Hundred Years War (1337-1453): The Maid of Lorraine: Joan of Arc - Educational Travel Lesson Plan

Educational Travel Lesson Plans

Hundred Years War (1337-1453): The Maid of Lorraine: Joan of Arc

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Description

Through an in-depth analysis of primary and secondary sources, students in this lesson will identify, understand and be able to explain how the details behind the story of Joan of Arc, her role during the Hundred Years War, the details behind her trial and execution by English and Church officials, how she was later exonerated by another Church court, and why she stands today as a symbol for French nationalism.

Subjects

European History

World History

Grade Level

11-12

Duration

90 minutes

Tour Links

  • Domremy, Lorraine Province
  • Joan of Arc Monument, Rouen
  • Palace Cardinal – Lucon, Reims
  • Place des Pyramides, Paris
  • Louvre, Paris
  • Pantheon, Paris

Essential Questions

  • Who was Joan of Arc?
  • What was Joan’s role in the Hundred Years War?
  • Why was she tried and executed?
  • Why is Joan seen as a symbol for the French?
  • How did Joan of Arc become a saint in the Catholic Church?

Key Terms

  • Charles VII
  • Heretic
  • Hundred Years War
  • Inquisition
  • Joan of Arc

King of England, render account to the King of Heaven of your royal blood. Return the keys of all the good cities which you have seized, to the Maid. She is sent by God to reclaim the royal blood, and is fully prepared to make peace, if you will give her satisfaction; that is, you must render justice, and pay back all that you have taken.

King of England, if you do not do these things, I am the commander of the military; and in whatever place I shall find your men in France, I will make them flee the country, whether they wish to or not; and if they will not obey, the Maid will have them all killed. She comes sent by the King of Heaven, body for body, to take you out of France, and the Maid promises and certifies to you that if you do not leave France she and her troops will raise a mighty outcry as has not been heard in France in a thousand years. And believe that the King of Heaven has sent her so much power that you will not be able to harm her or her brave army.

Joan of Arc, letter to the King of England, 1429

On 30 May 1431, in the Vieux Marche (center square) at Rouen in France, Jeanne d’Arc, a 19-year-old French girl from the town of Domremy in the province of Lorraine, was executed by burning at the stake by Church officials for the crime of heresy.  She had been convicted by a politically motivated church court of Inquisition for wearing men’s clothing.  According to contemporary accounts, her body was burned a second time to reduce her ashes thoroughly so no relics would be left. 

The story of Joan of Arc’s life is shrouded in legend and mystery.  More is unknown than known.  Some facts are studded with later stories and specifically designed to make the French look closer to God.  What is known is that a young girl named Joan from Domremy led a French army during the Hundred Years War, when French forces were fighting against England and its Burgundian allies for control of what would become France.  As the story goes, Joan was a virgin maid from a small village in the Lorraine Province (in today’s eastern France – close to the German border).  Apparently a pious girl, Joan began receiving visions at age 12 from different saints telling her to lead the French army and to help establish Charles VII as king.  A few years later, Joan acted on her visions, eventually traveling to Chinon, where she convinced the Dauphin (heir apparent) Charles to let her take command of the army.  Over the next 2 years, Joan’s army won a series of victories against the English in France.  Meanwhile, Charles was crowned king in Reims, and he in turn granted Joan and her family a noble title. 

After initial success, Joan’s fortunes eventually turned against her.  She was captured on 23 May 1430 by the Burgundians during the Battle of Compiegne and later sold to the English.  She was then moved to Rouen (the seat of the English holdings in France), put on trial for heresy by the Church.  After a lengthy trial, during which Joan apparently stymied English and Church officials time and time again, she was convicted and then executed. 

In July 1456, another Church court, called on the insistence of Charles VII and Pope Callixtus III, reviewed the case and overturned the verdict, declaring that Joan had been innocent of the charges and that her entire trial had been tainted by the pursuit of a secular vendetta.  Thus cleared, Joan became a symbol of the French in the Hundred Years War (by then over – the French won), and she was venerated by French citizens young and old.  By the time of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era, Joan was seen almost as the personification of French purity, righteousness and piety (although French revolutionaries like Robespierre would never attach themselves to such a religious figure).  She was beautified in 1909 by Pope Pius X and then canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920.  Many sources report that French soldiers on the Western Front carried two items into battle: pictures from home and an image of Joan of Arc to protect them.

Through an in-depth analysis of primary and secondary sources, students in this lesson will identify, understand and be able to explain how the details behind the story of Joan of Arc, her role during the Hundred Years War, the details behind her trial and execution by English and Church officials, how she was later exonerated by another Church court, and why she stands today as a symbol for French nationalism.

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  1. Students will identify, understand and be able to explain the details behind the life of Joan of Arc, including her role in the Hundred Years War.
  2. Students will identify, understand and be able to explain how secular leaders used the Inquisition to advance a secular agenda through an examination of the records of Joan’s trial and execution.
  3. Students will identify, understand and be able to explain how Joan was eventually cleared by the church, opening up the door for her veneration, beatification and eventual canonization.

To view resource web pages, download the lesson plan PDF above.

I. Anticipatory Set

  • Writing / Question: What are some symbols of America’s vision of being God’s chosen people? (5 min)
  • Handouts – Copies of the primary sources and readings from the websites listed. (5 min)

II. Body of Lesson

  • Lecture / PPT – Joan of Arc. (20 min)
  • Video – The Hundred Years War: Joan of Arc (15 min)
  • Independent Activity – Students read the primary sources and articles on Joan of Arc and the Hundred Years War, taking notes as appropriate. (20 min)
  • Suggestion: Have the students read some of these articles for homework the night before class to prepare for class discussion.
  • Group Activity – Discussion on Joan of Arc, her role in the Hundred Years War, her trial and execution, and how she was eventually exonerated. (20 min)

III. Closure

  • Assessment – Essay / DBQ: Using specific examples from the text, explain in detail how Joan of Arc helped lead the French army to victory in the Hundred Years War, why she was tried and executed, how she was finally exonerated, and how she is seen by the French people today.

Extension

On tour: Pantheon (Paris)

While on tour, students will visit the Pantheon in Paris, burial place for many famous sons and daughters of France, including Voltaire, Rousseau, and Marie Curie. While Joan is not buried in the Pantheon (her ashes were scattered to the winds after her execution), there are 4 murals painted on the walls by Jules Eugene Lenepveu. The paintings themselves show Joan at 4 moments in her life: as a pastoral child, in her armor at Orleans, at the stake in Rouen, and at Rheims for the coronation of King Charles VII. Commissioned between 1886 and 1890 for the 100th anniversary of the opening of the French Revolution, Lenepveau’s prints are revered by a French people with no images of Joan from her lifetime. Shortly after these murals were painted, Joan was beatified by the Catholic Church (1909). Pope Benedict XV canonized Joan (made her a saint) in 1920. Her feast day (a national holiday in France) is celebrated on 30 May each year (the day she was executed).

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