Research into the Popular Uprisings in France before the Fronde

  • Roland Mousnier


For about twenty-five years, during the ministries of Richelieu and Mazarin, the Fronde was preceded by a period of almost uninterrupted popular revolts, both by peasants in the countryside and by artisans and beggars in the towns. There was no year when revolts did not occur, at least in one province or in some of the towns. Sometimes almost a third of the realm was affected. These revolts have been the subject of numerous and detailed studies by French historians1 and they have been referred to in general works.2 But no synthesis has been attempted, and this has been a gap in our historiography. B. Porshnev has tried to fill it. He has produced a study in depth3 of works on the popular revolts of this period by French historians, and it seems that none of these has escaped his notice; which is very creditable, since there are more than one hundred. He has obtained printed texts of the period and documents published since which contain information about the uprisings, together with various contemporary accounts, the Mercure françois, the correspondence of Richelieu and Mazarin, and various journals and mémoires. We may well believe him when he says that this was not done without difficulty. He has used many documents, and with great care. He knows many important works well, such as those of Loyseau and the Political Testament of Richelieu.


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  1. 1.
    Let us recall at least the study of P. Boissonnade, ‘L’administration royale et les soulèvements populaires en Angoumois, en Saintonge et en Poitou pendant le ministère de Richelieu (1624–1642)’, in Mémoires de la Société des Antiquaires de l’Ouest, 2e série, XXVI (1902);Google Scholar
  2. also G. Pagès, ‘Autour du ‘Grand Orage’: Richelieu et Marillac, deux politiques’, in Revue Historique, CLXXIX (1937) pp. 63–97.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    G. Pagès, ‘La vénalité des offices dans l’ancienne France’, in Revue Historique, CLXIX (1932) pp. 477–95;Google Scholar
  4. also R. Mousnier, La vénalité des offices sous Henri IV et Louis XIII (Paris, 1945).Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    B. Porshnev, Die Volkaufstände in Frankreich vor der Fronde, 1623–1648 (Leipzig, 1954) p. 23; et supra, Chapter 3, p. 96. [Editor’s note:] All page references given by the author to Porshnev’s work are to the German edition of 1954. I have added a second reference (as above), if the passage referred to is contained in the sections of Porshnev’s work translated in this volume.Google Scholar
  6. 80.
    R. Mousnier, ‘Quelques raisons de la Fronde. Les causes des journées révolutionnaires parisiennes de 1648’, in Bulletin de la Société d’Etude du XVIIe Siècle (1949) p. 71. See infra, Chapter 6, pp. 169–200.Google Scholar
  7. 86.
    F. Hartung and R. Mousnier, ‘Quelques problèmes conçernant la monarchie absolue’, in 10th Congress of Historical Sciences (Rome, 1955), Relazioni, IV, Modem History, pp. 46–7.Google Scholar
  8. 88.
    R. Mousnier, ‘Quelques raisons de la Fronde’ in XVIIe Siècle (1949); also, ‘Comment les Français voyaient la France au XVIIe siècle’, in Bulletin de la Société d’Etude du XVIIe siècle (1955) pp. 9–36; also, La Vénalité des offices, p. 609.Google Scholar
  9. 93.
    R. Mousnier, ‘Etudes sur la population de la France au XVIIe siècle’, in Bulletin de la Société d’Etude du XVIIe Siècle, No. 16 (1952) pp. 527–42; also, Les XVIe et XVIIe siècles, pp. 145–9.Google Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Limited 1977

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  • Roland Mousnier

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