Civilization Week 7

Question 1: What were Cardinal Richelieu’s primary aims?

Cardinal Richelieu was a French political figure serving under Louis XIII. He had two leading goals: the first was to establish a stronger central government within France. Richelieu’s way of doing this was demanding that the nobles in France remove any fortification or reinforcement they may have on their fortress, so they would have no protection if they were to rebel. Richelieu’s second goal was to reduce the power of the Habsburg family. The Habsburgs had been a long time enemy of the French, and had power over Spain, the Netherlands, and the Holy Roman Empire; all the territory surrounding France.

Question 2: What factors contributed to the decline of Spain?

Spain’s decline first started when the precious metals of the new world started to dwindle. These metals were some of the only things holding up the Spanish economy. Spain was fighting with many other countries at the time, and it began to get very expensive. So the only thing the government could do after the metal shortage was overtax the citizens. On top of this Spain experienced dreadful plagues that ravished the lands and stole away the lives of over 4 million people within the short timespan of 110 years.

Question 3: What is constitutionalism? Discuss the views of Juan de Mariana, as laid out in the reading for lesson 33.

Constitutionalism simply states that the government shouldn’t have unlimited control. Under constitutionalism the government follows some set of rules, usually written down on a constitution or other such document. Juan de Mariana described in his book “De Rege” an early version of the state of nature. He detailed the way a government would initially form: through a group of people agreeing to live under a hierarchy in exchange for a happier, safer life. Mariana expressed that since the people originally created the government, they should be the ones to assign the rights and power of that government. They should also be allowed to stand up and kill their monarch if he becomes a tyrant or goes against the set of rules the people appointed upon him.


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