Louis XV

   king of France
   Louis XV was born at Versailles, the great-grandson of louis XIV, whom he succeeded at age five. philippe, duke of Orleans, served as regent until Louis reached his legal majority in 1723. In 1725, Louis married marie leszczynska, the daughter of Stanislaus I of Poland. The next year, andré-hercule, Cardinal de fleury became Louis XV's chief minister. under Fleury, France had a stable administration for the next two decades.
   An intelligent but skeptical and somewhat weak-willed and erratic king, Louis remained in nominal control but took only a sporadic interest in affairs of state, and he did not follow a consistent policy at home or abroad. often he was influenced by his mistresses, especially the marquise de PoMpadour and Mme du barry. During Louis XV's reign, France was involved in various wars. Through the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), France gained the province of Lorraine. The next conflict, the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48) marked the beginning of a new colonial struggle with Britain, but was indecisive. In the seven years' war (1756-63), France lost most of its overseas territories to Britain. During this period, foreign policy, too, was affected by Louis xV's secret diplomacy, in which his agents in other countries at times pursued goals that were in conflict with those of his own ministers.
   Through the efforts of a new minister, however, the duke de choiseul, during the 1760s the situation improved to an extent. In the later years of his reign, Louis XV cooperated with rené de maupeau, his chancellor (eventually in a triumvirate with JOSEPH MARIE, ABBÉ TERRAY, and EMMANUEL, DUKE d'aiguillon), in an attempt to reform the fiscal tax structures. The parlements, which had opposed reform, were reorganized in 1771 and lost their power to oppose royal decrees, as a more authoritarian regime developed. Some efforts were also made to tax the clergy and nobility, but these were halted after Louis xV's death. During Louis xV's reign, criticism against despotism came from the philosophes and the writers of the Encyclopédie, and there was a growing interest in reform. Louis left a monarchy somewhat weakened, but with French civilization still at its peak.

France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.

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