chapter
INTRODUCTION
Pages 2

This second part of the book explores the relations between the ministry and other groups and corporations. Attention is focused on Jansenism and the parlement of Paris. From 1713 to the 1760s, religious conflict played a vigorous role in France. Jansenist resistance to the royal policy of enforcing the Bull Unigenitus, which sought to condemn the movement, was to pose a serious and long-running challenge to the exercise of royal power. The movement developed two strategies, both of which were to have a profound effect upon the nature of French politics. First, the Jansenists’ appeal to public opinion in numerous publications, including their clandestinely published ecclesiastical gazette, was to play a part in educating a wider public in the politics of religion. Church and state were so closely interwoven in theory and practice, that the issue of the relations between the two powers raised questions about the nature of monarchical authority and the rights of the people. Unjust persecution was seen as evidence of ‘despotism’ and the Jansenist public began to view the monarchy in this light. It will, therefore, be argued that the politicisation of the literate public and creation of public opinion that is usually situated in the 1750s, at least begins in the 1720s and 1730s, if not well before. Second, the Jansenists’ attempt to defend themselves against persecution through the courts in turn led to a widening of the sphere of political participation in the first half of the century. The movement was responsible for bringing the parlement and the order of lawyers into politics in more active and militant ways.