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The Age of Absolutism in Continental Europe

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1 The Age of Absolutism in Continental Europe


3 “In the name of the Galactic Republic, you are under arrest my lord…”

4 Are you threatening me master Jedi ?

5 “The Senate will decide your faith”

6 “I am the Senate”

7 During the Middle Ages: A monarch’s power over the people was limited
(Small Kingdoms, monarchs shared power with many nobles) The Roman Catholic Church was the only centralized power ruling over Western Europe. By the end of the Middle Ages, monarchs were beginning to gain power.

8 The Age of Absolutism (~ )

9 Def. Absolute monarch: A ruler who has complete authority over government and the lives of the people. Def. Rule by divine right: The belief that authority to rule comes directly from God.

10 The Rise of Monarchs in Europe:
Growth of the middle class (merchants)- more wealth for the king to tax. Growth of cities- made it easier for the king to control people. Decline of feudalism (nobles loose power) Colonies- provided wealth to monarchies

11 Challenges to the rising Monarchs:
The nobility The Church Rival Monarchs

12 France

13 Cardinal Richelieu: He strengthened the central government by destroying the power of the nobles and the Huguenots (During the reign of Louis XIII.)

14 France was a big winner at the end of the Thirty Years’ War
Cardinal Richelieu (Prime Minister of Louis XIII) was a Catholic Cardinal. But he decided that his country’s best interest lay in weakening the rival Catholic Hapsburgs who ruled the Holy Roman Empire (During the Thirty Years’ War) France was a big winner at the end of the Thirty Years’ War

15 Louis XIV (France) “The Sun King” “L’etat, c’est moi”- “I am the state” French styles of art, culture, manners, and customs became the standard for European taste. The palace of Versailles (cost $1.5 billion, had 10,000 rooms)

16 Louis XIV : “I am the State”



19 Edict of Nante (1598): Henry IV of France had granted religious tolerance to Huguenots.
Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nante ~100,000 Huguenots fled France Louis believed that a unified France had room for only one religion.

20 One of the characteristics of an absolute government was a professional standing army like the one employed by Louis XIV.

21 By establishing absolute control over every aspect of government Louis XIV epitomized the absolute monarch. As king, he controlled the economics, religion, foreign and domestic policies, and military actions of France.

22 Moliere: French actor-playwright who produced comedies that made fun of French Society. (Louis XIV)

23 Spain

24 Who was Charles V ?

25 The Grandson of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain
The Grandson of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. (They pushed the Muslims out of Spain, exiled Jews and send Columbus to “India.”) He was a Hapsburg. He was the first King of a united Spain. In 1519, he became the Holy Roman Emperor. During the reign of Charles V, Spain flourished because of the wealth that flowed from the New World.

26 Charles V had a son…

27 Phillip II (Spain) “It is best to keep an eye on everything” (Does he sound like an absolute monarch or what?) Advanced Catholic power throughout the world and continued the persecution of non-Catholics in Spain (Protestants, Jews, Muslims)

28 A devout Catholic & absolutist, Phillip II persecuted the Protestants in the Netherlands. This drained the Spanish treasury and led to war with England’s Elizabeth I. He send an armada to invade England (Elizabeth I) but was defeated.


30 Phillip II had a son…

31 Phillip III Phillip the III ceased action against the Dutch and reduced spending.

32 Phillip the III had a son…

33 Phillip the IV Philip IV ushered Spain into the height of its Golden Age.

34 “Siglo de oro”- “Golden Century”
Famous author: Miguel de Cervantes He wrote the first modern novel in Europe titled Don Quixote

35 Phillip IV did not concern himself with politics.
He gave governmental control to Olivares. (Richelieu's counterpart) Olivares got Spain involved in the Thirty Years’ War, which ultimately led Spain to War with France.

36 The Treaty of Westphalia:
Ends the Thirty Years War. France is a clear winner: gaining territory from Spain and Germany.

37 Spain After the Thirty Years’ War
Phillip V, the grandson of Louis XIV, ascended to the throne…this sparked an international controversy… The other European powers dreaded the idea of Louis XIV’s influence extending into Spain. Because of the controversy, Europe erupted into the War of Spanish Succession.

38 The War of Spanish Succession:
The “Great Alliance” challenged Spain and France. At the end of the war Philip V kept his Spanish throne. He brought absolutism to Spain which he learned from the best (his grandfather Louis XIV.)

39 Central Europe Prussia The Austrian Hapsburg Empire

40 Results of the Thirty Years’ War.
The Hapsburgs were the big losers: German princes gained almost total independence. (360 separate states, “one for everyday of the year.”) Germany was devastated. Protestantism established itself in Europe for good.


42 After the Thirty Years War:
Gradually, the Hapsburgs of Austria added new lands to their empire. While Austria is creating a strong Catholic State…Prussia emerges as a new Protestant Power. During the 1700s, Austria and Prussia battled for control over the German states.

43 Frederick the Great (Prussia)
Frederick the Great was the 2nd King of Prussia who used the army to strengthen the nation’s power. His military genius ultimately earned him the title “the Great” “Prussia is not a state which possesses an army, but an army that possesses a state.


45 Maria Theresa & Hapsburg Empire
First woman to rule over Hapsburg Lands (Austria) She fought Frederick the Great during the Eight-Year War of the Austrian Succession but was not able to force Frederick II out of the rich Hapsburg province of Silesia. She gave birth to 16 children and preserved the Hapsburg Empire by winning the support of most her people and by improving tax collection.




49 Peter the Great (Russia)
Peter, the Czar of Russia, is mostly remembered for his westernization (modernization) of Russia. He fought the Ottomans to gain a warm-water port on the Black Sea. (He lost) He fought Sweden to gain land along the Baltic Sea (He won)


51 Peter attempted to install a mercantilist economy in Russia by increasing exports and introducing new industries. However, when his efforts did not produce enough money, he simply raised taxes. Ironically, his policies contributed to the growth of serfdom. New capital city: St. Petersburg. He brought the Russian Orthodox Church under his control.


53 Catherine the Great (Russia)
Empress of Russia who began state sponsored education for boys and girls. (westernization) Ironically, more serfdom… She fought the Ottomans and won ! She gained Russia a warm water port on the Black Sea. In 1795, Catherine the Great agreed to partition (divide up) Poland between Russia, Austria and Prussia (Poland no longer on the map)

54 Balance of power: A distribution of military and economic power that prevents any one nation from dominating. Prussia vs. Austria – Control over German states. Britain and France – Competed for overseas empires. (America & India)


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