Government and Politics in the Late Middle Ages
Governance assumed institutional forms in the late Middle Ages, at the national level in France and England and in cities and villages virtually everywhere. After 1200, local communities and their representatives were gradually incorporated into the structures of the national monarchies, generally in assemblies. During the fifteenth century the kings, now mindful of what could happen to rulers whose assemblies became too powerful, negotiated with local assemblies of estates and avoided call national Estates General. This chapter talks about the French royal administration which developed into recognizably 'modern' forms in the late Middle Ages through expansion of the competence of the royal court and household, but there were significant differences from England. Although the French government was structurally similar to the English, it was considerably less sophisticated in 1200, although thereafter it grew rapidly as the French royal household, court system and tax structure underwent an enormous expansion.