Louis XIV Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

With this lesson plan and materials from Study.com, you'll have everything you need to help your students better understand the reign of Louis XIV, the Sun King, and the resulting transformation of France.

Lesson Objectives

  • Describe the reign of Louis XIV
  • Analyze how Louis XIV transformed the French state with respect to the nobility

Length

40 minutes plus 40 minutes for activity

Materials

  • Samples of various political cartoons

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.2

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.

Key Terms

  • Sun King (0:23)
  • Cardinal Mazarin (1:08)
  • the Fronde (1:27)
  • Palace of Versailles (4:37)

Warm up

Begin this lesson by reviewing the feudal system, specifically how nobility often held more power than the king. Then discuss how events such as the Magna Carta and Peasants Revolt in England divided power between royalty and nobility, while the Reconquista largely concentrated power in the hands of the Spanish monarch.

Instructions

Watch the lesson The Reign of Louis XIV in France: Accomplishments & Influence, pausing for the above key terms and these points of discussion:

  • 1:08 - How old was Louis when his father died? What influence do you think that had on his reign?
  • 2: 57 - What role did the Fronde play in Louis' ruling style? Do you think he would have become an absolute monarch had the Fronde not happened?
  • 4:02 - How did the French operate before Louis' reforms? What do you think of his reforms? What impact do you think his reforms had on how the military operated?
  • 4:37 - What is the advantage of the grand ordinances? How did they demonstrate royal power? Why was this such a change from earlier? Also, what do you think the reaction of the nobility was to the new reforms and old taxes?
  • 5:37 - Why do you think Louis moved the French court to Versailles? How do you think the grandiose nature of the court influenced politics?

Activity

To make sure students really grasp the impact of Louis XIV's reign, the class will put the Sun King on trial to see if he his reign truly benefitted France.

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