General states. General states in France
General states were established by the FrenchKing Philip IV in 1302. This was done in order to obtain support in the person of influential classes for the struggle with Pope Boniface VIII. The general states had in their composition three chambers, in which the citizens, clergymen and nobility sat. At first the last two were typed by the king. However, by the end of the 15th century they had become elected.
Principle of decision-making
The history of France says that every questionwas considered by each of the chambers of the assembly separately. The decision was made by a majority of votes. Finally, it was approved at a joint meeting of the three chambers. And each of them had only one vote. In such conditions, the privileged classes (nobility, clergy) always received the majority. They had nothing to agree with each other.
Frequency of convocation
General states in France were notA permanent body, like the parliament in Britain. The frequency of their convocation was not established. The king collected the states at his discretion. The convocation of the States-General occurred most often in times of various upheavals and political instability. The list of issues discussed and the duration of the meetings were determined by the king.
The main reasons for convening
General states were convened toexpress the opinion of estates on such issues as the declaration of war, the conclusion of peace and other important topics. The king sometimes consulted, learned the position of the assembly about various bills. However, the decisions of the States of the General Staff were not binding and were of a recommendatory nature. The most frequent reason for convening meetings was the Crown's acute need for money. French kings often turned to estates for financial aid. At the meetings, the next taxes were discussed, which at that time were introduced only for one year. Only in 1439 King Charles VII received the permission to collect a permanent collection - the royal thalla. However, if it came to any additional taxes, it was necessary to collect the General States again.
The relationship between the Crown and the congregation
General states often turned to kings withcomplaints, protests and requests. They had to make various proposals, criticize the actions of royal officials and administration. But since there was a direct link between the requests of the states and the results of their vote on the funding requested by the king, the latter was often inferior to them.
The meeting as a whole was not an ordinary toolroyal power, although it helped her to strengthen its position in the country and strengthen. States often confronted the Crown, not wanting to make the necessary decisions. When the class congregation manifested character, the monarchs for a long time stopped its convocation. For example, during the period 1468-1560. The states were assembled only once in 1484.
The conflict between royal power and the General States
The royal power was almost always soughtnecessary decisions from the states-general. But this does not mean that the congregation has always obeyed kings unconditionally. The most serious conflict between the royal power and the states dates back to 1357. It occurred during the urban uprising in Paris, when King Johann was captured by the English.
The work of the States-General was attended bymostly representatives of citizens. They developed a reform program, which was called the "Great March Ordinance." In exchange for the funding given to the authorities, they demanded that the collection and collection of funds be monitored by a meeting that was to discuss these issues three times a year without the permission of the king. Of the participants, reformers were elected, which were given extraordinary powers: the right to control the activities of royal officials, dismissal and punishment (up to the death penalty). But the attempt of the General States to subordinate their finances was not a success. After the suppression of the uprising in Paris and the peasants' speeches of Jacqueria, the crown rejected all the reform demands.
Powers of Deputies
Elected deputies had an imperative mandate. Their position on all issues was clearly regulated by the voters' instruction. After the deputy returned from this or that meeting, he was obliged to report to his electorate.
In certain regions of the country (Flanders,Provence) at the end of the XIII century. local class assemblies begin to be formed. At first they were called consiliums, parliaments or simply representatives of the three classes. However, in the fifteenth century, the term "states" was firmly entrenched behind them. By this time, they already existed in virtually all provinces. And in the XVI century the term "states" began to add the word "provincial". The peasant class was not allowed in the assembly. Kings often opposed certain regional states when they were under the undue influence of the local feudal aristocracy. For example, in Languedoc, Normandy, etc.
The reasons for the loss by the General States of their importance
General states were created in conditions whenthe powers of the big feudal lords were not much less than the power of the king himself. The meeting was a convenient counterbalance to local rulers. At that time, they had their own armies, minted their own coins and depended little on the Crown. However, the royal power grew stronger over time. French monarchs gradually increased their influence, building a centralized vertical.
In the XV century on the basis of the royal curia was createdA large council, which included the legists, as well as the 24 highest representatives of the spiritual and secular nobility. He met every month, but the decisions were of a recommendatory nature. In the same century, a lieutenant-general appeared. They were appointed by the king from representatives of the highest nobility for the management of provinces or groups of bards. Centralization also touched cities. Kings were given the opportunity to restrict citizens in various rights, to change previously issued charters.
The Crown also carried out a unification of the judicialsystem. This made it possible to reduce the influence of the clergy. Even more strengthened the royal power to collect a permanent tax. Charles VII organized a regular army with a clear hierarchy of subordination and centralized leadership. And this led to the fact that medieval France became less dependent on the big feudal lords.
In all regions there were permanent garrisons andmilitary formations. They had to stop any disobedience and speeches of local feudal lords. The influence on the state affairs of the Paris Parliament has significantly increased. The Crown also established the Council of Notables, in which only the highest representatives of the classes (except the peasantry) sat. With his consent, it was possible to introduce new taxes. As a result of the strengthening of royal power, the General States in France gradually lost their significance.