Notes of Lessons: European History, Class IV

Notes of Lessons: European History, Class IV

[We have thought that it might be of use to our readers (in their own families) to publish from month to month during the current year, Notes of Lessons prepared by students of the House of Education for the pupils of the Practising School. We should like to say, however, that such a Lesson is never given as a tour de force, but is always an illustration or an expansion of some part of the children’s regular studies (in the Parents’ Review School), some passage in one or other of their school books.—Ed.]

Subject: European History Class IV Time: 25 minutes

By H. Dyke
The Parents’ Review, 1906, pp. 487-488


I. To acquaint the girls with the life of Richelieu.

II. To connect the period of French history covered by his life with their previous knowledge of contemporary events in Europe.

III. To help them to admire in Richelieu (a) his unselfish devotion to the interests of his country; (b) his untiring energy and zeal; (c) his political genius.

IV. To give a vivid picture of the condition of France before and after the administration of Richelieu.

V. To help the girls to an intelligent use of books by cultivating the habit of grasping the contents of the pages read at a single reading.


Step I.—The girls read silently the account of Richelieu’s administration in Lord’s Modern Europe (5 pages).

Step II.—Question them upon the condition of France during the regency of Marie de Medicis, before the appearance of Richelieu in the State.

Step III.—Gather from the girls what they know of Richelieu’s early life, supplementing their knowledge.

Step IV.—Ask them the object of Richelieu’s life and political work, viz., to consolidate the power of France and extend her boundaries. Arrange his political aims under three headings: (1) To destroy the power of the Huguenots. (2) To crush the too-powerful nobles. (3) To humiliate Austria.

Step V.—(1) Ask the girls how Richelieu attained the first of these aims, giving some account of the siege of La Rochelle. (2) Supplement their knowledge of his crusade against the nobles, mentioning the humiliation of Marie de Medicis, and Gaston of Orleans and the conspiracy of Cinq Mars. (3) Connect his third aim with their previous knowledge of the course of the Thirty Years War, showing that the terms of the Peace of Westphalia were largely dictated by Richelieu, and that they were unfavourable to Austria.

Step VI.—Question as to the means used by Richelieu to extend the boundaries of France. (1) The declaration of war with Spain, resulting in the triumph of France. (2) The alliance with England.

Step VII.—Ask in what ways Richelieu benefited France. (1) He improved and protected commerce, and restored law and order. (2) He created a standing army. (3) He was a patron of art, and formed the French Academy. (4) He raised France to a foremost place among the countries of Europe.

Step VIII.—Read a short sketch of Richelieu as a man and as a politician. (If time) ask the girls to express their opinion upon the justice of Richelieu’s policy.

Step IX.—Summarise by asking the girls to discuss Richelieu’s policy in connection with his three-fold aim, showing: (1) By crushing the power of the Huguenots he united the kingdom and stamped out a dangerous element of enquiry. (2) By humiliating the nobles he averted the danger of a civil war which threatened France during the regency of Marie de Medicis. (3) By reducing the power of Austria he maintained the balance of power in Europe.

Step X.—Show a portrait of Richelieu, and recommend to the girls Cinq Mars, if they have not already read it.