During the period of 1562-1598, France experienced wars of religion based on the significant religious division among the public, including nobles. The religious division depended on the opposition between the French Catholics and French followers of Calvinism as the form of Protestantism.
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The French Protestants became known as Huguenots. As a result, the religious wars led to the development of aristocratic factionalism. Researchers pay much attention to the discussion of causes for prolonging the French civil wars in relation to the role of religious divisions and aristocratic factionalism in the process (Carroll; Holt).
Although aristocratic factionalism can be discussed as the influential factor for the development of the French civil wars, the religious division plays more significant role in prolonging the wars because of the focus on ideological and social aspects of the people’s life.
Religion is the significant component of ideology followed by the population of the definite country. The division of the religious circles into Protestants and Catholics led to the division of the significant social masses into two different religious camps.
The followers of the opposed religious movements considered each other as the threatening forces for the country’s religious development because of not sharing the elements of definite beliefs, ideals, and services. Thus, Catholics perceived Huguenots as heretics because of their beliefs, and Huguenots discussed Catholics as the followers of the superstitious studies (Holt).
From this point, the followers of two opposite movements relied on different theological conceptions. The religious division affected the ideological division within the society, and influenced the further development of the French civil wars during the period rather negatively.
Therefore, the religious differences intensified the social division. The representatives of nobles as well as the ordinary representatives of the French society began to follow different religious beliefs. The ideals of Calvinism spread quickly among the French people. From this perspective, the French civil wars were significantly based on the religious component, making thousands of men protect their religious visions (Holt).
It is important to note that it is almost impossible to stop the religious division immediately. That is why, the period of the French civil wars is associated with the prolonged period of the wars of religion in the country.
However, there is the idea that aristocratic factionalism was more influential for intensifying the French civil wars. The nobility divided not only in relation to religious visions but also according to the spheres of the political control. The opposition between the House of Bourbon and the House of Guise became obvious (Carroll).
The political division influenced the events in the sixteenth century significantly, determining the key moments of the wars’ development. Nevertheless, the political division was based on religious issues which progress also affected the political life in France. Furthermore, the social tensions and problems depended on the religious background rather than on the impact of aristocracy.
Thus, it is possible to state that the religious division played the more significant role in prolonging and intensifying the French civil wars in comparison with the importance of aristocratic factionalism in the process. That is why, the ideology based on the religious ideas and the social tensions can be discussed as significant factors to cause the development of the civil and political opposition in France during the period of 1562-1598.
Carroll, Stuart. “The Guise Affinity and Popular Protest during the Wars of Religion”. French History 9.2 (1995): 125-152. Print.
Holt, Mack. “Putting Religion Back into the Wars of Religion”. French Historical Studies 18.2 (1993): 524-551. Print.