7. Consolidation and Conflict: Absolutism and

    Constitutionalism

 

1. Absolute Monarchy in Europe: Louis XIV

 

I. What is the Theoretical Basis for

    Absolutism?

    A. Theory of the Divine Right of Kings:

          - the authority of the hereditary monarch is ordained

            by God, thus the king is answerable only to God;

            it is the duty of his subjects not to question, but to

            obey

 

    B. Absolute monarchy became the dominant

        form of government in Continental Europe

 

II. How Did Louis XIV (1638-1715) Succeed in

     Establishing Himself as an Absolute Monarch?

    A. Youth

        1. crowned at age 5

            - his mother, Queen Anne, acted as regent

            - Cardinal Mazarin (1602-1661) became the first

                minister

 

    B. Personal Rule

        1. Cult of Majesty

            - Goal > to combine in his person all the powers of

                 the state for the greater good of himself, his dynasty

                and France

            - Means > to be “every inch a king, and every moment a king”

            - the “Sun King”

            - Palace of Versailles

 

        2. Emasculation of the nobility

            - residing at Versailles, the nobility removed from positions

                of power and replaced by members of the middle classes

            - intendants > kept an eye on the nobles in the provinces    

 

        3. Mercantilism

            - a national economic policy designed to increase 

                  the power of the state by  increasing the nation’s

                  wealth at the expense of its rivals through the

                  accumulation of gold and silver

 

        4. Arts, literature, craft production

            - control exerted through royal academies and workshops

 

C. Louis XIV’s Mistakes

      1. Revocation of the Edict of Nantes  (1685)

            - reintroduced religious intolerance

            - expulsion of the Protestants

 

      2. Loved war too much

            - War of Spanish succession (1702-1713) fought to defend

                the right of Louis XIV’s grandson to accede  the Spanish

                throne

            - beginning of the Spanish Bourbon Dynasty

 

2. Constitutional Monarchy in Europe:
   The English Revolutions

 

I. What Were the Traditional Limits to Royal Authority

    in England?

    A. Magna Carta (1215)

        - confirmed the traditional liberties and rights of English subjects

        - sovereignty rooted in the law rather than in rsonal authority

            of the King

 

    B. Parliament

          1. Comprised of:

                > House of Lords > great landed nobility; clergy

                > House of Commons > lesser landed nobility,

                    knights, townsmen

 

          2. Parliament had sole right to raise new taxes and enact

                laws while the King alone dealt with foreign affairs                                                                                                 

 

II. How Did the English People Respond to Attempts By

     Their Kings to Establish Absolute Monarchy?

    A. James I (1604-1625)

             - “the Wisest Fool in Christendom”

            - attempted to impose absolutism

            - ruled without Parliament

 

    B. Charles I  (1625-1649)

            - followed his father’s example

            - but when forced to call a meeting of Parliament to

                  raise money to  put down an uprising in Scotland

                  the rebellious factions demanded reforms 

 

    C. English Revolution

            1. Parliament split into two factions:

                  > the pro-monarchy Cavaliers

                  > the pro-Parliament Roundheads

 

            2. Civil War followed (1642-1646)

 

            3. Puritan faction won and a  dictatorship was established

                    under Oliver Cromwell

 

    D. The Restoration

            - Charles II (1660-1685)

                  > the “Merry Monarch”

                 > co-operated with Parliament while quietly

                       striving to increase  monarchical power

 

    E. The Glorious Revolution (1688)

            1. James II (1685-1688)

                  - a Catholic convert whose Protestant daughters

                        were heir to the throne until his Catholic wife

                        gave  birth to a son

 

            2. Parliament asked Mary and William to accede the throne

 

            3. Having no supporters, the royal family fled England

 

III. What Was the Outcome of the English Revolutions?

   A. William and Mary crowned monarchs of England

 

    B. Established the power of Parliament over the

        Monarchy

            - Bill of Rights 1689 - protected rights of Englishmen

            - Toleration Act of 1689 - religious toleration, however,

                    the Test Act barred dissenters from state or military office

            - Act of Settlement (1701) - monarch must be Anglican

 

    C. The Cabinet System

            - Government by a committee of the majority party leaders acting

                    under the leadership of a Prime Minister

            - The Prime Minister is responsible to the Parliament, and not the King

            - Sir Robert Walpole (1676-1745) – the first Prime Minister

 

 

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