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Louis XV

Domestic Policies

The domestic abuses of Louis XIV's rule and the disastrous financial policy of the regency were partly liquidated by Fleury, but the extravagances of Louis XV's court, the expense of warfare, and the defeat of attempts at reform left the monarchy weak by the time of the king's death. Efforts to reform the inequitable tax system failed, as did the attempt by René Nicolas de Maupeou to suppress opposition to reform from the parlement.

Throughout Louis's reign, the aristocracy asserted more influence, and the upper bourgeoisie gained more financial power. The country knew general prosperity, but the government was near bankruptcy. The apathy of Louis XV in the face of these problems found expression in the saying "Après moi le déluge" [after me, the flood], wrongly attributed to the king himself. The failure of the monarchy to solve its fiscal difficulties led directly to the French Revolution during the reign of Louis's successor, Louis XVI.

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

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