This paper discusses Cardinal Richelieu, who, in the late 1500s and early 1600s, was one of the stronger politicians behind the weakening French throne of King Louis VIII.
This paper explains that Richelieu, the villain in the “Three Musketeers”, is one of the reasons the marriage of church and state, which was the practice in Europe at the time, left such a sour taste in the mouths of those statesmen who crafted the American Constitution. The author points out that the monarchy was established so firmly that, even the long, poorly administered reign, and the series of rebellions, which occurred during that time, could not shake its foundation, and France became the dominating power on the continent of Europe, both in politics and in the arts. The paper relates that, while the Protestant Reformation had taken root in Europe less than a half century prior to Richelieu’s ascent to power, his allegiance to the Catholic Pope placed him at political odds with those who engaged in dissent.
As masterfully demonstrated by the Clinton administration, controlling public opinion is a process of paramount importance if a man of dubious character is to build a favorable legacy. Criticism needed to be stifled, and Richelieu did this with much success. He submitted the press who would question his advisory role to the king to a brutally repressive regime. As a result, most pamphlets published in France in his day supported the government. According to recent research into French history, the Cardinal extended his concept of spin control to any publication critical of the government, including popular cultural writers of the time, the Academie Francaise, which was intended to enhance the artistic and intellectual prestige of France.