Comparing Cardinal Richelieu's Practice of Ruler Ship to Niccòlo Machiavelli's Ideas About the Effective Exercise of Power

2023 words 9 pages
Some regard nineteenth century France to be the France of Napoléon Bonaparte and, in the same respect, it can be argued that ancien régime France was the France of Armand-Jean du Plessis de Richelieu. Upon entering the French political arena, Richelieu was thrown amidst the struggles of international diplomacy, the devious schemes of the nobility, and the disgruntlement of the common people. Similarly, the unstable Florentine Italy which Niccòlo Machiavelli familiarized himself with led both these prominent men to publish their respective works: The Prince by Machiavelli and The Political Testament of Cardinal Richelieu by Richelieu himself. By rejecting conventional morals, disregarding haughty ideals, and promoting ruthless tactics, The …show more content…

One group that posed a serious threat to the centralizing of power and the overall stability of France were the Huguenots that were dispersed throughout the country. Machiavelli aptly expresses his views that "there are two things a prince must fear: internal subversion from his subjects; and external aggression by foreign powers."# The Huguenots proved to exert influence within France because of the relatively high ratio of aristocracy and substantial bourgeois compared to the common folk that comprised their faction. They were a significantly influential political and religious group within France and were in control of a considerable sized military force.# Additionally, they were engaged in frequent uprisings and rebellions. In 1627, Cardinal Richelieu, realizing the importance of avoiding domestic subversion from his own subjects, ordered an army to capture La Rochelle, a critical Huguenot stronghold. More importantly, and in accordance with Machiavelli's tenet that "a prince should assume personal command and captain his troops himself,"# Richelieu elucidated this by personally commanding and besieging troops. However, fighting ensued even after