The Nation-State: Early Modern France
"Paris vaut bien une messe"
--Henri IV, King of France
"L'Etat c'est moi."
--Louis XIV, King of France
"The sword is drawn, the scabbard
thrown away. It is even as Danton said, in one of his all-too gigantic
figures: 'The coalised Kings threaten us; we hurl at their feet as gage
of battle, the Head of a King.'" --Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution
1. Robin Briggs, Early Modern France.
2. W. H. Lewis, The Splendid Century.
3. Georges Lefebvre, The Coming of the French Revolution.
4. Natalie Zemon Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre.
5. Snippets from: Bodin, Pascal, Descart, Rousseau, Diderot, Montaigne,
6. Snippets from: Allen, Political Thought in the Sixteenth Century.
Assignments and Policies:
Examinations. There will be three examinations, one of which
will be a take home exam. The two in-class exams will contain a map component.
There is no comprehensive final exam in this course; each exam counts for
the same percentage in calculating the final grade. Be advised that turning
in the take home exam late will result in a one-third reduction in the
grade of the exam. (An "A" exam turned in one day late will receive
an "A-," two days late, a "B+," three, a "B,"
and so on.)
Quizzes. Two short (20-point) quizzes on French and European
Participation. Students will be expected to attend class
and to have prepared for lectures and for discussion sessions by having
read and thought about the assigned readings. Unexcused absences will lower
the participation component of student grades.
1. The final grade will be determined according to the following
Midterm I: 25%
Midterm II (take home): 25%
Midterm III: 25%
2. Grades will be assigned according to the follow numerical equivalencies:
80-82 B-, .....Etc.
February 5: Europe in the Sixteenth Century
February 7: France in the Sixteenth Century
Readings: Briggs, Introduction, pp. ix-xi, Ch. 1, pp. 1-34.
It is recommended you read the Britannica article on French
History, from medieval times to the French Rev.
February 10: The Protestant Reformation in Europe and in France
February 12: The Wars of Religion, I
February 14 No Class
Readings: Briggs, Ch. 2, pp. 35-76.
Allen, Ch. 1, "Lutherism and Calvinism," pp. 1-14; Ch.
4, "The Huguenots and their Allies," pp. 302-31 [on reserve].
February 17: The Wars of Religion, II
February 19: Henry of Navarre
February 21: Discussion
Readings: Allen, Ch. 6, "The Catholic League and its
Allies," pp. 343- -66; Ch. 7, "The Divine Right of Kings,"
pp. 367-93; Ch. 8, "Jean Bodin," pp. 394-444 [on reserve].
February 24: French Society in the Age of Louis XIII
February 26: Film
February 28: Richelieu and the Power of the Crown
Readings: Briggs, Ch. 3, pp. 77-128.
March 3: France in Europe
March 5: The Fronde
March 7: Discussion
Readings: Briggs, Ch. 3, pp. 128-44.
March 10: Louis XIV
March 12: Descart and Pascal
March 14: Midterm Examination
Readings: Briggs, Ch. 3, pp. 144-65.
March 17: Versailles and Royal Authority
March 19: Bossuet
March 21: Discussion
Readings: Briggs, Ch. 4, pp. 166-211; Lewis, Splendid
March 22-30, Spring Vacation
March 31: At War with Europe
April 2: Guest Lecture by Dr. Jess Mann, "Literature of the
April 4: The Colonial Riddle
Readings: Lewis, Splendid Century
April 7: Chroniclers and Critics of the Reign
April 9: Government and Society as Louis left it
April 11: Discussion
Readings: Lewis, Splendid Century
April 14: Bourbon Politics: The Reign of Louis XV
April 16: European Perspectives
April 18: The Age of Reason, I
April 21: The Age of Reason, II
April 23: Enlightenment and Enlightened Despots
April 25: Discussion
April 28: The American Revolution
April 30: The Crisis of the Old Regime
May 2: Film
Readings: Lefebvre, Introduction, pp. 1-3, Chs. 1-4, pp.
May 5: The Fall of the Monarchy
May 7: The French Revolution
May 9: Discussion
Readings: Lefebvre, Chs. 5-10, pp. 76-151.
May 12: Looking Forward and Backward from 1789.
Readings: Lefebvre, Chs. 11-15 (plus Conclusion), pp. 155-220.