Between Crown and Community: Politics and Civic Culture in Sixteenth-century Poitiers
Cornell University Press, 2004 - 313 pages
The sixteenth century was an important period of transition in France, in which antagonistic religious beliefs led to prolonged civil wars and a growing state apparatus competed with medieval notions of political authority and the social order. Poitiers, a midsized provincial capital, actively experienced these tensions. Early known as a center of Reformed belief, it became a stronghold of ultra-Catholic sentiment by 1575. In examining sixteenth-century Poitiers, Hilary J. Bernstein argues that civic governments and the French monarchy enjoyed a mutually beneficial and reinforcing relationship rather than an antagonistic one; that disparate urban groups shared a political language for defining the identity and interests of the city that helped to balance the exclusive nature of urban government; and that French provincial cities did not suffer inevitable decline at the hands of the developing state but, instead, continued to help define the nature of early modern political culture.
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