How was King Louis XIV’s absolutist regime an ideal example of Machiavelli’s lessons of power as expressed in The Prince?

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gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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King Louis XIV was an absolute monarch, with all the powers of state vested absolutely in him. He ruled without any chief minister, a first in those days, and ordered his staff to seek his permission for any work. He brought in fiscal, legal and military reforms and removed the older monarchical structure where independent Generals and nobles had enough power to oppose him; this is probably what led to his extremely long regime of 72 years. He also managed to control the aristocracy by housing them at his palace in Versailles, which also served as his court. He also prohibited the raising of local armies by the nobles, thus effectively converting them into courtiers, and promoted people of common descent to senior positions.

King Louis XIV is an example of Machiavelli's ideal prince. His work focuses on guidelines for survival as a monarch (prince) and what qualities are necessary to achieve that goal. For example, Machiavelli stated that a prince should not be too generous and should use severity, especially with military, to gain respect and absolute control. He also suggested that a prince must exhibit mercy, honesty, humaneness, uprightness and religiousness at all times. King Louis exhibited many of the traits of the ideal prince, as described by Machiavelli.

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