Conclaves in the Nineteenth Century

  • Frederic J. Baumgartner


In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the conclave was the most uniform in format, procedure, and results that it has been throughout its history. Every conclave took place in the Vatican palace with about sixty cardinals attending, of whom 90 percent were Italian. They each lasted about two months, and the elections were controlled by the dominant political power of the era, usually France. The popes chosen in these conclaves conformed closely in social status, careers, and age. Just as the social and political structures of ancien régime Europe were deemed permanent and ordained by God, so too the method of choosing the pope and the type of man chosen were seen as having reached their final divine perfection. The coming of the French Revolution would shatter all of those illusions.


Papal State French Revolution Italian Government Ancien Regime French Republic 
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© Frederic J. Baumgartner 2003

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  • Frederic J. Baumgartner

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