© 2006 Jordan White
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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,
sowed the seeds of Revolution.