Louis XIV., 1661-1715
Domestic Policy
Louis XVI., 1774-1789
Domestic Policy
Louis XV., 1715-1774
Domestic Policy
Louis XV., 1715-1774
the Economy

France under Louis XV. : Domestic Policy

LOUIS XV., born 1710, inherited the crown of France in 1715, while still in infancy. First, the DUKE OF BOURBON ruled as regent (1715-1723), then the CARDINAL FLEURY (1723-1743). After Fleury's death, Louis XV., emulating his grandfather, reigned personally. His mistress 1745-1750, MADAME DE POMPADOUR and his close friend until her death in 1764, she exerted great influence on him and indirectly on French politics. In 1768 MADAME DU BARRY was installed as official royal mistress (-1774). From 1758 to 1770, the DUKE OF CHOISEUL was in charge of France's external policy. RENE NICOLAS DE MAUPEOU was chancellor of France 1768-1774.
Louis XV. lacked the interest and the energy his grandfather LOUIS XIV. had invested in the administration of the country. Under Louis XV., the expensive court household at Versailles (resp. at other royal chateaux) continued to be a burden, to which the many wars added.
With VOLTAIRE, criticism of domestic policy set in, to which Louis responded by abolishing censorship (1740) and appointing Voltaire court historian; yet Louis XV. was not the enlightened monarch Voltaire had hoped for France; he is quoted to have said "Apres moi, le deluge" (AFTER ME, THE FLOOD). Louis XV. forbade the publication of Diderot's ENCYCLOPEDIE in 1757. The JESUITS were expelled from France (1764).
Frances regional and local representative bodies, the parlements and city councils, opposed the costly administration of the kingdom; chancellor de Maupeau (1768-1774) pursued a policy of dismissing the obstinate parlaments and city councils (1771), reforming the judicial system by introducing superior courts and enforcing higher taxation. This policy was widely resented, especially by the nobility; when Louis XVI. ascended to the throne, he dismissed de Maupeau and reintroduced the parlements.

Biographies from chateauversailles
La monarchie absolue et son declin : Le Grand Siecle et le Siecle des Lumieres, from BNF
The reign of Louis XV. (1723-1774), from culture.fr
Louis XV., L'Enfance du Bien Aime, from Histoire Geographie sur le Web, in French, covers period until 1723
Louis XV., domestic policies, from infoplease
Biography of R.N. de Maupeau, from infoplease
Louis XV., le bien aime, from Arbre Genealogique abrege de la Maison de Bourbon
Madame de Pompadour, from Women's History Resource Site, from Chateau Cirey - Residence of Voltaire, from histoire.org, in French
Etienne-Francois, Duke de Choiseul, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Andre-Hercule de Fleury, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Biography of Mme du Barry, from histoire.org, in French; from Peoples and Places of the French Revolution
DOCUMENTS Portrait of the Duke of Choiseul, by Alexander Roslin, from culture.fr
Antoine Coisevox, Louis XV. as a child of six (1715), from The Frick Collection
F.H. Drouais, portrait of Mme de Pompadour, 1763-1764, from Web Gallery of Art
Menu du souper de Louis XV, le 17 aout 1757 au chateau de Choisy, from Dept. Hotellerie des Lycees Jacques Coeur de Borges
Painting : F. le Moyne, Louis XV., 1729, from JPGT
Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun. Portraits of Mme du Barry, from Vigee le Brun Home Page
Mme du Barry, portrait by F.H. Drouais, posted by Gallery of Art
Memoirs of Louis XV and XVI (complete) by Madame Du Hausset and Princess of Lamballe, from Project Gutenberg, downloadable
Les dessins a la sanguine des medailles du regne de Louis XV attribues a Edme Bouchardon, posted by Archives Monetaires, French language site posting images of medals minted under Louis XV.
French Medals, 18th Century, from Medal Web, Benjamin Weiss Collection
REFERENCE John Rogister,Queen Marie Leszczynska and Faction at the French Court 1725-1768, pp.186-220 in : Clarissa Campbell Orr, Queenship in Europe, 1660-1815. The Role of Consort, Cambridge : UP 2004, KMLA Lib.Sign. 940.09 076q

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on January 6th 2002; last revised on February 22nd 2006

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