Wars of the Fronde (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Whether the French king could impose his will, despite opposition from judges and the nobility. Result: Loss of independence by judges and nobles and the imposition of absolute royal power in France.
During most of the reign of King Louis XIII, his prime minister was cardinal de Richelieu. Together they tried to impose their will throughout France, but they met with resistance. Many nobles had local power in their own provinces, and they resented interference from the central government. The judges in the various parlements (appeals courts) wished to preserve their right to determine whether royal decrees were compatible with French law. After the death in 1642 of cardinal de Richelieu and in 1643 of Louis XIII, Louis XIV, who was then only five years old, became the French king. His mother Anne of Austria became the regent, and she appointed Cardinal Mazarin as her prime minister. Mazarin was ruthless and corrupt. It was well known that kickbacks had to be paid to him before government contracts were approved. In an effort to raise money to support French participation in the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), Anne of Austria issued a decree that required all French judges to sacrifice their salaries for four years, and she also imposed very unpopular taxes on poor people. Thus, she angered judges and poor people simultaneously. The Parlement of Paris rejected her decree, and this...
(The entire section is 737 words.)
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