Louis's reign can be characterized by the remark attributed to him, "L'état, c'est moi" [I am the state]. Louis continued the nobility's exemption from taxes but forced its members into financial dependence on the crown, thus creating a court nobility occupied with ceremonial etiquette and petty intrigues. The provincial nobles also lost political power. Louis used the bourgeoisie to build his centralized bureaucracy. He curtailed local authorities and created specialized ministries, filled by professionals responsible to him. Under his minister Jean Baptiste Colbert industry and commerce expanded on mercantilist principles and a navy was developed. The war minister, the marquis de Louvois, established the foundations of French military greatness.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.