Facing the Revocation tells the story of one French Protestant (Huguenot) family, the Robillard de Champagnes, as they faced the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, issued under Louis XIV, which criminalized their religion in 1685. Carolyn Chappell Lougee challenges the way Huguenot history has been told for 300 years, ever since the Huguenots themselves set its principal interpretive lines, thereby offering new insights into the reign of Louis XIV. Denying the standard ascription of deeper faith to the Huguenots who emigrated and venal motives to those who remained in France, this study shows how complex the considerations were-at once social, familial, economic, and political, as well as religious-that impelled individuals and families either to leave the country or stay and convert to the king's religion. Lougee uses evidence elucidating Huguenot escapes from France to question how intent Louis XIV was on stopping Huguenots from leaving, and how closely he and his agents hewed to the letter of the law prescribing imprisonment for captured fugitives.
Exploring the personal stories of several families among the Champagnes' social set who stayed after the Revocation, Facing the Revocation sheds new light on the possibilities for Protestant resistance in Louis XIV's late reign and on the satisfactions available to families who complied with the king's will, while demonstrating how strongly the values emigrants like Marie de La Rochefoucauld de Champagne and her children brought with them from France shaped their experiences in changed circumstances.