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The French Wars of Religion

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1 The French Wars of Religion
( ) Power Point by David See and Nick LaMonica

2 The Big Picture The French Wars of Religion were a series of conflicts that were fought from between three major and influential French powers known as the Bourbons, the Montmorency-Chatillons, and the Guises. These conflicts emerged mainly from the desire of these powers to take control of the French monarchy. This position of power and control was fought for endlessly and created a constant struggle between the three major groups and their positions in religious support of the Catholics and Protestants. The Guises, a powerful ducal family, were in favor of Catholicism, whereas the Montmorency-Chatillons, a powerful French family, and the Bourbons, a powerful house of royals, supported Protestantism. From this rivalry of power stemmed an onslaught of casualties for both sides and political instability within the French monarchy that would continue for years.

3 The French Wars of Religion
Pre French Wars: The Weakening of the Monarchy The Huguenots Major French Powers Bourbons Montmorency-Chatillons Guises Catherine de Médicis Causes of the Wars The Formation of Huguenot Aristocracy The Ever-changing Loyalties of Catherine de Médicis The Surprise Attack on Vassy in Champagne The Three French Wars of Religion War 1 (April 1562-March 1563) War 2 ( ) War 3 (September 1568-August 1570)

4 Pre French Wars: The Weakening of the Monarchy
French King, Henry II, was mortally wounded in an accident during a celebratory tournament. Tournament was held to commemorate the marriage of his daughter to Philip II the son of Charles V and heir to the Spanish Habsburg lands. This incident forced Francis II, his sickly son to take the throne. With the monarchy in this weakened state three powerful families sought to take control of the throne. The Bourbons: controlled southern and western France, the Montmorency-Chatillons: controlled the center of France, and the Guises: controlled eastern France. The Guises, being the most powerful and most well connected to the French throne, came to power after the death of Francis II after only ruling for a year.

5 Major French Powers: Bourbons: A powerful house of royals.
Opposed the Guises for control of the monarchy. Developed Huguenot sympathies for political gain. Bourbon Lois I, prince of Condé, became a major political leader of the Protestant resistance after being converted to Calvinism in 1558. Montmorency-Chatillons: Powerful French family with strong Huguenot affiliations. Similar to the Bourbons, they allied with the Huguenots against the Guises. Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, like Bourbon Lois I, was also a major political leader in the Protestant resistance. Often collaborated with the Bourbons against the Guises for Protestant control. Guises: Radical Catholics Wanted Catholic control of the country. Were very powerful and strongest of the influential groups. Strong connections to the throne through marriage and service. Easily established control over Francis II.

6 The Huguenots: (French Protestants)
Persecuted in the beginning of the 16th century. Circulated Lutheran writings and Doctrines in Paris. The Capture of French king Francis I by the forces of Emperor Charles V at the Battle of Pavia in 1525 provided a motive for the first wave of Protestant persecution in France. On October 18, 1534 Huguenots plastered Paris and other cities with anti-Catholic Placards. John Calvin and other members of the French reform party were driven into exile. Though made up the majority of the population in Dauphine and Languedoc, Huguenots formed only about one-fifteenth of the French population. Two-fifths of the Huguenots were consisted of French aristocracy. About 2,000 Huguenot congregations existed throughout France.

7 Catherine de Médicis: Very important political figure in the French Wars of Religion. When King Francis II died, she became the regent for her underage son and assumed temporary power over France. Her main goal was to keep her son on the throne and to keep the monarchy alive. Suffered a failed attempt at reconciling the two factions of Protestants and Catholics at the meeting in Poissy. In 1562, she allied herself with the Protestants, giving them rights to worship publicly outside of towns and privately within them in the January Edict. This edict was followed by three periods of conflict known as the French Wars o Religion.

8 Causes of the Wars: The Formation of Huguenot Aristocracy
Converting aristocrats to Protestantism created powerful regions of influence. These regions served as a power of political decentralization that opposed the Guises. Aristocracies were able to take power away from the Guise family oriented monarchy. The Ever-changing Loyalties of Catherine de Médicis Catherine had no true religious loyalties to the Guises. Concerned only with preserving the monarchy for her minor son Charles IX. Issued the January Edict in favor of protestant growth in exchange for support. The Surprise Attack on Vassy of Champagne. In March of 1562, tolerance of this edict came to a stop. The Duke of Guise retaliated against the Protestants. Organized a surprise attack on a Protestant congregation in Vassy of Champagne. Massacred many worshipers and marked the beginning of the French Wars of Religion.

9 The French Wars of Religion:
War 1 (April 1562-March 1563): The duke of Guise was assassinated in 1563. Catherine changed alliance again, out of fear, to support the Guises. Protestants forced to cooperate as an alternative to complete surrender. War 2 ( ): Attempted capture of Philip II of Spain stemmed from suspicions from Huguenots. Increase in hostilities. Concluded with an unsatisfactory truce. War 3 (September 1568-August 1570): Bloodiest of all conflicts. Condé killed. Huguenot leadership passed to Coligny. Peace of Saint-Germain-en-Laye ended third war. Protestants gain rights to worship in their own territories. Crown becomes more Protestant oriented under the influence of Coligny, advisor of Charles IX. Catherine changes loyalties again to the Protestants in fear of a Guise dominated monarchy.

