What changed since the reign of Henry IV that would cause Louis XIV to revoke the Edict of Nantes?

History question for school. Just wanted some other opinions.

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    There were some important changes.

    1. Henry IV. was a protestant before he changed confession to become king of France. He said "Paris is worth a holy mess". A king who once was a protestant is much more tolerant towards his former co-believers. But keep in mind, it was a protestant who killed Henry IV.

    2. After the assassination of Henry IV. Luis XIII. was only a little child. So his Catholic mother and Cardinal Richelieu were in charge. These two formed Luis XIII. into a king who wasn't willing to ignore the protestant challenge to his rule. Many battles between the Catholic king and the protestant nobles were fought, which finally left the king broke but victorious. Check Alexandre Dumas "Three musketeers".

    3. When Luis XIV. became king he was a little child like his father before him. Cardinal Mazarin was in charge of France till his death. He formed Luis XIV. into the first real absolute monarch. When Mazarin died Luis XIV. was still a young man but he announced that he would have no new prime minister but would rule in his own behalf.

    It was a long way from Henry IV. to Luis XIV. France wasn't tolerant any longer. The king was not the "first servant of the state" like Fredric the Great of Prussia, the king WAS France!

  • 5 years ago

    Just to add to Wise Owl answer, the Protestants had also started to become an irritation, and Louis XIV did not like irritations or any threat to his rule. In the towns and regions where they had been given leadership they were hassling the Catholics, they were also demanding more rights and the powerful Protestants lords were making noises (creating de facto Protestant ruled provinces, allying with protestants kings and princes) that were very unpleasant to a king who had had to flee his nobles and fight to get his own throne back as a child and a young man and who knew about the problems the Protestants had created for the previous kings (they had done all that under Charles X, Henri III and Louis XIII). The siege of La Rochelle might make a good background for a musketeer story but the basis was Protestants revolting against their king and allying with a foreign kingdom to help them fight their king. And that wasn't the first time they had done this. While the religious wars in France are remembered as Catholics butchering Protestants, one has to remember that during that time in the places where Protestants had the upper hand it was the Catholics who suffered the same treatment. Nothing like the monstrous St Bartholemy massacre but butchering as well (look up the Michelades for example). The king knew it, his mostly Catholic lords and people remembered it too (forgetting their own massacres) and the new arrogance of the Protestants rubbed the mostly Catholic kingdom wrong. The king rode that wave to get rid as well of a potential danger, destroy the power of part of his nobles and take that opportunity to get rid of a population who was opposing him as a whole. That made the French monarchy stronger and was another step towards the absolute power that Louis XIV wanted, and it got rid of plenty of potential traitors who would help foreign princes or receive help from them (extremely important for a king who spent his time making wars to his neighbours). The economic power of the Protestant merchant class was not something that Louis could recognise or even understand. To French kings power meant soldiers and the ability to raise armies.

  • 1 decade ago

    Okay--the actual quotation is "Paris veut bien une masse," which actually means "Paris is well worth a mass"--Henri IV was a Calvinist (a type of Protestant) who nominally converted to Catholicism so that he could become King.

    At that time (the end of the sixteenth century), France was a mess of religious wars between Catholics and Calvinists. It was also in a political mess because the old Valois line, which had produced the Kings of France for as long as anyone could remember, was dying out. There were two contenders for the throne, both named Henri--one was Henri Bourbon of Navarre, who became Henri IV, and the other was a devout Catholic, Henri of Guise. Obviously, Henri Bourbon won, starting out the Bourbon line which ruled France (with an interlude for the First Republic and First Empire) until 1830. However, the political position was very precarious, and Henri IV wanted to be careful.

    Louis XIV, however, came into power once his line had been firmly established. He became King at the age of five, and experienced a traumatic uprising of nobility while still very young. This attempt to seize power--known as "la Fronde"--caused a lifelong fear and hatred of the nobility in the young king. (It should be noted here that most Protestants in France were of the noble class; the peasants remained Catholic). He set about curttailing everyone's rights to ensure that he alone was in power ("L'etat, c'est moi"--"I am the state"--was his catchphrase).

    Basically, the situation was less precarious for the monarch, but he wanted even more power, mostly at the expense of the nobles.

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