How did politics shape the religious positions of the French leaders? What led to the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, and what did it achieve?
Politics greatly shaped the religious positions of the French leaders, especially Catherine de Medicis, the queen mother. Catherine de Medicis’ rein exemplifies the political struggle of three powerful French families, the Bourbons, Montmorency-Chatillons, and the Guises, who were Protestant, Protestant, and strictly Catholic, respectively. The Queen mother first sided with the Protestant French families; however, after the Duke of Guise massacred many Protestants, the Queen mother, out of fear for the Guises, sided with the Catholic family. Catherine de Medicis, like the Guises, wanted a Catholic France, but she feared a Guise-dominated monarchy, so she tried to balance one side against the other. After Catherine de Medicis sided with the Guises, she felt extreme Guise pressure to silence Protestants after the Protestant leader Coligny was assassinated by the Guises. Catherine feared a Protestant attack on the crown, so she coordinated attacks across France that killed 20,000 French Protestants, later named the Saint Bartholomew’s day massacre. The massacre caused the civil conflicts between families in France to become international wars of religion