|Challenges to Absolutism
Global History and Geography I Name: ___________________
E. Napp Date: ___________________
Unlike France and Russia, absolutism did not take hold in England. In England, the king’s power was limited. Later events eventually turned England into a limited constitutional monarchy, in which subjects enjoyed basic rights and political power was shared between the king and Parliament or a legislative body. In fact, in 1215, English nobles forced King John to sign the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta was a document that guaranteed that an Englishman could not be fined or imprisoned except according to the laws of the land. As such, the law became more powerful than the king. In addition, a Parliament was established. A Parliament is a legislative body. In England, it was made up of nobles in the House of Lords and elected representatives in the House of Commons. Parliament claimed the right to approve taxes. Now, the power of the purse or money was in the hands of Parliament. Finally, the British fought two revolutions (The Puritan Revolution and the Glorious Revolution). These revolutions established the supremacy of Parliament over the king. The Bills Of Rights of 1689 confirmed that English monarchs could not collect new taxes or raise an army without Parliament’s consent. As absolutism faded in England, a new king of monarchy developed. It was called constitutional monarchy and it differed from absolutism in that it limited the power of the monarch. For in constitutional monarchy, the monarch’s power is limited by a constitution.
Define absolutism. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
How does absolutism differ from constitutional monarchy? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What limited the monarch’s power in England? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
How does limiting the monarch’s power benefit people? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
In 1690, John Locke, an Englishman, published a book on government. Like Hobbes, Locke believed that government should keep order in society. He also thought that the government was a contract or agreement between the ruler and the ruled. However, unlike Hobbes, Locke believed that people had rights. He did not believe in a ruler’s absolute power. In fact, Locke believed that people were born with three rights: the right to life, the right to property, and the right to liberty or freedom. He also believed that it was the government’s responsibility to protect these rights. Locke said that people kept these rights even when they agreed to be governed. He said that people had a right to rebel when the ruler or government did not protect these rights. Locke clearly influenced the English with his ideas of liberty and rights but he also clearly influenced the United States. Many of Locke’s ideas are in our Constitution.
Who was John Locke? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
How did John Locke’s views on government differ from Thomas Hobbes’ views? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What rights did Locke believe people were entitled to? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
According to Locke, what could people do if the government failed to protect these rights? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Explain the quote:
“The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom.” ~ John Locke
Monarch, Peter the Great, Thomas Hobbes, Magna Carta, Absolutism, Constitutional Monarchy, Sun King, John Locke, Westernization, Parliament, Catherine the Great, Louis XIV
Explain the quote: “The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts.”
The Magna Carta is often thought of as the basis of liberty and a defense against unjust rule in England. The Magna Carta established for the first time a very significant constitutional principle: that the power of the king could be limited by a written document.
King John's unsuccessful attempts to defend his lands in Normandy and much of western France led to heavy demands on his subjects. Taxes were high and people who could not pay their taxes were punished severely. In addition, King John was moody, inconsistent, and arbitrary. In January 1215, a group of nobles demanded a charter of liberties as a safeguard against the King's behavior. The nobles took up arms against John and captured London in May 1215.
By June 10th, both parties met and held negotiations at Runnymede, a meadow by the River Thames. The concessions made by King John were outlined in a document known as the 'Articles of the Barons', to which the King’s great seal was attached, and on June 19th, the barons renewed their oaths of allegiance to the King. Meanwhile the royal chancery produced a formal royal grant, based on the agreements reached at Runnymede, which became known as Magna Carta (Latin for 'the Great Charter').
Four copies of the original Magna Carta grant survive. All four copies of Magna Carta declare themselves to have been 'given by our hand in the meadow which is called Runnymede between Windsor and Staines on the 15th day of June in the 17th year of our reign' (1215). Each differs slightly in size, shape and text.
The original destination of this version of Magna Carta is unknown. It was given to Sir Robert Cotton by the barrister Humphrey Wyems on 1 January 1629, and according to one account had been found in a London tailor's shop. According to contemporary chronicles, copies were distributed to bishops, sheriffs and others throughout the land, but the exact number of copies sent out from the royal chancery in 1215 is not known.
What is the primary significance of the Magna Carta? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________