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Relations with other European countries


Louis XV
Louis XV

Fleury tried to restore the nation’s strength by avoiding wars abroad and pacifying domestic disputes, such as those over Jansenism. After Louis XIV’s death, the regency had scaled back the military to reduce costs. Fleury wanted to maintain this policy, at least until the state was fiscally stronger. Under his regime, France, which for a time was uncharacteristically allied with England, took the lead in calming international tensions. But during the mid-1730s, France became engaged in the War of the Polish Succession and thereby acquired rights to the provinces of Bar and Lorraine, which passed into the French royal domain in 1766.

Despite Fleury’s efforts to stay on good terms with England and Austria, an anti-Austrian party in the government pushed France into participating in the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748) as an ally of Prussia against Austria, the Netherlands, and Britain. Initially the war did not go well. Austrian troops ravaged eastern France, and Charles Edward Stuart, a claimant to the British throne who had the unsteady support of France, failed to topple the Hanoverians, the British royal house. But France eventually succeeded on the battlefield, capturing a number of cities in the Netherlands. Partly because of fiscal pressures, partly because Fleury had trained Louis XV not to act the conqueror like Louis XIV, France settled for much less than it might have gotten in the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, which ended the war in 1748. France returned its conquests in the Netherlands and agreed to exile the highly regarded Charles Edward. The treaty precipitated an outbreak of public protest, and the monarchy’s popularity declined. "France" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.

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