For many centuries, the lucky people were born into noble families. It didn’t matter if they turned out to be as great as their other family members. They were born noble and nothing could possibly take that away from them. The greatness of a person could only be recognized by which family they were born into. In the 16th century, this started to change. Those who worked hard and did actions worthy of being called a noble became one. Between the 16th and 18th century, the non-nobles could become nobles through heroic actions.
Around this time, the nobles were being questioned. The Villagers of Mondeville (Document 3) thought that the nobles used their title as an excuse to do commit bad deeds. This source is most likely reliable due to the fact that it was stated to the Parliament. This point of view is expected because of the social situation of these villagers. They would think of the nobility as the enemy, and in this case, it happens to be. Pierre de La Primaudaye felt a similar way about the nobles. He stated “There is no true Nobility except that which derives from virtue and morality.”(Document 2) The nobles should have their titles because of the good things they do for their people and their kingdom. His point of view is expected. He is a nobleman himself and he should know the truth about what it takes to be a true noble.
Henri, prince of Condé, agrees with Primaudaye. He felt that the nobles had their power due to whom they were associated with. (Document 4) His view is expected because he is a nobleman. He must know what being a true noble is about. It’s not about whom you have on your side or the riches that come with the name. It’s about the services and sacrifices made. Melière, a non-noble playwright, passionately expressed his views on the nobles. He argued that the coat of arms and the background means nothing if the person doesn’t live up to their expectations. He stated “The way you act is much more important than the way you sign your name.” (Document 8) Actions speak louder than words and titles. His bias is to be expected. The way he writes makes him seem bitter and angry.
With understanding the true meaning of nobility, it led others to have a more open mind. King Louis XIII believed that all men, no matter the status, should come together and defend their kingdom as one instead of fighting amongst themselves. When they kill each other, they have less people to defend with. It is useless to kill someone who is part of his or her own land. They should also respect their king’s wishes if they have their honor. (Document 6) King Louis’ point of view is unexpected. Since he is a king, most would expect him to just keep the noble-born by his side.
However, he does what a true king should: do what is right for the survival of his nation. This is a reliable source because it is a widely known declaration. Like Louis XIII, Marc Antoine Millotet has an open mind to letting non-nobles hold titles. (Document 7) Unlike the traditional ways, non-nobles needn’t have three generations of office holding before them. The protocol was being changed. Non-nobles could earn the right to hold office. Millotet’s view is expected due to the influences during this time. King Louis XIV also had a similar opinion on this matter. He stated that being born into a noble family is “the result of blind chance” (Document 10) A king should reward a person with the title because of their actions. Nobility is not always a result of ancestry. His bias was unexpected due to his position. However, once again the kings think of what it means to truly to a noble.
Even with all of the evidence of unworthy nobles, some people chose to stick with the bloodline. Gilles André de La Roque thought that those born into noble families have a certain skill they possess which makes them better warriors. (Document 9) They have to acquire it from their ancestors. With that said, non-nobles would never possess those skills and that makes them unworthy. His bias is expected because he is a nobleman. Unlike the other open-minded sword noblemen, he sticks up for the people like him. Being born into a certain family, a noble one makes it special. It wouldn’t be special if anyone could become a warrior. Baron Francois Philippe Coubert carries the same sentiment. He stated “the rank of officer is no longer reserved for them alone.” (Document 11) The ancestors of the nobles worked hard for their positions, so it is only fair for than honor to be passed down. His point of also expected, as one of the noble swordsman similar to Roque. They feel threatened by the non-nobles taking over what is “rightfully theirs”. Philippe-Antione Merlin explains the impact of the non-nobles. He feels that they are out of place and act like they are superior. The nobles feel that they would never be on the same level. All of these men feel that the title is most important. Not just anyone can have it.
In the end, most people came to their senses and realized that the title didn’t matter. One had to earn the right to be honored through their actions. No matter what the rank was, all warriors and soldiers should stick together to defend their nation in order to prosper. However, few still held onto their belief in the bloodline. In the end, it didn’t matter what those few thought. The ability to become a noble would soon change and it would now depend on the skills one possesses. When someone already has a title, the greatness would have to be proven. And those who are not born of noble blood would still have a chance to have power.