Louis and Religion Minorities

These cards concentrate on the reasons why Louis XIV attacked various religious minorities in the 1670s.


Explain why Louis XIV attacked the Jansenists

  • They were geographically close to Versailles- people out of favour would go to Port Royale, therefore Louis felt them as a political & religious threat
  • They didn't believe in worldly wealth, therefore Louis felt it was an attack on the splendour of Versailles
  • Disloyal during the Frondes, therefore a political threat to his absolutism
  • Doctrinal differences between them and Jesuits:
    • Jansenists believed in predestination, and that faith only could bring salvation
    • Jesuits believed good work & faith brought salvation
  • Jansenists believed in personal relationship with God and broughtout the role of the laity- it was a threat to the hierarchical structure
  • Potential danger due to being intellectual- writers of books eg. Blaise Paschal
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Explain why Louis XIV attacked the Huguenots

  • Personal revenge- assasinated his grandfather Henri IV
  • Changing influence at court:
    • death of Colbert in 1683- replaced by military Louivois
    • influence of Mme. de Maintenon
  • Wanted to be the 'Most Christian King' v.s his main rival Emperor Leopold
  • Huguenots were protestant:
    • followers of Jansen
    • believers in predestination + a personal relationship with God
    • Louis had promised to eradicate heresy at his coronation in 1654
  • Recent victory against the Dutch, therefore gained incentive to go against Huguenots- if he could eradicate heresy abroad, why not at home?
  • Truce of Ratisbon (1684)- Louis was at the hight of his power
  • France was the only country with legal rights for Huguenots
  • For Louis, religious uniformity was essential for his political absolutism. Belief in one King, one law, one faith
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Explain why Louis XIV attacked the Quietists

  • Religious reasons:
    • non-conformists
    • believed in the Holy Spirit + that priets wern't necessary
    • Everyone had a personal relationship with God

This all lead to ....

  • Political reasons:
    • offended his sense of a RC Church, which was based on hierarchy + therefore they were a threat to politicl stability
    • Louis needed uniformity/conformity in order to prevent a repeat of the Wars of Religion
    • Fenelon became a vocal critic of Louis in the later part of his reign, which coincided with the wars (9 yrs war/ war of spanish succession)
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Explain why Louis XIV had a difficult relationship

  • 1673: Louis extended Right of Regale without asking permission of Pope Innocent XI. It was a question of 'authority'. What authority did Louis posses in his own kingdom regarding spiritual matters. Louis believed it was a secular (financial) issue not spiritual
  • 1682:Louis insulted the Pope with the direct attack of the Gallican articles
    • 4 articles- said that Papal Bulls were subject to authority of assembly of Clergy + Louis himself
  • 1688: the dispute over Cologne v. necessary strategic area
    • French wanted Von Furstenburg- 71
    • Imperial wanted Joseph Clement of Bavaria- 17
  • Louis took papal state of Avignon + it led to 9 yrs war
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