Absolutism Absolutism When a king or queen who has unlimited power/centralized control of the government and seeks to control all aspects of society Divine Right theory that rulers power comes directly from God and the ruler is only responsible to God
Queen Elizabeth (Reign 1558 – 1603) Daughter of Henry VIII Battle w/Parliament over finances; economy suffers under her reign Protestant Made strict rules against Catholics, but didn’t enforce them Never married/No heirs (“Virgin Queen”) Supported the arts; arts flourish under her reign (Shakespeare)
Philip II of Spain (Reign 1556 – 1598) Devout Catholic Drove Muslim Moors & Jews out of Spain Tortured, killed or exiled thousands of Protestants Attempted to aid a Catholic in regaining the throne of France
Philip II of Spain The Spanish Armada In attempt to re-Catholicize England, he attacked England with 130 ships & 19,000 soldiers. Spain loses in shocking defeat Wars and Inquisition cost Spain tons of money Left Spain bankrupt
Peter the Great of Russia (Reign 1682 – 1725) Westernize and Modernize Peter believed Russia was years behind the rest of Europe Invited European engineers, architects, artists, merchants, shipbuilders, and craftsmen to Russia in order to catch the country up to the rest of Europe Why was Russia behind the rest of Europe?
Peter the Great Reforms Changed Russian calendar to coincide with rest of Europe All noble children (ages 10-15) had to be taught geometry and mathematics Outlawed beards unless you paid a special tax Created poll tax to build up manufacturing Organized a Russian army and built a navy
… In 1722 the establishment of the Table of Ranks brought to its logical conclusion a process that had been evolving for three centuries. It imposed obligatory lifelong state service on all ranks of the nobility. It established fourteen equivalent grades in the military, naval, and civil service and required that even princes of the most exalted families should begin at the lowest grade and work their way up the ladder. The Table of Ranks offered the privileges of nobility to anyone who performed state service and made service to the state the principal basis for privilege.…
… How great an effect did Peter have upon Russia? When he came to the throne, Russia was an insignificant state. He made it into a great power feared by all. At his accession [assumption of the throne] Russia had no armed forces except for the inefficient and untrustworthy Streltsy [hereditary military units]. When he died, there was a professional army of 210,000 men. He created a navy out of nothing, leaving behind him a fleet of forty-eight ships-of-the-line and many smaller vessels.… Peter signally [noticeably] failed to create the large, thriving middle class that Russia needed. In spite of the most strenuous efforts, Russia’s commerce and industry remained dependent upon the Tsar, so that when he died, there were not enough wealthy, far-sighted traders and industrialists to develop what he had begun. This lack of private initiative and enterprise was to remain one of Russia’s greatest social weaknesses until the Communist Revolution of 1917.…
Louis XIV of France (Reign 1643 – 1715) Known as the “Sun King” Never dressed himself Gave nobles the “privilege” and “honor” of dressing him Built Palace of Versailles Palace may have cost over US$2 billion
Louis XIV A portrait of Louis XIV depicting him as the god Apollo. Louis XIV revoked France’s policy of religious tolerance A Protestant sect, Huguenots, were intimidated and many fled France Used the military to bully the Huguenots Despite this, Louis wanted to be referred to as, “His most Christian Majesty”
…More and more Louis tried to impose uniformity in religious affairs. In the 1680s he intensified persecution of Protestants; his actions made the edict [of Nantes] nothing but a scrap of paper. Finally in 1685 he declared that the majority of French Protestants had been converted to Catholicism and that therefore there was no need for the edict. It was revoked. Now Louis launched a reign of terror. He refused to allow French Protestants to leave the country. He promised that those who remained could worship privately, free of persecution, but never kept the promise. Their churches were torn down, their gatherings forbidden, their children made to attend mass. The Waldensians in Savoy were massacred, and six hundred Protestants “caught making assemblies” were executed. Perhaps two hundred and fifty thousand fled abroad to escape persecution.…
Assessment What are some of the commonalities among many of the European absolute monarchs of the 17 th and 18 th century Europe? What are some of the commonalities among many of the European absolute monarchs of the 17 th and 18 th century Europe?
Absolutism Causes Decline of feudalism Kings consolidate fiefs Reformation & loss of Church’s authority Kings no longer have to answer to the Pope Growth of national kingdoms City-states and territories become countries