Wars of the Austrian and Spanish Succession

Treaty of Utrecht (1713) makes Spain 2nd rate power: Austria got the Spanish Netherlands along with most of Spain's Italisn possessions, England got Gibraltar and Minorca. Spain now a backward province of France. Austria did well, but Charles VI an idiot and unable to stand up to a rising Prussia. England now has easy access to European ports and a free hand to build an empire in America.

Treaty also legitimatized self-determination: Ratified 1688 in England, forced Louis to renounce rights of Philip in France, and forced him to drop The Old Pretender. Revolution now both possible and acceptable.

At death of Louis XIV his grandson Louis XV took over with his dissipated Uncle the Duke of Orléans as regent. Debt proportionally 7 times that of France in 1914, and France spends twice each year what it takes in.

John Law, his Banque Royale, and the Mississippi Bubble (cf. South Sea Bubble in England under George I).

Louis reaches majority at age 13 (1723) and rules for 50 years (till 1774). His character. His tutor Cardinal Fleury becomes his minister in 1726 at the age of 73. Has Louis marry Maria Leczinski, daughter of the ex-king of Poland, to save crown from Philip V of Spain. Fleury hates war and even balances books in 1738--last time till Napoleon. "Laissez faire et laissez passer" looks forward to physiocrats of Louis XVI and the free trade of Adam Smith. War of Polish Succession (1733-5) not a real interruption of peace, but Fleury couldn't stop war mongers of the 1740's who brought on wars of the Austrian Succession and undid all his good work.

Fleury dies in 1743 and Mme Pompadour rules till her death in 1764. Much to do with Austrian alliance of 1756. In Louis' last years the rest of Europe ruled by enlightened despots--Frederick II in Prussia, Maria Theresa and Joseph II in Austria, Catherine II in Russia--but Louis hunted and gave parties and was ruled by his second mistress, Mme. du Barry. Louis' court cost £11,000,000 while the national revenue was only £25,000,000! Du Barry spent £3,000,000 in 3 years. Rich and clergy avoided the 5% income tax and passed it on to the taille paid by the poor. "Après moi, le déluge!"

Poland large in 17th century--included Lithuania, Little Russia (Kiev) and White Russia (Smolensk), and East Prussia--but surrounded by enemies. Very weak government: pacta conventa for the king and disastrous liberum veto for the Diet. Anarchy!

War of the Polish Succession started in 1733: Louis wanted crown for his father-in-law Stanislas Leczinsky, who was elected by 64,000 nobles but driven out by Austria and Saxony.

Fleury hated the war but wanted Lorraine. Its heir Francis had just married Maria Theresa, daughter of HRE Charles VI and heiress to the throne. France won, and by Treaty of Vienna (1735) Stanislas gave up Polish throne in exchange for crown of Lorraine. Ruled at Nice till he died, and Lorraine passed to France. Triumph for Fleury!

War of Austrian Succession broke out in 1740. In 1713 Charles VI had passed Pragmatic Sanction to guarantee succession of Holy Roman Empire to his daughter Maria Theresa, but he couldn't enforce it. Meanwhile, Frederick the Great, newly crowned King of Prussia, wanted Silesia. Contained upper Oder river, lead to Vienna, separated Saxony and Poland (both of which he wanted), so he invaded. Only England backed the Sanction against him.

Fleury against the war, but anti-Austria party took control (Louis out to lunch), joined Frederick, and occupied Prague for Charles of Bavaria, who was elected HRE in 1742.

As Queen of Hungary Maria Theresa appealed to Hungarian Diet--"Moriamur pro rege nostra!"--but forced to sign Treaty of Breslau (1742) giving up Silesia. Treaty published by Frederick without consulting French, who are then driven out of Prague by the Austrians. Stabbed in the back! End of First Silesian War.

In inevitable Second Silesian War Frederick invades Bohemia, seizes Prague, and takes Saxony. Out of fear France again sides with Frederick against England, Spain, and Austria. In 1745 HRE Francis dies and his son gives up crown to Maria Theresa. War still drags on until Peace of Aix (1748): Austria gives up Silesia to Frederick, but France stupidly gives up its conquests in Italy and the Netherlands, agrees to leave Dunkirk unfortified, and kicks Bonny Prince Charlie out of France. Outrage in France against the treaty and Louis. Stabbed in the back again!