Civilization Week 8

Question 1: What were the key ideas of mercantilism?

Mercantilism was an economic theory and practice throughout the 16th and 17th century. It basically made it so trade was a sort of competition rather then a cooperation. Each country wanted a bigger profit than their neighbor, so to get this they would try to manipulate the trade system to steal from their neighbor. Governments would usually do this through tariffs that would encourage exports of goods and discourage imports. By doing this the idea was other countries would just keep buying and buying, and the selling country could just hoard all the gold. The issue with this is no country is going to endlessly spend their wealth if their trading partner isn’t trading that wealth back into their economy. They’re just going to call off trade with that country, then that country loses their steady income. Its not a good system, and its obvious why its no longer in practice. Trade is about cooperation and working together so both countries flourish, if one country is self centered and greedy no one will want to spend their gold on them.

Question 2: How was the revocation of the Edict of Nantes justified in the document you read?

The Edict of Nantes was a document signed by Henry IV in 1598. France at the time was Catholic dominant, and there had been disdain raging for many years between them and the Protestants. The Edict of Nantes was meant to create some form of civil unity or peace between the two religions, and so it gave many substantial rights to Protestants which had until then been repressed. But Henry died suddenly, and his son Louis XIII was too busy with the wars of the time to improve internal issues. His son Louis XIV, as the question states, decided to the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. His reasoning was peace had finally come to France, and it was time to forget old grudges. Louis XIV had managed to convert many Protestants to Catholics anyway, so the revocation of the Edict was a way for terminating any past bitterness between the two.

What were the causes and outcomes of the wars involving France in the latter half of the seventeenth century?

The most prevalent cause for the wars were France’s greed and land lust. France was the most powerful European country of the time, and insisted on continued expansion despite the exhaustion of the people. The War of Devolution (1667-1668) was France’s attempt to claim the Spanish Netherlands, then they tried to expand again in the Franco-Dutch War (1672-1678). During The Nine Years’ War (1688-1697), France attempted to take on the English, Dutch and the Holy Roman Empire all at once. Then, after Charles II of Spain died childless both France and the Holy Roman Empire wanted the Spanish throne. This led to the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714). The English and France were worried that if France won Spain their trade rights would be cut, so they exhausted themselves fighting for Spain. Dutch never recovered after this war, but England ended up growing into one of the biggest super power nations.

 

 

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