Coercion, Conversion and Counterinsurgency in Louis XIV’s France

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This is a study of the domestic application of armed coercion during the reign of Louis XIV. It examines the coercive aspects of tax collection, the royal response to tax revolts, and the use of force to convert the king’s Protestant subjects and to wage a devastating counterinsurgency campaign against Protestant rebels in the mountains and plains of Languedoc. Relying heavily on archival sources, the study demonstrates that both the coercive inclination of Louis XIV and the coercive capabilities of the French army have been overstated. This raises questions about some common assumptions regarding the role of the army in the projection of state power and its contribution to the process of state formation in Early Modern France.
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Biographical Note

Roy L. McCullough, Ph.D. (2005) in History, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, is a Project Manager with the Defense Policy Analysis division of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in Mclean, Virginia.

Review Quotes

“At one level, the book is an interesting read expounding aspects of day-to-day life several hundred years ago. But more important, it succeeds in its campaign to demonstrate that the armies of Louis XIV have been the subject of much exaggeration of both their abilities and their commitment to coercing the population of late seventeenth-century France into new ways. I imagine that _Coercion, Conversion and Counterinsurgency in Louis XIV's France_ will become a corrective reference for the period.”
Tom Lewis (Department of Defense, Australia) in H-War (April, 2008).

“...scholars already familiar with seventeenth-century France will gain the most from this work, but all readers will come away appreciating more fully the difficulties of using royal troops as tools of coercion in the age of absolutism.”
Jamel Ostwald in Journal of Military History, Oct 2007, Vol. 71/4

Table of contents

List of Abbreviations. . vii

Introduction. . 1

Chapter One. ‘Huissier, Garnisaire et Soldat’: Coercion and Tax Collection Under Louis XIV . . 11
Introduction. . 11
The ‘Voie Ordinaire’: Collecteurs, Huissiers, and Sergents . . 15
The ‘Voie Militaire’: Garnisaires, Fusiliers, and Brigades . . 21
Huissiers vs. Garnisaires: The Debate Under Colbert . . 28
The Army and the Collection of the Taille. . 34
The Gabelle . . 42
Conclusion . . 50

Chapter Two. The Response to Popular Revolt, 1662–1670. . 53
Introduction. . 53
The Boulonnais Revolt, 1662. . 56
The Audijos Revolt, 1664–1665 . . 59
The Roure Revolt, 1670 . . 68
Conclusion . . 76

Chapter Three. Regional Crisis and Royal Consolidation: The Revolts of 1675 . . 79
Introduction. . 79
April–June, 1675: Troubles at Rennes and Nantes and the Response of Local Authorities . . 81
The Military Response and Renewed Violence . . 86
June–August, 1675: Rural Uprising . . 93
The Royal Response to the Rural Revolt . . 96
The Military Occupation of Rennes and the Exile of the Parlement. . 99
The Exile of the Parlement . . 103
The Provincial Estates . . 105 Winter Quarters . . 108
The Revolt at Bordeaux . . 110
Conclusion . . 121

Chapter Four. ‘Les Missions Bottés’: Religious Coercion Under Louis XIV. . 125
Introduction. . 125
The First Dragonnades . . 127
The Revolt of 1683. . 133
The Grand Dragonnades . . 140
From Conversion to Counterinsurgency: Languedoc, 1683–1698 . . 153
The Strategy of Conversion . . 170
Conclusion . . 177

Chapter Five. The Revolt of the Camisards, 1702–1704 . . 181
Introduction. . 181
Preparations . . 182
The Revolt Begins . . 186
The Strategy of the Count de Broglie . . 196
Montrevel Arrives. . 203
Montrevel’s Strategy . . 205
The Grand Design. . 211
The Arrival of Marshal Villars . . 227
Conclusion . . 236

Conclusion . . 243

Bibliography . . 253
Archival sources . . 253
Published primary sources. . 253
Secondary sources . . 254

Index . . 263

Readership

All those interested in the history of Early Modern France, the history of European absolutism, state formation, military history and historical counterinsurgencies.

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