Richelieu: Principal Minister to Louis XIII

Komata, Sharon
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
It has been the interpretation of nineteenth century historians that Cardinal Richelieu, Principal Minister to Louis XIII (1624-1642), virtually governed France alone with an iron hand in the name of that weak and pliant king. Historians such as A. Bazin, J. Caillet, and Vicomte d'Avenel centered their interpretation of Louis XIII's ministerial government solely on the King’s relationship with Richelieu and overlooked the relationships among the other ministers such as Comte de Chavigny, Secretary of State with the Department of Foreign Affairs; François Sublet de Noyers, Secretary of State for War; Claude de Bullion, Superintendent of Finance; and Claude le Bouthillier, Superintendent or Finance, and their relationships with Richelieu and Louis XIII. As a result, the work of these men was credited to Richelieu who emerged as the all-powerful statesman, stern, cruel, efficient, almost superhuman in his administrative abilities, who alone sought to strengthen France internally and to counter the threat of the Hapsburgs externally.
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