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Louis XIV

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On such terms of unrighteousness what we may call “Grand Monarchy” established itself in France. Louis XIV, styled the Grand Monarque, reigned for the unparalleled length of seventy-two years (1643-1715), and set a pattern for all the kings of Europe. At first he was guided by his Machiavellian minister, Cardinal Mazarin; after the death of the Cardinal he himself in his own proper person became the ideal “Prince.” He was, within his limitations, an exceptionally capable king; his ambition was stronger than his baser passions, and he guided his country towards bankruptcy through the complication of a spirited foreign policy, with an elaborate dignity that still extorts our admiration.

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Outline of History - Being a Plain History of Life and Mankind, by H. G. Wells published 1920