Absolutism and the Divine Right of Kings What Do These Terms Mean?
Changing the role of a Monarch The principles of Absolutism and Divine Right changed the role of a king. For hundreds of years, kings challenged the church for authority over their subjects,but the political ideology of divine right stated that monarchs received their authority directly from god. How would this principle change the balance of power in Europe?
The Church Loses Control European Kings prior to Absolute Monarchs received their authority from the Pope,(Think about Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Emperors) however this new breed of monarchs had divine right. The church lost power as a result of the Crusades (this was due to the growth of towns and the middle class who looked to the king to protect trade routes), and continued to lose power as a result of the Renaissance and the Reformation.
Powerful Monarchs King Henry VIII of England Philip II of Spain Elizabeth I of England Louis XIV of France Peter the Great of Russia
Henry VIII He was never supposed to become king, his brother died, and he had to marry his brother’s wife, Catherine of Aragon. This act was against church laws, but the church allowed the marriage.
Henry’s Act of Defiance Henry’s reign will forever be marred by his personal life. After years of marriage to Catherine, he sought a divorce because she gave him no male heir to the throne. He used the fact that it was against church policy to marry a brother’s widow. When the church denied the divorce, he broke away from the Catholic Church with the aid of Parliament, and created The Church of England, making him the political and religious leader of England. Just a few years prior to this, Henry had been named the leading defender of the faith by the Pope. He would spend the rest of his life trying to have a son. He married 6 times in his quest to get an heir. In all of his marriages, he had 2 daughters and no sons. Henry’s political life was brilliant, he increased the power of the Navy, as well as increased the royal treasury and landholdings. Despite all of his accomplishments, he is considered to be a poor leader by many.
Henry VIII Henry VIII became inactive because of an injury that he suffered. As a result his lavish parties left him out of shape. Many historians fell that Henry VIII is an example of a Machiavellian ruler.
Phillip II When he became king, Spain was the strongest country in the world. He saw himself as the leading defender of Catholicism in Europe. He brought an end to the spread of Protestantism in Spain.
Spain Loses Power He then turned his attention to the north, where he wanted to rid the Netherlands of Protestantism. Spain lost this battle, because England was sending aid to help the Dutch. Philip’s response was to send his strong navy known as the Spanish Armada to retaliate against England.
England Defeats the Spanish Armada (1588) The Defeat of the Armada symbolized the end of Spain’s supremacy in Europe. Philip II inherited the strongest country in Europe, and when his reign ended, Spain had lost this position.
Elizabeth I Daughter of Henry VIII. Became the Queen after her half-sister Mary died without an heir (Nicknamed Bloody Mary). She restored Protestantism in England after her sister had made it illegal.
Elizabeth Becomes England’s Greatest Monarch She aided the Dutch revolt against Spain Encouraged sea captains (pirates) such as Sir Francis Drake to raid Spanish merchant ships and New World colonies and bring the riches back to England She organized the Navy that defeated the Spanish Armada.
Elizabeth the Virgin Queen Elizabeth never married, she took England as her spouse. She lived her life in fear, because no one felt that a woman should be in such a great position of power. She is still revered as one of the greatest leaders in history. Despite having many political enemies, she accomplished more than many of her contemporaries.
Louis XIV Inherited the throne very young, and would remain the King of France for over 70 years. He called himself the Sun King. Why do you think that he called himself this?
Louis XIV’s Reign He improved the economy by expanding colonies in India and North America. He began to persecute Protestants in France, many of them fled the country. Fought a series of wars to expand France’s territories. Built the Palace of Versailles where he maintained a lavish court His famous quote was “I am the state”, what did he mean by this statement?
Louis XIV’s Legacy At his death, France was the leading nation on the European continent. Years of war, absolutism, and heavy taxes left his people upset. His descendents would have a hard time ruling after his reign. Louis did many great things for France,as well as many bad things. Was he a good leader or a poor leader? Explain.
Peter the Great Infatuated with European customs. He strived to modernize Russia. Began to pass laws that went against old Russian customs. (ex. He wanted men to shave off their beards, a long time Russian custom, so he charged a beard tax for men who wanted to have a beard.
Peter Moves His Court Peter wanted Russia to have a city that looked European, so he moved his court to St. Petersburg, after along war with Sweden in which Russia won the territory. The city was very difficult to build, thousands of peasants died in the process of its creation. He also went to European countries and posed as a student, where he learned the art to ship making. When he returned to Russia he began to build his navy.
St. Petersburg, the Window to the West St. Petersburg gave Russia its first seaport. Peter was hoping that trade with Europe would further aid in the modernization of Russia.
Peter’s Legacy Created a strong army and navy that was loyal to the king Introduced math, science, education, and industry into Russia. Fought to bring feudalism to an end in Russia. Despite all that he did to help modernize Russia, he was despised by the Russian Nobility for trying to change tradition. Do you think that one man has the right to change his people’s customs against their will, even if it will improve the society? Why or Why not?