the centralizing policies of Richelieu and Mazarin had prepared the ground for Louis, under whom absolute monarchy, based on the theory of divine right, reached its height.
Louis’s reign can be characterized by the remark attributed to him, “L’état, c’est moi” [I am the state]. Louis continued the nobility’s exemption from taxes but forced its members into financial dependence on the crown, thus creating a court nobility occupied with ceremonial etiquette and petty intrigues. The provincial nobles also lost political power. Louis used the bour...