Download Richelieu’s Army: War, Government and Society in France, by David Parrott PDF

By David Parrott

It really is assumed extensively that "war made the nation" in seventeenth-century France. but this learn demanding situations the normal interpretations of the function of the military as an device of the rising absolutist country, and indicates how the growth of the French warfare attempt contributed to weakening Richelieu's carry on France and heightened degrees of political and social pressure. this is often the 1st distinctive account of the French military in this formative interval of eu historical past. It additionally contributes extra in most cases to the "military revolution" debate between early glossy historians.

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Rueschemeyer and T. ), Bringing the State Back In (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 3±37. M. Roberts, `The military revolution, 1560±1660' (Belfast, 1955), reprinted in M. Roberts, Essays in Swedish History (London, 1967), pp. 195±225. The `military revolution' makes explicit appearances in many of the works cited above ± for example, McNeill, Pursuit of Power, pp. 127±32, and Kennedy, Great Powers, pp. 56±7. See also J. Cornette, `La reÂvolution militaire et l'eÂtat moderne', Revue d'histoire moderne et contemporaine, 41 (1994), 698±709.

Richelieu's ministry is located within a wider debate about the impact of warfare on the changing relationship between central power and the autonomy, privileges and political identity of the governed in early modern Europe. This debate is strongly in¯uenced by the social sciences, and above all by the state-building models of Max Weber and his successors. 14 Even had they seen the ®scal or political bene®ts of challenging these structures, they were no less constrained by the lack of agencies capable of bringing about substantial change in a `normative' political environment.

A primary purpose of the present study is to contribute to these debates about political and administrative change. Although it is a chronologically limited study, the conclusions reach beyond the two decades of French history under examination. It is an approach to the army which draws overwhelmingly upon the evidence of primary, and especially manuscript, source material. Archivally based research provides the essential means to break through a myth-encrusted history of army, state and society; a history built up of successive layers of received opinion shaped partly by nineteenth-century nationalist assumptions, partly by the contribution of detailed but poorly contextualized traditional military history, and partly by reliance on the published self-justi®cations of contemporaries ± most notably of Richelieu himself.

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