Unwilling Allies: Forced Cooperation during the Princely Fronde, 1650–53

Saturday, January 7, 2012: 2:30 PM
Iowa Room (Chicago Marriott Downtown)
James Coons, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The Prince de Condé attracted many of the most prominent nobles in France to his faction of frondeurs in 1650 and ’51 – Princes of the Blood, Marshals of France, and peers of all types aligned themselves with the Grand Condé after his break with Cardinal Mazarin. It seems remarkable, then, that the Prince went to the lengths he did to secure the cooperation of a minor Dijonnais nobleman, and the Guyennaise village of Blaye. Both entities appeared strategically important enough that the Prince would not hear their refusals, and applied direct pressure on both to join his rebellion. Additionally, the Prince’s relationships with the city of Bordeaux, the Parlement of Paris, even the King of Spain, and other individuals and corporate bodies were all punctuated by implied or direct threats by Condé. This paper will address the little-studied phenomenon of coercive network building during a pivotal moment in French history, to ask how intimidation and coercion functioned in creating and maintaining an alliance, and how these strong-arm tactics could be reconciled with prevailing ideas of loyalty and service.