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An Atheist Manifesto by Sam Harris

By Sam Harris

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His policies were therefore designed to ensure that France could sustain her forces in war until victorious. The problem was that there appeared to be no means of maintaining the country’s economic buoyancy in the wake of such costly enterprises. Before the end of Louis’s reign the establishment of the Bank of England (1694) provided the king’s enemies with a solution. The Rise of the Phélypeaux However, such a sophisticated financial mechanism could not be readily adapted to France’s political structure.

There had been acts of gratuitous violence too, which underlined the arrogance and ruthlessness of French conduct: the scorched earth policy during the Dutch War and the destruction by naval barrage of the free city of Genoa (1684) for having the effrontery to assist Spain. Louis subsequently refused to make peace with the city until its civic leaders had visited Versailles to demonstrate their abject submission before the Sunking. Louis himself must bear the responsibility for such actions, though he was following the promptings of his secretaries of state for war and the navy, Louvois and Colbert’s son, the Marquis de 40 FOREIGN POLICY Seignelay, who succeeded his father in 1683.

Already during the War of Devolution mediation by a Triple Alliance, consisting of the Dutch Republic, England and Sweden, had helped to persuade Louis to embrace a policy of moderation. He totally abandoned that policy during the Dutch War. In 1672 the French armies crossed the Rhine via the imperial bishopric of Liège and entered the Dutch Republic. They carried all before them and the Dutch States-General promptly sued for peace. Louis’s terms amounted to a demand for unconditional LOUIS XIV 37 surrender, and the opportunity for peace passed.

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