Write 500 words or less and evaluate Cardinal Richelieu's (France's 1st Prime Minister) comments on education, available in the selection from his Political Testament. Richelieu was interested in strengthening the Monarchy as an expression of the state of France, not just in the present reign of his King, Louis XIII, but for the future of France and the Monarchy as an ubiquitous ruling institution. It needs to be remembered, that in a Catholic state, like 17th century France, education would have been the exclusive purview of the Church, with its clergy serving as educators. Protestant states had embraced education and literacy for all Christians, following Luther's injunction that Christians should be able to seek God for themselves within the scriptures, rather than through the Church acting as an intermediary (though it must be noted that Martin Luther, one of the leading scriptural scholars of his time, believed that this would result in the general body of the Christian laity agreeing with his views -- which he was shocked to discover didn't happen).
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Cardinal Richelieu believed that education needed to be reformed, but solely within the Church; additionally the Church was to control educational policy. He states that “a knowledge of letters is entirely indispensable to a country,” but that “it is certain that they should not be indiscriminately taught to everyone” (14). This principle differed from Martin Luther, who argued that all Christians were eligible to receive a free education from the Church and that those who decided to convert should receive those privileges....
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