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Absolutism in Eastern Europe

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1 Absolutism in Eastern Europe
How did the basic structure of society in eastern Europe become different from that of western Europe in the early modern period? How and why did the rulers of Austria, Prussia, and Russia manage to build powerful absolutist states? Absolutism in Eastern Europe

2 I. Geography of Eastern Europe
3 aging empires: Holy Roman Empire Republic of Poland Ottoman Empire 3 emerging states: Austria Prussia Russia

3 Russia Prussia Poland Holy Roman Empire Austria Ottoman Empire

4 A. Holy Roman Empire (after 1648)
never very strong remember Voltaire? 30 Years’ War delivered final blow econ, arts, lit, science  religious disunity central authority  Holy Roman empire in 1648

5 H.R.E. continued – gov’t structure:
emperor elected by 9 electors, leaders of imp. German states Habsburg position – bargain w/ electors to keep it imperial diet authority to raise troops & taxes  lost after 30 Yrs. War

6 H.R.E. continued… Brandenburg-Prussia not able to become absolutist as a whole, but individual states could: Brandenburg-Prussia (Hohenzollerns) Austria (Habsburgs) 1806 – HRE dissolved Austria

7 B. Republic of Poland (about 1650)
Kingdom of Poland + Grand Duchy of Lithuania republic = elected king + constitutional liberties weak central authority real authority = szlachta (landed aristocracy) & regional diets heterogeneous pop. Catholic

8 Republic of Poland continued…
1795 – end of republic: carved up by stronger, expansionistic states

9 C. Ottoman Empire (about 1650)
strongest of the 3 aging empires, BUT: weakened gov’t weakened military once strong – janissaries, well-equipped, devshirme feared – sieges on Vienna in 1529 & 1683 Muslim religious toleration heterogeneous pop. Ottoman print of devshirme in Bulgaria. Every fifth Christian child taken.

10 1923 – dissolution

11 EXPANSION & GROWTH!! II. West vs. East
Similar paths of development up to 1300: trade, towns, pop.  expansion into frontier  opportunities for socioeconomic advancement EXPANSION & GROWTH!!

12 West vs. East Diverged after 1300: Western Europe Eastern Europe
serfdom abolished serfdom reestablished weak lords powerful lords urban agrarian strong middle class weak middle class strong states – strong central authority weak empires – weak central authority

13 Serfdom in Eastern Europe
How did eastern European landlords return peasants to serfdom? made rulers issue laws restricting peasants’ movement hereditary subjugation = serfdom passes on through generations took over peasants’ land and  labor obligations growth of estate agriculture

14 Serfdom in Eastern Europe
How were eastern landlords able to enforce their changes to the condition of the peasantry? Controlled local justice.

15 Serfdom in Eastern Europe
Why did serfdom reemerge in eastern Europe? economic interpretation: 14th-15th c. agricultural depression & pop.  labor shortage landlords tie peasants to land 16th c. prosperity returns but lords finish what they started flaw in argument: Western Europe had identical economic development but did not reinstate serfdom

16 Serfdom in Eastern Europe
Why did serfdom reemerge in eastern Europe? political interpretation: most convincing argument Western Europe Eastern Europe What happened strong monarchs = landlords  power weak monarchs + war = landlords  power Different concepts of monarchical authority monarch has sovereignty and protects interests of his people monarch is only 1st among equals; does not protect interests of his people

17 Serfdom in Eastern Europe
political interpretation (continued): Western Europe Eastern Europe Power of the peasantry stronger weaker – uprisings rarely succeeded Power of the towns & urban classes stronger: towns retained greater privileges weaker: landlords took power & privileges away lords sold directly to foreign capitalists instead of urban merchants peasants lost right of refuge

18 III. Rise of Eastern Absolutism
Monarchs vs. landlords  successful monarchs gained power in 3 key areas: taxation army foreign policy


20 Austria Habsburgs mostly in HRE, but also outside to SE
Austrian rulers = HRE emperors Catholic Habsburg domains to 1795.

21 Austria – consolidation of power:
30 Years’ War set stage: Habsburgs (losers) turn inward and eastward to strengthen state events in Bohemia (Phase 1) introduce new nobility loyal to Habsburgs  Habsburgs reestablish control over Bohemia

22 Austria – Bohemia & 30 Yrs War (1):
Bohemian Estates (Protestant) revolt against Habsburgs (Catholic) Battle of White Mountain (1620) – Bohemian Estates crushed Habsburgs take land/power from Protestant Czech nobles and give it to Catholic Czech nobles = new Bohemian nobility loyal to Habsburgs

23 Austria – Bohemia & 30 Yrs War (2):
Habsburgs reestablish control over Bohemia Protestantism eliminated peasants exploited even more: the robot  Personal note: It was in this era that my grandmother’s family converted from Protestantism to Judaism because they were persecuted for being Protestants and did not want to become Catholic – Judaism for them was the less detestable choice. Not a good decision in the long run.

