The seventeenth century was a period of war and instability in Europe. In France, the dawning of a new century was marked by the Edict of Nantes, which granted the right to practice Protestantism in various parts of France to Huguenots. This caused great discontent of French Catholics. Subsequently, the English Queen Elizabethâ€™s favorable rule set unreasonable standards for future monarchs. The insecurity caused by this led to dramatic changes in government, and the fluctuation between power and privilege of aristocrats in both countries. The seventeenth century saw the decline of the French aristocracyâ€™s power and the retention of its privilege, whilst the English aristocracy, specifically the House of Commons in parliament, maintained its economic dominance and privileges. The completion of Versailles contained and restrained the French aristocrats, denying them of their previous political power while permitting them a courtly life. Life in England would be dominated by two sequential wars: the English Revolution and the Glorious Revolution, each a case of de ja vu.
Englandâ€™s aristocrats showed a great arrogance during the seventeenth century due to the massive financial power they held. During the Elizabethan era (second half of the sixteenth century), Englandâ€™s aristocrats willingly sacrificed some power to the Queen, whose skillful politics, such as asking for tolerance because she was a woman, gave her the empathy and lukewarm support of Parliament and the House of Commons (McK, 550). The standards set by Elizabethâ€™s interaction with parliament contrasted strongly with James Iâ€™s less-than-civil policy, once stating when told the people wanted to see him, â€œGod's wounds, I will pull down my breeches and they shall also see my arse.â€ James would continue to clash with Parliament when he presented his speech, The Powers of the Monarch in England, to them (James I, 70).