Section 3.15 The Disintegration and Reconstruction of France
Question to consider • To what extent did the monarchy succeed in imposing unity on France by the second half of the 16th century? What is meant by the term “feudal” as used after the Middle Ages? • Describe the background, nature, and outcome of the civil and religious wars in France in the 16th century. • Of what long-range significance was the position taken by the politiques in the civil wars in France? • How did Henry IV come to the throne in 1589? What is the deeper meaning of the remark, “Paris is well worth a Mass”? • How did Henry IV attempt to settle the religious issue? Of what significance was his reign for the development of the French monarchy? • How would you assess the objectives and accomplishments of Cardinal Richelieu?
Political and Religious Disunity • France and Germany collapsed as a result of religious turmoil • Religious wars in France were political and religiously based • New form of feudal rebellion against a higher central authority
What divided France? • Feudal Rights and Religious Diversity • Centralism vs. localism • New Monarchies tried to centralize administration • Challenges to the centralization came from • over 300 different legal systems in 300 small regions • bonnes villes (good towns) stubbornly held onto their corporate rights
What divided France? • Religious Diversity • Catholicism official state religion (Concordat of Bologna (1516) • Calvinism attracted nobles (Huguenots) • Over 33% nobility became Calvinist • laws allowed lords to regulate religion in their estates • gave them opportunity to appoint Calvinistic preachers • Towns leaned toward Protestantism (bourgeois oligarchy) • Unskilled laboring population remained Catholic
Civil and Religious Wars 1560-1600 • Huguenots saw opportunity to gain power over weak monarchs (Francis II (d. 1560), Charles IX (d. 1574), and Henry III (d. 1589) • Catherine de Medici –regent ruler • Perpetrated the The St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre • against the Huguenots in Paris for Navarre’s wedding • 20 thousand murdered
The Politiques • Out of chaos rose third party called the Politiques • said that too much was being made of religion • What was needed was civil order • Had a secular rather than a religious view • Overlook religious ideas if citizens obey the king
Henry Bourbon of Navarre • A Politique • Pragmatist and would use the Politique idea to gain the throne • Jean Bodin • first to discuss the modern theory of sovereignty • every society must have 1 power strong enough to give law • in France = absolutism • Sovereignty of the state emerges as the political model in the west to the present
End of the Wars: Reconstruction under Henry IV • 1589 Henry III of France and Henry of Guise are assassinated • next legal inheritor is Henry Bourbon (of Navarre) (Henry IV) • Henry of Navarre brings the Bourbon dynasty to the throne • a Huguenot but recognized that Catholicism was the faith of the majority • Converts to Catholicism in 1593 • “Paris is well worth a mass.”
End of the Wars: Reconstruction under Henry IV • Issued the Edict of Nantes to quiet the Huguenots • Protestants civil rights are protected • Gave Protestants the rights to defend themselves and maintain private armies (had 100 fortified towns) • Parlements refused to recognize the Edict • Silenced them by granting favors to Jesuits
End of the Wars: Reconstruction under Henry IV • Henry IV begins rebuilding France • “A chicken in the pot for every Frenchmen” • repaired roads, began rebuilding of business, ect. • Never summons the estates general • Laid the foundations for absolutism • 1610 Henry IV is killed by Catholic fanatic
Cardinal Richelieu • Governments of Marie de Medici and her son Louis XIII administered by Cardinal Richelieu • Cardinal but really a politique • Advances mercantilism • Encouraged nobility to develop interests in commerce without loss of title or status • Encouraged merchants with grants of titles of nobility • Developed “commercial companies”
Peace of Alais • Prohibits private warfare and orders the destruction of fortified castles not used by the king • Peace of Alais amends the Edict of Nantes after Protestant uprising is put down • Huguenots can not share political power, can not keep private armies • Huguenots can practice Protestantism • Path toward absolutism is being widened Cardinal Richelieu at the Siege of La Rochelle.