Until the French Revolution in 1789, Catholicism was the official religion of France; the Catholic Church was totally linked to the French monarchy.
According to the Edict of Nantes (1598), everyone had the liberty to practice his religion. The Huguenots received almost all of the rights accorded to Catholics. This edict is completely unprecedented in Europe at the time.
Louis XIV, the “sun king”, (who famously said, “the state, it’s me”), wanting to consolidate his power, revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685. This revocation did nothing but make official some oppressive actions already in place.
Following the revocation, a large number of Protestants left France. Almost all of them went to countries where there were lots of Protestants, like England or the Netherlands.
In the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, the fundamental text of the French Revolution, every man is finally accorded the right to practice any religion: “No one must be troubled for his opinions, even the religious opinions, provided that their manifestation does not disrupt the public order established by the law.»1
2. le passé simple (« past definite ») des verbes réguliers et irréguliers
The first Jews arrived in France during the first century of the common era (that is, after JC). They were members of the ruling class in Judea, and found themselves exiled from the latter country.
They enjoyed a period of prosperity until the Crusades, where one attempted to exile them..
During the Revolution, the Jews were emancipated, and they were integrated into the new nation. This act was part of the larger model of “secularization” that was elaborated in the DDHC (see above).
Thanks to this emancipation, many European Jews came to France during the 19th century. This period sees the assimilation of Jews into every domain of society. Despite this assimilation, and even if they were officially emancipated, they experienced however some anti-Semitic attacks.
At the end of the 19th century, there arose a movement of reactionaries who wanted to overthrow the third republic. This movement turned to anti-Semitism; the Jews were accused of having ruined the country. This anti-Semitism culminated in the Dreyfus affair, in which a Jewish general of Alsatian origin, Alfred Dreyfus, was accused of treason and of helping the German empire. Because of this affair, there was a great political debate in France. The writer Emile Zola wrote an article “J’accuse”, where he denounces the anti-Dreyfus camp and accuses them of anti-Semitism.
3. le participe présent
a. Realizing the enormity of the question of religion in France, I’m trying to teach/learn some historical facts today. Being exposed to the general history, the students will discuss the question of religion in France in the twentieth century on Thursday.
b. Believing himself to find his political power threatened by the freedom accorded to Protestants, the Sun King revoked the Edict of Nantes.
c. Recognizing the close alliance between the monarchy and the church, revolutionaries made up their mind to detach religion from the political domain.
4. le gérondif (le participe présent avec « en » et « tout »)
By signing the Edict of Nantes, King Henri IV showed himself to be a very forward-thinking mind for his era.
It is very important to treat the question of religion in France, all the while knowing the difficulties that such a subject poses.
Joan of Arc led the French army, all the while believing she heard the voice of God.
5. le verbe irrégulier « voir »
Participe passé : _____vu_______ (verbe auxiliaire : ______avoir_______)
Autres verbes de ce groupe : pourvoir, revoir, entrevoir (mais PAS recevoir)
1 « Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen de 1789 », article 10. C’est moi qui souligne.