Presenter Information

James Hitchcock


Religion and politics were inextricably linked in France during the century that spanned 1560–1660. The ultra-Catholic Guises and the Protestant Bourbons vied for the throne, while the monarchs and their regents used alternately used religious tension and tolerance to keep both sides at bay. Religious differences marked the combatants in frequent civil wars. The conflicts ended with the Edict of Nantes in 1598, which guaranteed religious freedom to the Huguenots, although tension continued. James Hitchcock discusses various other topics, including: the Ancien Regime’s structure, Cardinal Richelieu’s ascendancy, his efforts to consolidate royal power and defeat the Habsburgs, the rise of Jansenism, great religious thinkers of the time, the Fronde of Parlement, and the Fronde of the Nobles. These last two events failed and were the final assaults on royal power until the Revolution.