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ry Press | Joan of Arc: Three ways the ‘Maid of Orléans’ made history
Joan of Arc’s short yet extraordinary life has inspired writers, artists, activists, and politicians throughout time. Her story is featured everywhere from First World War song lyrics to a new musical by David Byrne. She rose to fame with her notable military victory on the battlefield at Orléans; however, there are other ways in which her life influenced the course of history.
Changes to Anglo-French politics
Although the Hundred Years War would carry on for a further 22 years after her death, Joan of Arc can be attributed with marking a turning point in the very long and complicated civil war between the Dauphin (the future King Charles VII), the Burgundians, and the English. She provided a much-needed boost to morale and spurred on the French attempts to reclaim northern territory from the hands of the English.
England’s eventual loss of the conflict and land on the continent came as a major blow. Frustration with those in charge of the campaign led in part to England’s Wars of The Roses in the 1450s. It also corrupted the deep patriotism felt by the English after their victories at Poitiers and Agincourt, and established a Francophobia that carried on until the start of the beginning of the 20th century.
French identity and nationalism
During her lifetime Joan of Arc rallied Frenchmen from apathy into actively participating in a war of liberation. Her death solidified their resolve to fight for another two decades. When she was cleared of charges in a second posthumous trial requested by Charles VII in 1456 she was firmly cast as a symbol of French national identity.
Years later, after the Revolution, she came to symbolise a unified France – and one that resisted foreign influence. Ever since French politicians from both the left and the far right have claimed Joan of Arc as their banner carrier, with one side viewing her as a unifying force and the other as the Catholic woman who kicked out 15th-century ‘immigrants’. From the Vichy government to the National Front, Joan of Arc is a recurring mascot for political parties seeking to evoke patriotic fervour.
A feminist example
Whether or not Joan of Arc was truly guided by angelic voices it remains utterly remarkable that a teenage peasant girl from a small town would be able to have an audience with a king – let alone convince him be allowed to lead his armies into war. Women in the 1400s could only hold power through their royal or religious standing, and with neither of these Joan of Arc required help in order to make her way into the court and onto the battlefield. Several fellow women rose to her assistance, including King Charles VII’s mother-in-law, Yolande of Aragon, who helped her to see the king. Joan of Luxembourg supported her when she was captured, and Anne of Burgundy insisted that Joan of Arc was a virgin at her trial. The first female court writer for Charles VII, Christine de Pizan (who was herself defying traditional gender roles as a court-employed widow), compared Joan of Arc to female emancipators in the Bible, and claimed she ‘had a heart greater than any man’s’. Despite Joan of Arc’s achievements, both her friends and enemies would see her powers supplied by either divine or evil forces, rather than by the equal abilities of her gender.
Perhaps the key to Joan of Arc’s wide-ranging legacy is that she has morphed over the centuries to become all things to all people – a saint martyred by her Catholic church, a feminist who lacked female solidarity, and a monarchist poster child for democracy. Whether you find her a spiritual leader or a demonic radical, Joan of Arc remains in all of her forms, guises and re-imaginings a captivating and complex historical figure even today.
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Frequently Asked Questions About how did joan of arc help to unify france?
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Did Joan of Arc influence French culture?
Identity and nationalism in France During her lifetime, Joan of Arc inspired Frenchmen to come out of their complacency and engage in a war of liberation; after her death, they were even more determined to fight for another 20 years.
What effect did Joan of Arc have?
She led the French to many victories, including at Orleans, and her presence inspired the troops and gave them the confidence in the righteousness of their cause which ultimately led to France winning the Hundred Years’ War. She was driven by the conviction that it was her divine mission to restore the French king to the French throne.
France was unified under which king by Joan of Arc?
The majority of the nation already called Charles “King Charles VII”. But it was in following her obsession that Joan became a national symbol, helping to unify France and ending of the Siege of Orleans.
How did Joan of Arc contribute to France’s victory over England?
A decisive victory at Patay, the result of Joan’s encouragement of the French to pursue the English aggressively during the Loire Campaign, allowed the French army to advance on Reims unopposed, where Charles was crowned King of France with Joan by his side.
Assembling the French army under Joan of Arc, why?
With the conviction that she had been chosen by God to act in accordance with divine guidance, this courageous young girl persuaded the prince Charles of Valois to allow her to lead the French army to the besieged city of Orléans. Joan of Arc is a national hero in France, whose very name conjures up a mythical and mysterious sense of glory.
What are Joan of Arc’s three most significant moments?
When Joan of Arc meets the dauphin and offers to help him, he accepts her offer. Joan of Arc prays in Orleans Cathedral during the Hundred Years’ War. Joan of Arc is captured by the Burgundians and sold to the English. Joan of Arc organizes the Loire Campaign to bring Charles VII to Rheims for his coronation.
Which three miracles was Joan of Arc able to pull off?
Three nuns were miraculously healed from cancer after praying to Joan; technically, Joan was exempt from the first three miracles because of her martyrdom, but she still carried them out. On the way to canonization, Joan is also said to have miraculously cured a woman of tuberculosis and another woman of a hole in her foot.
Why did Joan of Arc defend France in battle?
A devout peasant in medieval France named Joan of Arc thought that God had appointed her to lead France to victory in its protracted war with England.