guidesbyjulie.blogspot.com AP European HistoryFrance, Thirty Years’ War, Balance of Power, Dutch Republic, EnglandTHE DISINTEGRATION AND RECONSTRUCTION OF FRANCE
Political and Religious Disunity
After 40 years of civil war based on politics and religion, local influence was still a strong force inFrance. There were 300 areas with their own legal systems, the
bonnes villes (
king’s “good towns,”),and guild towns. Each of these had their own laws, courts, taxes, and parliament.Calvinism was also spreading in France. Since the French kings already had control over the Gallicanchurch, they did not turn to Protestantism. Instead, the Protestantism that spread in Francedeveloped without government support, becoming a radical theological wing – Calvinism. TheHuguenots, French Calvinists, were always a minority, but certainly not a small one. They were alsoclear-cut and radical. About a half of the French nobility was Protestant during the 1560s or 1570s.Seignurs believed they should have the right to regulate religion on their own estates (
ius reformandi ius reformandi ius reformandi ius reformandi
).Since the nobility were so involved in the Calvinist movement, the monarchs viewed it as political orfeudal rebellion and became opposed to its spread. When King Henry II died, his wife, Catherine de’Medici tried to govern France for her three sons. Under a weak monarchy, the Catholics andHuguenots began to fight for power of the government.
The Civil and Religious Wars
Huguenots were led by Admiral de Coligny and Henry of Bourbon, king of Navarre. The Guise familyand the Cardinal of Lorraine headed the Catholic party. When the leading Huguenots were gathered inParis on St. Bartholomew’s Day to celebrate the marriage of Henry of Navarre, Catherine de’ Medicicalled for the massacre of the Huguenots there. While Coligny were killed, Henry of Navarre escaped.This attack prompted the Huguenots to retaliate fiercely. While Spanish troops invaded France oninvitation of the Guises, Protestant towns appealed to ElizabethElizabethElizabethElizabeth IIII of England, who only sentinsignificant assistance. Neither side could subdue the other.Gradually, a group developed that thought of themselves as the
. They felt that there wastoo much emphasis being put on religion, and that no doctrine justifies constant war. There waspossibly room for two churches, and, above all, France needed civil order. One of the
wasJean BodinJean BodinJean BodinJean Bodin, the founder of modern absolutism. He believed that in every society, there is one powerthat can give order to all with their consent if possible, and without their consent if necessary.
The End of the Wars: Reconstruction under Henry IV
Both Henry of Guise and Henry III (one of Catherine’s sons) were assassinated. Thus, Henry of Navarre,now Henry IV, the Huguenot leader, came to power as the king of France. The Catholic party thenrefused to recognize him and called in the Spaniards. As a
, he supposedly said that “Paris is