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Louis XIV vs. Peter the Great

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    Louis XIV was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as the king of both France and Navarre with one of the longest reigns in European history with a span of over 72 years starting from when he was five years old. On the other hand, Peter the Great was a leader who ruled the Russian Empire and steered the Tsardom into becoming a huge empire which became a major European power. The efforts of Louis XIV and Peter the Great to gain absolute control over their respective countries were strikingly similar, yet had few differences as they each used forms of political, religious, and societal advantages towards national domination.

    Louis XIV and Peter were similar in the way they used political strategies for gain. For example, they manipulated the nobility in a way in which they were under complete control which was evident in how Louis enticed nobles with his castle at Versailles and Peter’s founding of St. Petersburg. Also, Louis ruled through councils that controlled foreign affairs, the army, domestic administration, and economic regulations just as Peter reorganized his domestic administration to sustain his own personal authority and fight rampant corruption by creating eight colleges to oversee the collection of taxes, foreign relations, war, and economic affairs. However, one dissimilarity included how Peter forced people to join the Russian army as he drafted almost 300, 000 soldiers while Louis XIV allowed people the freedom of choice.

    There were also a few ways in which Louis and Peter used religion as a method to gain absolute control. Firstly, Louis had suppressed the Jansenists and later revoked the Edict of Nantes while Peter also suppressed the independence of the Russian Orthodox Church and turned religion into a government office which was known as the Holy Synod. One difference, however, in their religious beliefs included the way in which they tolerated the beliefs of multiple religions. Louis XIV was a strict Catholic and believed that Catholicism should be the only religion practiced in France while Peter the Great accepted diversity and welcomed Catholics, Lutherans, and Protestants which contributed to his peaceful reign without much religious rebellion.

    Lastly, Louis XIV and Peter shared similar views on society, but some of their methods differed. Firstly, Louis XIV made sure that the nobility and other major social groups would benefit from the growth of his own authority. In a similar fashion, Peter also became highly skilled in balancing these groups while never completely excluding one group. Louis XIV chose not to be involved in the life of everyday people such as by not abolishing any noble institutions or limiting their local authority. However, Peter would brutally suppress revolts with private tortures and public executions. Not only that, but he also shaved the long beards of the boyars and sheared off the customary long hand-covering sleeves of their shirts and coats. The way that Peter and Louis XIV decided to handle societal affairs represents the similarity in their techniques to gain absolute control of the country.

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