10 Post French Wars of Religion
( )

11 Post French Wars of Religion
Conditions After the French Wars of Religion Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre Protestant Resistance Theory The Catholic League The Rise to Power of Henry of Navarre Henry of Navarre The Edict of Nantes The Fall of the Edict of Nantes

12 Conditions After the French Wars of Religion
The Peace of Saint-Germain-en-Laye granted protestants religious freedom within their own territories. Catherine de Médicis’ loyalties continue to fluctuate now in favor of the Guises in fear of a Protestant dominated monarchy. It was her intention to maintain a balance. Plotted against the king Charles IX with the Guises in hopes of Protecting French society from rash decisions.

13 Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre
The Guises’ attention was caught on Coligny’s plan to support Louis of Nassau, leader of the Dutch Protestant resistance, in the battle against Philip II of Spain. The Guises, convinced that this battle would have disastrous results for France, planned an assassination of Coligny to stop his movement into the Netherlands. After the failed plot to kill Coligny, Catherine, hoping to escape punishment, told her son to institute the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre by convincing him that there was going to be a Huguenot uprising. Convincing him that he was protecting the monarchy, over 20,000 Huguenots and 3,000 Huguenot leaders, including Coligny, were butchered on Saint Bartholomew’s Day, August 24, 1572. Philip II of Spain reportedly rejoiced at the news as it meant less of a resistance from his rebellious subjects in the Netherlands. This day sparked an uprising in the followers of Protestantism as it meant the beginning of an international struggle for survival of the religion.

14 Protestant Resistance Theory
Before the massacre Protestants had mostly defended their religion through the practice of the biblical precept of obedient subjection to worldly authority. After the massacre, however, it became clear that active resistance against powers that threatened their religious freedoms was necessary. Supported by the exiled Scotts reformer John Knox, having seen his movement towards the Resistance Theory shot down, wrote his famous First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Terrible Regiment of Woman. His writings about the Resistance Theory taught that the people had a right, as well as a Christian Obligation, to overthrow a tyrannical government. Protestants everywhere began to recognize the necessity to defend their religious rights within their own territories as well as those in other lands. France fell into a state of civil war.

15 The Catholic League A radical Catholic group formed by Henry of Guise in 1576. They fought for unity under Catholicism in France, and forced Henry III to pursue their goal. They took power in Paris in the 1580’s, and the King was forced out after a failed attack on the League. They were dispersed in 1596, after Henry IV took the throne, and the people were too tired of religious war.

16 The Rise to Power of Henry of Navarre
Like his mother, Henry the III set for a middle course in this state of civil war in France. The Peace of Beaulieu in May 1576 granted almost complete religious and civil freedom to the Huguenots. France was not yet prepared for complete tolerance and the peace was revoked within seven months. Forced Henry to return his attention to complete religious unity in France. Limited the guidelines of the peace by giving Protestants only certain areas of free worship.

17 The Catholic League became dominant in Paris in the mid-1580s, which came to be known as the Day of the Barricades. Henry attempted to defeat the league by launching a surprise attack in 1588, however, the effort failed and he was forced to flee Paris. Henry, in his weakened state of power, had both the duke and the cardinal of Guise assassinated, which brought about a reaction within the Catholic League similar to that of the Huguenots after the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. Henry was now forced to make an alliance with Henry of Navarre who would then succeed him as Henry IV after his death by an enraged Dominican friar.

18 Henry of Navarre A major Protestant leader, King Henry III had to make an alliance with him after he was driven out of Paris. After Henry III died, he succeeded him as Henry IV. When he came to power, he sought a middle ground in between the two radical sides. Was quoted saying, “Paris is worth a Mass.” He gave up the Protestant faith, and became a Catholic, in the name of saving the country from civil war. In doing this, he angered the Huguenots, and the Catholics became skeptical of his intentions. However, most of the country was tired of the war, the Catholic League was dispersed by 1596, and most all supported him in the hopes to regain stability and escape the French civil war.

19 The Edict of Nantes April 13, 1598, Henry IV made a formal religious settlement and instated the Edict of Nantes. According to this edict, while Catholicism was to remain the official religion of the country, minority religions were given religious tolerance. It did not end the conflict between the religions but it stopped open warfare between the opposing powers. However, as significant as this edict was, it would only transform the long hot war between the Catholics and the Huguenots into a long cold war. Henry IV was assassinated in 1610 by a Catholic fanatic.

20 The Fall of the Edict of Nantes
Edict of Nantes subdued religious warfare. Henry’s political and economic policies laid the foundations for a new France. Stability within the region remained until the rise to power of Lois XIV. Revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685 and sent France back into a state of religious turmoil.

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