Mike Gerow Bendel Hon.

World History 10/10/07 Machiavelli believed in a government leader that exhibited both lion-like qualities and fox-like qualities. Lion-like qualities show utter power, and a defense for territory that strikes fear into a leader’s enemies’ eyes. Conversely, fox-like qualities exhibit subtle actions taken to achieve a larger goal: acting sneaky and clever to weave through the traps of one’s enemies. Though Elizabeth I and Louis XIV exhibit political policies that utilize Machiavelli’s ideas by employing lion and fox like practices through their aggressive political actions and cunning means of solving daunting religious and political problems, Elizabeth tends to show more fox-like qualities, while Louis tends to show more lion-like qualities. Despite Louis favoring more lion-like qualities, both Elizabeth and Louis overcome enormous obstacles using their fox-like qualities. Perhaps Elizabeth’s most important fox-like action was her combining of the Catholic Church and the Protestant church into one Anglican Church.1 With great finesse, she satisfies both the Catholics and the Protestants by drawing pieces from each religion. This action relieved England of much of the friction between Protestants and Catholics and led to religious stability for many years to follow. On the other hand, Louis XIV acted cleverly when dealing with the nobles. Louis had decided to renovate the palace in the city of Versailles to make it much more beautiful and rich. This attracted the nobles, who wanted a way to show their wealth to the world. Nobles would live in this palace and compete with other nobles to
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be highest in the King’s favor, which made the nobles focus less on politics. Louis was then able to reign uncontested (Littell 521). Conversely, Elizabeth proved to be wise when she tried to make peace with her sister, Mary queen of Scotts, in 1560. This was wise not only because Scotland was geographically close to England, but also because Mary was also next in line to be the queen of England. This scared both Elizabeth and the English people, as Mary was a devout Catholic, and the Anglican Church had already become the prime church in England. Elizabeth was thoughtful of being in favor with the Scots throughout this, though. Mary was kept in a tower in Elizabeth’s castle, where she would be imprisoned until her death, 23 years later, in 1583 (204-205). This all brought stability to the church in England, and also brought stability to the relationship between England and Scotland, thereby accomplishing Machiavelli’s ultimate end: stability. This is not to say that both of these great leaders did not have fierce lion-like qualities in needed situations. Both Elizabeth and Louis XVI showed aggressive qualities, but Louis tends to use these tactics more often than Elizabeth. Louis XIV was known for being the pinnacle of absolutist rule of France, even boasting that “[he was] the state” (Littell 519). In fact, Louis was particularly defensive of his title, by making himself appear to be the “Sun God,” making his subjects fear him as if he were truly a God (536). Under Louis’ real absolutist government he had supreme control. This fear of Louis made radicals and nobles afraid to act up, or point out the King’s wrongs, because doing so would be considered speaking out against a god and the divine right of kings. Louis simply makes the people believe that without Louis, there would be no prosperity or light at all. Elizabeth shows these qualities too in her dealing with the want for reform in the

Anglican Church. With the harsher policies she passed, which required people to only believe in the Anglican Church, and required uniformity among all churches, more radical Protestants, along with Catholics, suffered from persecution. One such catholic, a Jesuit missionary, was tortured on the rack in 1581 and subsequently died, while in 1587 a Puritan was executed for speaking about his religion in parliament (204). These two acts seem harsh, as both of these people essentially still believed in Christianity, but if one looks at the possible outcomes of either of these paths, it is plain to see why Elizabeth wanted to scare the followers of these radicals as much as possible. First of all, either way would have led to change, and therefore a lack of stability. Second, and most important of all, the people of England would become split amongst themselves, and civil war would most likely occur. Elizabeth chose the quick decisive action of striking fear into anyone else who might think they can change the country. Louis proves to be more lion-like, though, through his revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Louis had already begun forced conversion of French Huguenots to Catholicism, but this revocation truly made it legal under the state. With this revocation all Huguenots were forced to convert or be exiled and all Huguenot churches were destroyed (541). It is unclear to an outsider why Louis would revoke such an old Edict—the Edict of Nantes had been put into act by Louis’ grandfather Henry IV. Under closer examination, a country with multiple religions would not accomplish Louis’ goal of “one king, one law, one faith” (541). Also, this would conflict with Machiavelli’s theories, as tolerance would make Louis appear weak, and also the unification of religion would get rid of any tendencies for fighting between either of the religions. Aside from all this, the move was a popular one among aristocrats of the time and helped Louis gain favor among his people.

Elizabeth’s ebbing towards fox-like qualities, and Louis’ leaning towards lion-like qualities brought out two very different leaders, but both fit Machiavelli’s idea of a perfect leader very well. Elizabeth and Louis are considered to be the most important people of English and French history, and deservedly so. Their fox-like and lion-like qualities helped them achieve this title and achieve Machiavelli’s ultimate end: stability.

Works Cited Beck, Roger B, et al. World History Patterns of Interaction. Evanston, Illinois: McDougal Littell, 1999. Thomas, Heather. Elizabeth R. 2007. 5 Oct. 2007 <http://www.elizabethi.org>.