Peter the Great and Louis the XIV

March 19, 2010
By Bobby Forman BRONZE, Melbourne, Florida
Bobby Forman BRONZE, Melbourne, Florida
3 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Peter the Great and Louis the XIV were some of the best rulers of their time. They both ruled in a similar method. Peter the Great was one of the best Tsars Russia has ever seen by brining in the new age. Louis the XIV was one of the most disliked kings of France during his rule, but now is seen as one of France’s best rulers in history. But just how remarkably similar were these two men?
Peter the Great was one of the greatest Tsars in the history of Russia. When his father, Alexis I, died, a man named Artamon Matveev stepped into Peter the Great’s life. Matveev supported Peter the Great for the throne when his brother Theodor III died. However, the Miloslavskys who had an heir to the throne, Ivan, did not want this to happen. The Miloslavskys had the backing of the Streltsy, the first professional Russian military unit (22,000 strong), who soon targeted Peter the Great and his family. The Streltsy revolt occurred when Peter the Great was only 10, scaring him for the rest of his life. His family and close friends were targeted and killed. Peter the Great’s rule began in 1682, when he and his half brother co-ruled under the regency of his half sister, Sophia Miloslavskya. When chaos overtook the government during Sophia’s rule, in 1689 Peter the Great felt strong enough to over throw her rule and became sole tsar of Russia. After the pain of the Streltsy revolt Peter the Great desired to move the capitol of Russia to a new city. Rather than move it to an existing city, he decided to build a new one to rival the luxury of Versailles. This city was named St. Petersburg, founded in 1703 in east Russia near the Baltic Sea. Peter the Great was focused on bringing Russia into the new age since Russia was so far behind other European nations. During the earlier years of his reign, Peter the Great traveled around Europe and was fascinated by what he saw. He returned to Russia when a rebellion started, he crushed the rebellion, and he brought modern reform to Russia. The Russian Orthodox Church was also reformed under Peter the Great’s rule. With his decree, the church was under supervision of the government by the Chief Procurator who was a secular government representative. He is also credited with creating the first Russian navy and also various naval academies. Peter the Great may not have been liked during his time, but he truly shaped Russia into what it is today.
Louis the XIV was one of the most productive and powerful leaders in France’s history. He was born in September of 1638 to Louise the XIII and Anne of Austria. When his father died he took the throne with his mother as regent and Cardinal Giulio Mazarin as Minister of the Crown. These two rulers caused civil unrest in French society because foreigners now ruled the French people. This unrest eventually led to a French civil war called the Fronde. The Fronde was a war between the nobility against the regent Anne of Austria, but not Louis the XIV. Because he was so young, he perceived the nobility targeting his mother as though were targeting him. When he took the throne, this led to a hatred of the nobility and it also led to the move of the capitol of France to near by Versailles, a palace grander than all in Europe. Louise the XIV’s hatred of the nobility led him to keep them under a very watchful eye and to try to keep them out of his government. He did his by requiring the nobility to live at Versailles for a part of the year, keeping them caught up in the many parties he hosted and the social affairs of everyday life at Versailles. To keep the Nobility under his watch, he also set up one of the largest spy rings in history. He was an extremely powerful ruler because he was able to collect taxes without having to call the French Estates General, a major feat not completed by any other ruler. One of his major goals in life was to destroy the Hapsburgs power around Europe. This ruler called him self the Sun King because just as the earth can’t survive without the sun, he thought France couldn’t survive without him. Louis the XIV also greatly expanded the French army, a necessity since he was at war for 33 years of his 54-year reign. He increased the size of the army from 25,000 troops at the end of Louis the XIII’s reign to 250,000 at the end of Louis the XIV’s reign.
These two rulers had very many of the same ruling styles, yet they often had many different ruling styles too. One of the major similarities was having major traumatic events in their childhood, the Streltsy revolt for Peter the Great and the Fronde for Louis the XIV. The Streltsy revolt was much more traumatic for Peter the Great than the Fronde was for Louise the XIV; however, the similarity between the two events is still remarkable. Like Peter the Great, Louis the XIV wanted complete control of his people or, as he said, “One king, one law, one faith”. They also worked at improving their militaries, and they both greatly succeeded. Peter the Great set the Russian navy on the track to what it is today. Peter the Great and Louis the XIV both tried to manipulate and control the nobility to maintain their power. Their major goals however were different. Peter the Great’s overall goal was to bring Russia into the new age or up to date. Louis the XIV’s major goals however, were to destroy Hapsburg power in Europe and to expand the French territory. They both used their new cities to keep a more watchful eye on the nobility in their country.
In conclusion Louis the XIV and Peter the Great were remarkably similar rulers, they also led remarkably similar lives. These men were some of the greatest rulers in history, is it by coincidence that two of the best rulers were also so alike?

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This article has 2 comments.

Duuh said...
on Feb. 16 2017 at 10:28 am
Great minds think alike

on May. 25 2016 at 9:37 am
0 articles 0 photos 6 comments
no one cares

kumara said...
on Jan. 16 2015 at 7:27 pm
Very interesting article. I actually found it because I was researching similarities between Lous XIV and Akhnaten, the Egyptian pharao. Maybe you can add him to your list of similar rulers as I find the parallels quite staggering.

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