2 INTRODUCTIONIn the Middle Ages, the power of kings had been limited by nobles, parliaments, and the Catholic ChurchThe decline of feudalism, the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation, and the Commercial Revolution all helped enrich European society and increase the power of European monarchs (hereditary rulers)
3 THE BIG QUESTION:How did Europe’s rulers achieve absolute power?
4 WARS OF RELIGIONDuring the Reformation, most kings took control of religion within their own bordersReligious wars provided kings with an opportunity to build large standing armiesIntroduced new government officialsAllowed tax increases (resistance was put down by the king’s army)
5 CHANGING ROLES OF THE NOBILITY In the Middle Ages, nobles had been independent sources of powerIn the 1600s, rulers began to “tame” the nobility by keeping watch over them.Nobles kept wealth and privileges, but had to obey the king’s commandThe growing urban middle classes often allied themselves with kings against the nobility
6 JUSTIFICATIONS FOR ROYAL POWER “Reason of state” – justified doing whatever was necessary for the survival of the stateSome thought that without a strong central authority to keep order, society would break down, so kings were justified in seizing absolute power in order to maintain order in societyDivine right of kings – the king was God’s deputy on earth, and royal commands expressed God’s wishes
7 ACTIVITYComplete the chart of absolute rulers. Include the years the monarch ruled, the country the monarch ruled, and key legislations or policies.
8 LEFT SIDE ACTIVITYChoose one of the justifications for royal power and create a cartoon describing or illustrating it.
9 ABSOLUTISM IN RUSSIABy the end of the 15th century, rulers around Moscow declared independence from Mongol rule (adopted the system of royal absolutism on a grand scale)Conquered neighboring landsThe majority of population were serfs (just when serfdom was declining in Western Europe, it was increasing in Eastern Europe)Russian nobility pledged absolute loyalty to the Tsar in return for their power over serfs
10 ACTIVITYAdd Peter the Great ( ) and Catherine the Great ( ) to your chart
11 Left Side ActivityCreate a chart comparing absolutism in France and Russia. Include both similarities and differences
12 LIMITED MONARCHY IN ENGLAND English monarchs were never able to establish absolute rule as those in France, Spain and Russia didChecks had been placed on the English king’s powerMagna Carta (1215) guaranteed that Englishmen could not be fined or imprisoned without process of law and new taxes had to be approved by the king’s baronsParliament: established as a legislative body made up of nobles and elected representatives
13 ENGLAND’S ROAD TO LIMITED MONARCHY Create a flow chart describing the events leading to England’s Limited Monarchy:Tudor Monarchs: Henry VIII and Elizabeth IEarly Stuart Monarchs: James I and Charles IEnglish Civil War ( ): Oliver CromwellThe Restoration: Charles IIThe Glorious Revolution: William and Mary and the English Bill of Rights
14 POLITICAL THINKERS IN THE AGE OF ABSOLUTISM Thomas Hobbes – Man was not naturally good and was incapable of maintaining social order, therefore absolute rule was necessaryJohn Locke – believed rulers obtained power from the people, not God. Promoted the “social contract”. The purpose of government was to protect natural rights (life, liberty, property)Sir William Blackstone – explained English common law (judges following precedents of other courts) and England’s “mixed monarchy” where power was shared by king and Parliament.
15 EUROPEAN SOCIETY IN THE 18TH CENTURY Social Order – The “Old Regime”Society was aristocratic – people of noble birth were a race apart (superior to everyone else)Nobles owned the most land, served as army officers, became Church bishops, and held the highest government positions