The Fronde, Part II: The Battle for France

Geoffrey Treasure describes how, at the height of the monarchy’s crisis in 1648-9, the Court party made mistakes that were fortunately matched by the follies of their opponents.

In the first part of this essay we saw that the opposition of Parlement was the fundamental cause of the joumees revolutionnaires that marked the start of the Fronde; that it was the elevated status of Parlement among Frenchmen, and especially among Parisians, that gave it the moral right to challenge the financial policy of a government that was in fact making but modest inroads upon its secure position. The challenge, mounted with skilful propaganda, was especially dangerous because of the anarchic condition of French society, after twenty years of war and the resulting growth both in taxes and in the apparatus of government required to raise them.

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