How Do Political, Economic and Social Realities of a Society Shape Its Perceptions and Ability to Make War?
Political Economic and Social Realities of 17th Century France
Political, economic and social realities of a society can significantly shape its perceptions and ability to make war. At his death, King Louis XIV’s final words were, “I have loved war too much.” In this reflection, King Louis XIV no doubt considered his many conquests as the longest reigning monarch in France, but more importantly, his words gives rise to the systemic political and social changes that revolutionized warfare in seventeenth-century France. Generally, revolutions in military affairs (RMA) convey technological and organizational developments and advancements in military tactics. According to Rogers, “military revolutions comprise four elements: technological
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Additionally, France had “the advantage over its enemies, that its troops are well served for their subsistence; other nations … do not enjoy the use of caissons …nor do other nations have well placed magazines … to allow their armies to subsist….” The increase in logistical support directly contributed to the professional proficiency and growth of the army. “This increase in numbers constituted the most important change in seventeenth-century land warfare.” The cost of training and sustaining a full-time army contributed to increased fixed expenses for the army and additional civil administrators who would manage the force. The additional cost associated with force management placed an additional tax burden on the populous of France, and spearheaded structural changes in civil administration. Louis XIV’s mentor and chief minister, Cardinal Mazarin, facilitated policies that centralized government, and reorganized the management of the army from a military controlled army to a civilian style administration. Following the death of Cardinal Mazarin, Louis XIV divided Mazarin’s scope of authority amongst Jean-Baptiste Colbert who served as France’s finance minister and his secretary of war, Michel Le Tellier, who “redefined military administration." According to Guerlac, “the improvement in organization, discipline,