Cardinal Richelieu

                                     Copyright © 2006 Jordan White



            Long ago, in the seventeenth century, there was a king of France.  His name was Louis XIII.  Louis was a very stubborn man, but he was not weak or silly. If he had one glaring fault, one would have to say that he put far too much faith in the capabilities of his henchmen. 


            One such henchman was a fellow named Cardinal Armand de Richelieu.  Now, if Louis was not a particularly effective king, at least he was not a terrible human being.


            Richelieu was.  He was a thoroughly terrible person, the kind of man who might, say, shoot his friend in the face with birdshot and then try to cover it up.  You know the type.


            Louis trusted Cardinal Richelieu.  He approved whole-heartedly of his ideas and policies.  He allowed Richelieu to gain a  fantastic level of power.  Richelieu worked hard to unify France and to give the monarchy more power.  He also wanted France to be the most powerful nation in Europe.  Some might say he wanted France to be the world’s only Superpower.


            Richelieu had no interest in the welfare of the people of France.  He cared nothing for their lives or prosperity.  All he cared about was wealth and power.  Since this stance made him unpopular, he installed a system of spies to protect himself. Even though some elements in French society stood up and demanded they be heard, Richelieu ignored them.


            Richelieu was obsessed with winning security for France, along with expanding its territory and influence.  He waged the Thirty Years’ War in order to further those ends.  The war was a disaster for France.  The taxes that paid for it were a heavy burden for the people.  The country’s national debt was out of control; the economy was crumbling.


            But there was one thing that this man, as the trusted henchman of a shadow king, one very important thing that he accomplished: in making the people angry, in making the people dissatisfied, in making the people distrustful, and making them rebellious,


he sowed the seeds of Revolution.