Henry IV's Consolidation of Power

How Henry IV secured the kingdom - AS level History AQA

  • Created by: Clodagh
  • Created on: 17-04-13 15:57
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  • Consolidation of power: How did Henry IV secure the kingdom?
    • Actions of some French moderates
      • Catholic captains led by Francois d'O recognised Navarre as king on his acceptance of an accord in which he promised to protect the Catholic faith, and place towns and fortresses seized from the rebels under Catholic control
        • Protestant rights were still guarantees in areas that they held
    • Gallican support
      • Gallicans were French Catholics who put the king before the papacy
    • Some military victories
      • In September 1589, Henry was victorious over the Duke of Mayenne at Arques near Dieppe
        • He followed this with further successes in Normandy
      • In the winter of 1589, all the major towns except Rouen and Le Havre were taken and n March 1590, Mayenne's army was routed once again at Ivry
      • Paris proved to be a real obstacle for Henry as it was galvanised by the Duke of Nemours, who had supplanted the hapless Mayenne as commander of the League
        • Between May and September 1590, Henry's siege brought great hardship and death to the citizens of Paris
          • Henry was aware that his activities might unite Catholic opinion against him
    • The death of Cardinal de Bourbon
      • In May 1590, Cardinal Bourbon died and in September, Mayenne claimed the thrown for himself
        • Most Leaguers preferred Mayenne's younger nephew Charles, Duke of Guise, while others advocated the accession of Philip II of Spain in order to save the faith
          • Huguenots made up only 10% of the French population
      • The extreme Catholic fraction was disunited in their views over who should become king
        • Henry was appearing to be the only reasonable claimant
    • Divisions in the opposition: (The Sixteen)
      • The group of sixteen was becoming too powerful, resulting in division between the noble League led by Mayenne and the revolutionary government in the capital
        • In late 1590, the Sixteen embarked upon a campaign of terror directed against anyone suspected of moderate or politiques views
        • The parlement protested and several members of the Sixteen resigned
        • Paranoia took over and parlement was accused of being too lenient over its actions towards a royal agent
        • On 15 November 1591, the Sixteen purged the parlement, executing its president Barnabe Brisson. Mayenne was forced to march back to Paris and restore order by force
      • Paris has 16 districts
    • Conversion to Catholicism
      • In 1593, Mayenne summoned an Estates General to Paris in order to resolve the question of succession
      • The Spanish ambassador proposed a Spanish succession of Philip II's daughter, the Infanta, grand-daughter of Henry II, but barred from succession by Salic law which prevented a woman succeeding to the throne
      • It was Henry IV who broke the deadlock when he announced his decision to abandon the reformed faith
      • Henry's conversion was a critical turning point in the French Wras of Religion because Henry suddenly removed the League's main reason for excluding him rom the succession
        • He may not have been seen as a genuine Catholic to extremists
      • Town governers now saw it appropriate to declare their loyalty to Henry although such capitulation did not come cheaply and bribes were used to win over Leaguer towns and nobles
        • Agreements included clauses forbidding Protestant worship and leaguer office holders retained their positions. Thus, Henry continued his policy of appeasement towards the League -  a more attactiove alternative to war
    • Failure of Spain to follow up successes
      • Henry's sieges of Paris and Rouen failed because of one of Philip II's leading generals, the Duke of Parma
        • Despite numerical and financial advantages, Parma was unable to inflict an outright defeat on Henry IV
      • Just before the siege of Rouen, Henry had audaciously launched an offensive with some 7000 cavalry against the 23000-strong Spanish force led by Parma at Aumale
        • Henry's sieges of Paris and Rouen failed because of one of Philip II's leading generals, the Duke of Parma
          • Despite numerical and financial advantages, Parma was unable to inflict an outright defeat on Henry IV
        • Parma ordered his men to withdraw, certain that Henry must have reserved capable of inflicting a serious defeat on the Spanish
          • Henry had no such reserves and risked disaster at Aumale. Yet his gamble paid off
    • War with Spain
      • War was declared on Spain in January 1595 and in June of the same year, a royalist force led by Henry defeated the numerically superior Spanish at Fontaine-Francaise
      • Henry had won Burgundy and subsequently entered Lyons
      • Mayenne was disillusioned with his Spanish allies and came over to the king's side
        • Guise, Epernon and Joyeuse followed suit in early 1596 and of the great influential nobles, only the Duke of Mercouer remained aloof
      • By September 1596, Amiens had fallen to Henry and by the end of the year Mercouer had submitted to the king's authority also
      • All the great nobles were suitably compensated for their actions and by the spring of 1598 the situation was considerably better for HHenry than it had been a year previously
      • Despite inevitable discontent and resentment from the Protestant minority which manifested itself in assemblies at Saint Foy (1594), Samour (1595) and Loudun (1596) all factions were ready to listen to peace terms at Nantes in 1595
    • Bribery
      • Henry spent about 30 million livres in bribes and often agreed to settle a town's debts or exempt it from tax as compensation for the ravages of war
      • In the wake of the Wars of Religion he recognised that urban and noble support were crucial to his kingship


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