24 Austria – Turkish wars & expansion:
1529 & 1683 – unsuccessful Ottoman sieges on Vienna Habsburgs acquire Hungary & Transylvania (Romania) from Ottomans new Habsburg state = Austria, Bohemia, + Hungary

25 Absolutism partially achieved
common Habsburg ruler but each state kept own laws/gov’t (Estates) Pragmatic Sanction (1713) – Habsburg possessions are never to be divided and are to be passed to single heir Hungary not fully integrated Hungarian nobles revolted somewhat successfully why and how: religion (Protestant Hungarians vs. Catholic Habsburgs), Hungarian nationalism, Ottoman military support 1703 revolt under Rákóczy  Hungarians accept Habsburg rule & Habsburgs restore Hungarian nobility’s privileges

26 Austria – Habsburg rulers (+ H.R.E. emperors):
Ferdinand II (r ) crushes Bohemian Estates & creates new loyal Bohemian nobility Ferdinand III (r ) consolidates German-speaking provinces (Austria, Styria, Tyrol) creates permanent standing army Charles VI (r ) Pragmatic Sanction (1713) Rákóczy’s revolt

27 Prussia

28 Prussia

29 Prussia Hohenzollerns = elector of Brandenburg & duke of Prussia
elector of Brandenburg – helps choose Holy Roman emperor 1618 – Prussia became possession of elector of Brandenburg when junior branch of Hohenzollern family died out

30 Prussia Hohenzollerns had little power until 30 Years’ War
elector of Brandenburg = position bestowed no real power Brandenburg: land-locked, no natural defenses, poor land Prussia: separated from Brandenburg, basically part of Poland 30 Years’ War weakened the Estates (rep. assemblies)  allowed monarchs to take more power

31 Prussia – Hohenzollern rulers:
Frederick William, the “Great Elector” (r ) Frederick III, “the Ostentatious” (r ) Frederick William I, “the Soldiers’ King” (r )

32 Frederick William, the “Great Elector” (r. 1640-1688)
strengthened central authority: unified 3 provinces: Brandenburg, Prussia, lands along the Rhine forced Estates to accept permanent taxation w/o their consent created permanent standing army factors enabling his success: foreign invasions  Estates more willing to issue funds for army Junkers did not support the towns  elector broke town liberties

33 Frederick III, “the Ostentatious” (r. 1688-1713)
weak focused on copying Louis XIV’s style Frederick III Louis XIV

34 Frederick William I, “the Soldiers’ King” (r. 1713-1740)
most influential in est. Prussian absolutism military obsessed strengthened royal authority: created best army in Europe created strong, centralized bureaucracy honest and conscientious worked to develop economy eliminated threat from nobility by enlisting Junkers in army (became officers) almost always at peace civil society became militarized – very rigid & disciplined

35 C. Russia Similar to W. Europe up to ≈1250:
Christian (though Eastern Orthodox) territories unified (11th c.) feudal (boyard nobility & peasantry) political fragmentation at various times : Russia becomes quite different from W. Europe cause: Russia under brutal foreign rule (Mongols)



38 Largest contiguous empire in history!!!

39 Russia & the Mongol Conquest
Chinggis Khan ( ) & Golden Horde – great conquerors Kiev (capital of Ukraine) mid-13th c. – Mongols conquer Kievan Rus  Mongol Yoke

40 Russia – The Mongol Yoke
unified eastern Slavs Allowed Russian princes who demonstrated good service/loyalty to retain some authority.    Muscovite princes served Mongols well  given more power. Over time Muscovite princes  territory and consolidate power.

41 Russia – rulers: Ivan I, “Ivan Moneybags” (r. 1328-1341)
Ivan III (r ) Ivan IV, “Ivan the Terrible” (r ) Michael Romanov (r ) Alexis (r ) Peter the Great (r )

42 Ivan I, “Ivan Moneybags” (r. 1328-1341)
stingy made $$$ by lending $ to princes for Mongol tax collection Mongols made him tax collector & great prince

43 Ivan III (r ) Muscovite power consolidated – no longer recognized leadership of Mongol khan   hello Russian absolutism! Why did this happen? Ivan III felt strong tsars believed they had to carry on Byzantine legacy (Orthodox Xtianity ; Moscow as “Third Rome” after Constantinople) monarchy became more powerful than nobility boyard nobility lost power in 15th c. service nobility – new class loyal to tsar

44 Ivan IV, “Ivan the Terrible” (r. 1533-1584)
1st to take title of “tsar” wars of expansion successful in the E. – took Mongol land unsuccessful in the W. (Poland-Lithuania) subjugated boyars – reign of terror service nobles demand more from peasants  peasants flee and form independent outlaw groups = Cossacks urban traders & artisans bound to towns so Ivan could tax them limited middle class (vs. W. Europe)

45 1584-1682 Theodore (r. 1584-1598) “Time of Troubles” (1598-1613)
fighting over who would be tsar unsuccessful Cossack rebellion led by Ivan Bolotnikov Michael Romanov (r ) elected by nobles – became new hereditary tsar restored power of the tsar

46 1584-1682 cont… Alexis (r. 1645-1676) 1649 – peasants enserfed
social class gap widens split in Russian Orthodox church: Nikon wants reforms along Greek Orthodox model vs. “Old Believers” want to stick to Russian ways  “Old Believers” persecuted & Russians alienated from church – unsuccessful Cossack rebellion led by Stenka Razin Alexis

47 Peter the Great (r. 1682-1725) What were his policies?
What made him “great”? Was he really great?

48 Some Terminology tsar: term for the Russian ruler (like “king”)
autocracy: government in which one person possesses unlimited power absolutism: government by an absolute ruler or authority, meaning a ruler completely free from constitutional or other restraint

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