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Louis XI

Characteristics of Louis's Reign

A born diplomat, Louis skillfully checked his foreign and domestic enemies and set up an efficient central administration. He used commissions (and the one States-General he convoked) to give his acts the appearance of popular approval. He diminished the prestige of the courts. Despite his revocation (1461) of his father's pragmatic sanction of Bourges, he intervened freely in church affairs. He imposed heavy taxes, using much of the revenue to purchase support. He also encouraged industry and expanded domestic and foreign trade. Louis preferred men of humble origin, and among his advisers were Olivier Le Daim, Louis Tristan L'Hermite, and Cardinal Balue, whom he rewarded liberally, though he was niggardly in his own expenses. Fearing assassination, he spent his last years in virtual self-imprisonment near Tours. He was succeeded by his son, Charles VIII.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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