Reasons why Louis XIV failed/wasn't successful in his late foreign policy 1685-1715?

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Strenght of Louis' enemies

  • Leopold/Austria: defeat of Turks at Siege of Vienna + battle of Mohacs, allowing Leopold to concentrate on his western provinces + combat Louis
  • William of Orange: in 1688 he became William III of England, therefore uniting Eng. + Dutch forces against Louis.
    • Under Anne, Eng. remained an opponent of Louis + it coincided with her best generals eg. Duke of Marlborough
      • Name defeats like:
        • 1704-Blenheim
        • 1706-Ramilles
        • 1708- Oudenaarde
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Weakness of France

  • Financially very weak, especially after 2 long wars, 9yrs war+ war of **
    • Privileged classes didn't pay, therefore third estate had to take most of the burden. New taxes were introduced eg. Capitation/ Tenth/ indirect taxes + sale of offices & loans- led to bankrupcy
  • Military weaker
    • weaker generals eg. Duc de Burgundy, Villeroy- better generals have died, eg Turenne, Conde
    • Lack of money- underfunding of army- can't equip army with latest technology
    • Fighting on 4 fronts, weakened Louis' army
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Louis' personality/ overconfidence

  • Defensive actions often looked aggressive
    • Taking of Cologne
    • Taking of Phillipsburg
    • Taking of fortresses off the Dutch- created many enemies- faced large alliances against him eg. League of Augsburg
  • Attack on Huguenots
    • Created more enemies- even Pope said that Christ didn't use force to convert people
    • Many Huguenots joined enemy armies
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  • Death of Archbishop of Cologne in 1688 was very unfortunate, leading to disagreements with Pope
  • Death of Joseph Ferdinand in 1698 led to failure of Partition treaty. He was the compromise candidate
  • Death of Louis' key generals & ministers eg. Colbert, Lionne, Turenne

HOWEVER some good luck

  • Emperor Leopold I died in 1711, therefore Archduke Charles would inherit Austrian Empire- it made Philip V look the better candidate for Spanish throne
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