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France in the 17th Century Essay

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Updated: Sep 15th, 2021

Explain how the nobility in seventeenth-century France retained their preeminence despite measures, Richelieu took to curb their power and a changing economy.

Rebellions and plots among the nobility were very common, however, they were repressed. Governors were watched by counselors of state. Richelieu was considered to be the person responsible for the decline of nobility’s power. The land was the source of income and nobility’s power. With the influx of American gold into Europe, the new form of wealth started to evolve. Bourgeoisie increased their wealth; however, they still were inferior to the noble class. Peasants remained poor and were under the burden of heavy taxes. Life expectancy at birth was only twenty years. Despite the measures taken by Richelieu to change the economy, nobility retained their preeminence because of social position and power. They were powerful and their influence was historical.

Discuss the reasons for the open conflict between Louis XIII and the Hapsburg monarchs.

The desire to gain control over the monarchy has led to the open conflicts between Louis XIII and the Hapsburg monarchs. The nobility demanded the abolition of the heredity of offices. The queen received complaints about the pensions paid to the nobles. Louis XIII wanted to have control over all affairs including political, social, and economic, while the Hapsburg monarchs did not want to lose their influence as well. As the result, the open conflict between the two parties evolved. The conflict could not be resolved in the short run because both sides possessed power and wealth. The queen was unable to resolve the conflict as well. As the result, the tension between Louis XIII and the Hapsburg monarchy intensified with each side striving for more power and influence over state affairs.

Describe three ways in which Richelieu’s policies were beneficial for France.

First, Richelieu created a new system of taxes and appointed new collection taxes. Peasants were oppressed, inflation continued, and taxes were too high. Violence and bloody revolts were very often. One of the beneficial policies was an initiative to handle disturbances gently by local authorities. Second, Richelieu was aware of the benefits navies gave to England and the Netherlands. He constructed and bought vessels, formed two strong fleets, and secured the benefits of colonial trade for France. This initiative strengthened the French economic situation and ensured the growth of foreign trade. Third, Richelieu had a duty to protect the clergy; however, he ensured that its influence was exercised only to serve the state. He established press offices to issue books and brochures on the new policies. With the support of Richelieu, France became more developed and stronger domestically and in the international economic and political arena.

Summarize the measures Henry IV and Sully took to give economic and political security to France.

Sully established a rigorous economy, made embezzling tax collections, and recovered royal rights. He annulled the part of the crown dept and reduced by half the interests on the loans. These measures were beneficial for forty thousand people because Sully forgave the poorest of their back taxes and reduced the rate of taille. In addition, he established a new tax for those who wanted to pursue judgeships and financial posts. The effect of his measures was the securitization of French economic and political life. Peasants and lower society were relieved of the heavy tax burden, while the upper society became more responsible in their choice of posts. Sully forbidden lords to hunt in cultivated fields and vineyards and punished pillaging by soldiers. Tax collectors were barred from seizing the cattle and tools of peasants who could not pay their taxes. In other words, Sully protected the rights of peasants and gave them an opportunity to develop economically.

In the middle of the seventeenth century, the Catholic renaissance reached its height. Discuss the causes briefly and comment on the effects of this spiritual reawakening on the social and political life of the time.

The Catholic renaissance has changed French society and the effect was positive. Renaissance was related to the Counterreformation and the wars of religion in the sixteenth century. At the same time, wars of religion gave the French community a religious revival. Numerous religious books were translated and spread among the population promoting piety and spirituality. Catholic renaissance contributed to the proliferation of religious communities: hundreds of new religious houses were established. The special emphasis was made on educating the youth. Even though colleges were open only to sons of upper classes, aristocrats, and bourgeois, the number of educated people steadily increased. Efforts were made to provide better training. Women and men of the upper class were interested in theology and applied themselves to charity and piety. The lowest social classes benefited from the renaissance as well because their needs were taken into account.

Identify the two Frondes and show how their challenge to Mazarin and Anne of Austria led to greater royal authority.

There were two Frondes: the Parlementary Fronde and the Fronde of the Princes. Parlement declared itself in rebellion against Mazarin. Nevertheless, the resistance quickly eroded because it was undermined by divisions among the rebels. Nobles were thoughtless and hoped for foreign assistance. As the result, the regent had Conte, the Prince of Conti, and Duke of Longueville arrested. The Fronde of the Princes were supported by Parisian and Parliamentary Fronde. Two Frondes united, however, the months that followed were filled with confusion and absurd events. Conde returned to the province of Guyenne, while the queen fled to Poitiers. The Fronde contributed to the destruction of the country and strengthened the faith of the population in the power of royal authority. Fronders sought to limit the arbitrary power of royalty, however, their efforts had negative consequences for the population.

Compare the relationship of Richelieu with Louis XIII with that of Mazarin and the young Louis XIV.

Mazarin enjoyed unchallenged power and was in complete charge of the government. His power was granted to him by Louis XIV. Mazarin has become a very close friend to Louis XIV, showed him fatherly affection, and prepared him for the duties of a king. Louis XIV trusted Mazarin and gave him freedom in political and economic activities. Louis XIV did not intrude into policies introduced by Mazarin. As the result, Mazarin took ample care of his own interests.

Unlike friendly relations between Louis XIV and Mazarin, the relations between Louis XIII and Richelieu were not as affectionate. The king was hesitant to confide in Richelieu. Nevertheless, Louis XIII considered the cardinal to be the only person capable of conducting affairs of state effectively and supported him against the world.

Discuss how Mazarin’s foreign policy, culminating in two major treaties, made France the dominant power in Europe.

The two treaties of Westphalia and the Pyrenees contributed to the triumph of France over Austria and made France the dominant power in Europe. The Treaties of Westphalia were concerned mainly with Germany: the princes were granted the right to impose their religion on their subjects and the imperial crown remained elective. Princes retained all of their sovereign rights, however, the new constitution of Germany gave France immense political advantages.

France was given a guarantee of its security as well as an opportunity to intervene in the affairs of the empire. Mazarin was the person to discuss the terms of the Peace of Pyrenees. As the result of this treaty, the possessions of France were recognized (Roussillon and Cer-dagne in the south, and Artois and several strong points in Flanders and Luxembourg, including Thionville, in the north). Due to the skillful negotiations and well-planned foreign policy of Mazarin, France became the most powerful country in Europe.

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