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Dévots (French pronunciation: [devo], Devout) was the name given in France in the first half of the 17th century to a party following a Catholic policy of opposition to the Protestants inside France and alliance with the Catholic Habsburg Monarchy abroad.
Attached to the privileges of the intermediary institutions of power between the king and the people (parlements, provincial estates, aristocratic officers), the dévots opposed the development of an absolute monarchy, rejecting a centralized government in the hands of commoners from the bourgeoisie appointed by the king (as opposed to aristocrats who inherited their offices in the intermediary institutions of powers). They inspired the policy of the regent Marie de Médicis and later opposed Cardinal Richelieu, who was pushing for an absolute monarchy and sought an alliance with Protestant powers against the Habsburg Austria and Spain.
Although the Day of the Dupes (November 10, 1630), which confirmed Richelieu as prime minister, marked their political failure, the dévots nonetheless remained very influential (notably with the fervently Catholic regent Anne of Austria). Their influence was felt through the Society of the Holy Sacrament (Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement) until 1665.
Though Louis XIV established an absolute monarchy, the dévots remained active almost until the French Revolution, being very influential with two heirs to the French throne, Louis, duc de Bourgogne, grandson of Louis XIV, and Louis, Dauphin of France, son of Louis XV, both of whom died early and never reigned.
- Agnès Ravel: Le « parti dévot » à la cour de France sous Louis XIV, Louis XV et Louis XVI, 2010