A Protestant France?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Hypa, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. Hypa Member

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    What would be the most likely PoD and ATL leading to a Protestant France? Perhaps the creation of "protestant republic" in the south in a post-Saint Barthélemy (1572) reaction? Henri IV deciding not, finally, to abjure Protestantism (1593) and then going on to take Paris all the same (and what's more failing to be assassinated in 1610)? Is there any plausible scenario that might have led to the establishment in part or all of France of an official Protestant or reformed church?
     
  2. Akiyama Member

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    I was wondering the other day . . . you know how Catholic nations tend to have a more relaxed attitude to work than Protestant nations . . . well, what if France were Protestant and Germany were Catholic?

    Would this lead to the Germans working 35 hour weeks, long weekends, two-hour lunch breaks, all the workplaces are deserted in August etc. while the hard-working French are busy designing, engineering, manufacturing and exporting?
     
  3. Hendryk Banned

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    The most obvious POD would be Henry IV surviving the attempt on his life. A friend of mine is also toying with the idea of having Coligny, an influential Huguenot figure, survive the Saint Barthélémy massacre, and I've been trying to talk him into posting his speculations on this forum.
     
  4. Akiyama Member

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    Also, I'm reading Bloody Foreigners by Robert Winder at the moment. It's about immigration into Britain over the centuries. One chapter "A Refuge for Huguenots" is about the French Protestants (known as Huguenots, don't ask me why). Around 150,000 Huguenots left France in the 1680s, 60,000 to England and 90,000 to Holland, Germany and Switzerland. They tended to be craftsmen and merchants, relatively educated and wealthy compared to the general population. This must have had an effect on the economies of the countries involved. Maybe the industrial revolution could have started in France?
     
  5. Akiyama Member

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    Welcome to the board, Hypa :D
     
  6. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

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    It's certainly possible. (God, what was with Louis XIV? Did he want to go out of his way to help his enemies?)

    But, you have to consider: :Would a Protestant France's foreign policy necessarily be different than a Catholic France's?

    I also find the protestant work ethic idea a bit, well, weird. I mean, what as the first nation to industrialize on the continent? Belgium.
     
  7. Hendryk Banned

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    Well, one need only look at Denis Papin (1647-1712), a French engineer and early pioneer of steam power. In OTL he left France to escape religious persecution and died of poverty while in London. In an ATL in which Protestantism becomes the dominant strand of Christianity in France, or at least the Edict of Nantes isn't repealed, Papin may have been able to develop his research further, and with some luck may have led to the Steam Age starting several decades ahead of schedule, and in France instead of Britain.
     
  8. Condottiero Knight of the Square Table

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    It's funny but in Spain there are more working hours than in Germany, we have less holidays and the percentage of germans that sleep the siesta is bigger than the spaniards that can sleep after lunch.

    Stereotypes!
     
  9. Straha Banned

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    Perhaps we see an industrial revolution a century or so earlier?
     
  10. Thande Well Blade Runner got the ad screens right Donor

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    I must say, I have my doubts about Henri IV-who-decides-that-France-isn't-worth-a-mass actually converting France to Protestantism. I suspect the end result would be more like the reign of Mary I in England - a few years of an unpopular top-down-imposed faith, enforced possibly with atrocities, and then after he dies it all goes back to Catholicism, possibly with popular reprisals against the Huguenots et al.

    Is there any particular reason why this scenario is less likely than a Protestant France?
     
  11. Hendryk Banned

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    Short answer: no. It is indeed just as likely that France would go the English way, complete with a Cromwell analog and then a Catholic restoration (a successful one in this case). But a Protestant-majority France, complete with Protestant king, isn't an utter historical impossibility.
     
  12. SirCliveWolfe Member

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    Not sure enough of French history to comment on POD's et al but I do have a points and a question, that have been raised;

    1. The differance between the traditional view of Protestants being much more hard working than Catholics is recognised as not being ll that important.

    On that point I think it is more 'cultural' than religious. The Dutch, Belgiums and British had a different view of the world to that of the Frnech, Spanish and Austrians. Posibly (in GB and netherlands) due to being more 'Navay oriantated' in their economey than the others?

    2. I read that Britain had a massive advantage after sail ships were outdated by irons ones as Britain had larger Cola/Irons despoits than Frane. Would this have made a differance to a possible 'industrial revolution' in France rarther than Britain?
     
  13. Thande Well Blade Runner got the ad screens right Donor

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    I do think that England was Protestantism waiting to happen for a long time. I suspect if Luther hadn't happened, Henry VIII or an analogue would have just found some other movement to jump on the bandwagon of (what was it Turtledove had Lope de Vega muse in "Ruled Britannia" - something like 'I'm amazed the English haven't tried looking towards Turkey and had a go at being Mahometans for a while' :D ).

    I mean, look at the history. First the Celtic Church, and then a bunch of Angevin kings getting excommunicated every five minutes. :rolleyes: Mind you, Protestantism was probably especially appealing because it tied in with the characteristically English emphasis on an individual's choice and responsibility (well, broadly speaking).
     
  14. SirCliveWolfe Member

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    Totaly agree... although totally off topic, why does Mr Turtledove have such a passion for destroying/occuping Britain? :D
     
  15. Thande Well Blade Runner got the ad screens right Donor

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    As opposed to most American authors, who just totally ignore us? :D I'm not sure which is worse.
     
  16. sbegin Member

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    Maybe do away with Cardinal Richelieu? Wasn't he the one who persuaded Louis XIV to repeal the Edict of Nantes? If you just make France more tolerant, keep the Hugenots there, rather than having to flea for their lives. Richelieu was a radical, maybe someone else as advisor to the King wouldn't be quite so determined to remove all Protestants.
    With the Hugenots still in France, it may very well have given England a run for it's money in terms of industrial development: it had a larger population, it had resources from the New World (both Canada and the Carribean).
     
  17. SirCliveWolfe Member

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    That sounds like a plausable POD

    Canada... but for how long ;)

    It doesn't bother me really, just shows that all those authors have inferiority complexes about us. Not surprising when you think about it ;) :D
     
  18. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

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    To the parts of the revolution dependent on ironworking, yes. But to the rest of it? I'm not so certain.

    Besides, what else are the coal and iron fields of the Low Countries for?
     
  19. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

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    Canada didn't fall until the 18th century; had it contained several tens of thousands of Hugenot immigrants, with a population growing as rapidly as in OTL, the French might very well have pinned the English against the Atlantic.
     
  20. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

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    What about Ruled Britannia?

    There's a very interesting What if in here. A tolerant, religiously diverse French nation ushers in the industrial revolution....

    And the Sun King's glory brightens Europe.