Louis XIV - A Closer Look at His Historical Influence on the Protestant World

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Louis XIV's historical influence on the Protestant world is extensive and reaches far beyond his personal life. His influence can be seen in everything from Art to Religion, to the French monarchy. Here are some examples. But let's take a closer look at some of the most important aspects of his life. What were his most important contributions to these fields? How did he change Europe's views on art and religion?


Despite the king's military prowess, Louis XIV's governing style was quite different than that of his contemporaries. The French monarch avoided using military force alone, relying instead on legal pretexts. This resulted in many ambiguous treaties, and the king even established the Chambers of Reunion to determine the full extent of rights under these agreements.

Throughout the seventeenth century, France's military superiority made it possible to negotiate better terms with Spain. Moreover, Louis's generosity towards Spain in regard to Catalonia is thought to have led to the eventual naming of Philip Duke of Anjou as the heir to the French throne by King Charles II. Despite the king's advancing age, France renounced its interests in the Palatinate, the Electorate of Cologne, and the Duchy of Lorraine to Duke Leopold of Anjou. As a result, William and Mary were recognised as the joint sovereigns of the British Isles.

Protestant world

The Reformed Church was a powerful force in the Protestant world during the 17th century. They were able to flourish under favorable conditions created by the Edict of Nantes. The Reformed churches were well organized, with quality leaders who displayed loyalty to the royal power. Nonetheless, many Protestant temples were destroyed. But, Louis XIV's influence was not limited to the Catholic Church. He also influenced Protestants in the United States.

Protestations against the Reformed Church increased under Louis XIV. The Edict of Nantes had allowed Protestants to convert, but Louis XIV imposed many restrictions on Protestants. The Edict banned Protestants from holding public office, closed churches outside of Edict stipulated areas, and prohibited Protestant outdoor preachers. In order to repress Protestantism, Louis XIV reinstated Commissions as the principal means of repression. In these Commissions, he investigated reported violations of the Edict of Nantes. Representatives of the Catholic Church argued for the closure of Protestant churches. As a result, there were roughly 140,000 Protestants in France by the beginning of the eighteenth century.


Louis XIV's artistic and cultural contributions are numerous and extensive. His patronage of the arts enabled classical French literature to flourish, and he protected the likes of Molière, Racine, and La Fontaine. The king also patronized the visual arts, promoting artists such as Jean-Baptist Lully and establishing the Academie d'Opera. He also commissioned sculptures and almanacs, which are reflected in many of the artworks that remain in France today.

The king's benevolence to art and culture was evident throughout his reign, which marked the beginning of the age of French culture. During the early 1660s, Louis XIV endorsed many writers and artists, but his benevolence was mostly given to second-rate men, and this waned as economic conditions worsened in the 1670s. He did, however, help Moliere and Jean Racine, who were largely influenced by his benevolence.


The history of French Catholicism began in the seventeenth century. In 1685, Louis XIV, a Catholic, issued an edict rescinding the Edict of Nantes. The decree ordered the destruction of Protestant places of worship and schools, the exile of Protestant pastors, and the baptism of Protestant children by Catholic parish priests. The edict also provided that no subject could be molested or abused simply for being a Protestant.

In the early eighteenth century, France was divided in its views about religion, and the French Wars of Religion ravaged the country. The monarchy, in particular, faced an uphill battle against the Jesuits and other Protestants who sought to establish religious uniformity. Louis was heavily influenced by the Jesuits during his second reign, and he viewed all forms of unorthodoxy as a source of rebellion.

Foreign policy

The history of foreign policy during the age of Louis XIV is tangled in various conflicts, from the Nijmegen Treaty to the Seven Years' War. The early years of the king's reign were dominated by war. After the outbreak of the French Revolution, however, the king's policies changed drastically. First, the French Empire began to assert its power in Europe, and the king's aggressive policies towards Italy and Germany weakened the position of the Spanish crown.

Second, Louis XIV's ruthless foreign policy did not only destabilize the Spanish Habsburg empire, it also reduced the United Provinces of the Netherlands to submission. Intendants played a crucial role in this policy. The French monarch was ambitious and renowned for his military prowess. The king wanted his dynasty to expand into a world that would rival the Spanish Habsburg empire.

July 29, 2022



Medieval Europe

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Louis Xiv

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