Chapter 16: Absolutism and Constitutionalism in Western Europe

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Chapter 16: Absolutism and Constitutionalism in Western Europe

-The power of government expanded in response to numerous crises during the years 1589 and 1715,

-two new patterns of government emerged in European states: absolute monarchy and the constitutional state. flourish

Seventeenth-Century Crisis and Re-Building:

-Compared to the vital growth of the sixteenth century, the seventeenth century was a period of troubled stagnation.

-As governments sought to deal with various problems, they increased their power through larger armies, new taxes, expanded bureaucracies, and increased state sovereignty.

Economic and Demographic Crisis:

-most Europeans lived in the countryside

-Class system:

-top= Independent farmers who owned enough land to feed themselves and livestock – they employed the poor, rented out livestock and tools, and served as agents for noble lords

-middle= small landowners and tenant farmers who didn’t have enough land to be self-sufficient – they sold their produce on the market to earn cash

-bottom = rural proletariat who worked as dependent laborers and servants

-bread = biggest part of diet

-rich had white; poorer had grain and wheat bread

-pigs were also eaten

-because of crude technology and bad crops, peasants were constantly threatened by scarcity and famine

-As the climate became colder and wetter, both agricultural and industrial production declined.

-bad harvests  famine

-Food shortages threatened the fragile existence of the poor, as indicated by the increased death rate.

-most people died from disease brought on by malnutrition and exhaustion

-Industry also suffered, especially the woolen textile industry

-Food prices were high, wages were low, and unemployment soared

-Peasants and the poor were the first to suffer from bad harvests and economic depression

-Desperate, the poor took action through food riots, where they took food and resold it for reasonable prices

-women often took the lead in these actions

-moral economy= where community needs are dominant over competition and profit

Seventeenth-Century State Building: Common Obstacles and Achievements:

-Both absolute and constitutional monarchs overcame obstacles

1. primitive transportation

-it took weeks to convey orders

2. poor communication

-rulers didn’t have accurate knowledge about the number of inhabitants and wealth they possessed, so it was impossible to police and tax the population effectively

-many people spoke their native languages so they were even less willing to obey a distant monarch’s commands

3. power rivalries

-the nobility threatened monarchial power

-other competitors, such as the church, legislative corps, town councils, guilds, etc. also opposed monarch’s claims

-Both absolute and constitutional monarchs made achievements and expanded the state’s power by:

1. increasing taxes

-was a new source of revenue increased size and power of the state

2. growth in armed forces

3. larger and more efficient bureaucracies

-improved communication and efficiency

-now composed of career officials appointed only by the king

4. compelling greater obedience from subjects

-over time, government power came close to sovereignty

-strong state army

-state laws reach everyone in the country

-no systems compete with state courts

Warfare and the Growth of Army Size:

-Under Louis XIV, France led the way in establishing larger, more disciplined, and loyal professional armies.

-monarchs took command of recruiting and maintaining armies

-army officers were required to be loyal and obedient to monarchs, not serve their own interests

-new techniques for training and deploying soldiers  rise in professional standards of the army

-huge growth in army size

-noble officers often died in battle, leaving their wives with their debt they acquired from buying army positions

-While most European powers quickly followed the French example and expanded their armies, Britain expanded their navy instead

-Such troops characterized the warfare of the seventeenth century and became a building block of expanded state control and absolutism

Popular Political Action:

-As the common people of England, France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy suffered from high bread costs, increased taxation, and warfare, they frequently resorted to armed uprisings to express their political frustrations.

-Spain: Phillip faced revolt in Catalonia, the economic center of his realm; in Madrid, leaders lightened the loaf instead of raising prices

-Italy: protests exploded over food shortages from bad harvests, and the city government lowered bread prices which attracted even more starving peasants from the countryside

-France: revolts were very common and were characterized by deep popular anger, violence, and punishment of officials who attempted to announce or collect taxes

-Royal authorites often struggled to overcome popular revolt, fearing that stern repressive measures would make the situation worse.  the limitations of royal authorities gave leverage to rebels

-Not until the late seventeenth century were central governments powerful enough to effectively deter such uprisings.

Absolutism in France and Spain

-Absolute monarchs maintained that they were chosen by God, answered only to God, and therefore had exclusive power.

-The writings of philosopher Thomas Hobbes and theologian Bishop Bossuet supported such claims.

Absolute monarchy (17th century)


  1. Need for an absolute monarchy

-for war you need money  to raise money, you need more taxes

-need a centralized power to organize country for overseas trade

  1. Political theory

-Body politic:

Head= king

Heart= Church

Arms= nobility

Hands = artisans

Feet= peasants

-medieval idea that power in society is like a body

-Thomas Hobbes- supports idea of absolute monarchy

  1. Religious support

-based on the Bible

-God has supported great kings

-Great Chain of Being

-everything in the world has its place and is organized in a particular way

-Jean Bodein

-wrote The Six Books of Commonwealth (1576)

-the king = God’s image on earth

-supports idea of absolute monarchy

-Bishop Bousette

-takes passages from the Bible to support idea of absolute monarchy

How kings increase their power

  1. Professional army

-weakening the nobility and limiting their power

-increases state power

  1. Organized way of getting taxes

-France had many taxes: the paulette- office holding taxes

-earned money for the kingdom, but didn’t have the best administrators

  1. King can appoint, promote, and delete members of the royal court

-favorites = king’s most trusted advisors – they gained titles and land

The Foundations of Absolutism: Henry IV, Sully, and Richelieu:

Henry IV and Duke of Sully

-Henry IV acquired a devastated country from civil war, poor harvests, starvation, fallen commercial activity levels

-nobles, officials, merchants, and peasants wanted peace, order, and stability

-Henry and his chief minister, Duke of Sully, restored peace and stability in France:

-he lowered taxes and introduced the paulette (= an annual fee paid by royal officials to guarantee heredity in their offices)

-increased revenues with trade

-improved infrastructure by building roads and canals

-Henry issued the Edict of Nantes: allowed Protestants to worship

-After her husband Henry IV died, Marie de’ Medici ruled as regent for her son king Louis XIII

Cardinal Richelieu

-Marie appointed him to the council of ministers

-he became president of the council, then the first minister of the French crown

-his goal: wants to increase king’s power

-raisen de etat= reason of state

-people should place the needs of the state over personal desires

-was especially directed at the nobles

-3 threats to the king’s power

1. nobility

2. Huguenots

3. powerful governors

-provincialism: local powers did their own thing

-his solutions:

-strips the Huguenots of all political authority and forbids them from holding political offices

-forces Huguenots to remove fortifications around their cities which were up to protect themselves from zealous Catholics

-used intendants: royal commissioners

-intendents were from the noblesse de robe and were appointed directly be the monarchy

-they had 3 purposes: inform central government about their generalites (districts), enforce royal orders, and undermine the nobility’s power

-ended Protestant independence

-the fall of La Rochelle, the fourth largest Protestant French Atlantic ports, weakened the influence of aristocratic Huguenots

-used foreign affairs to weaken the Habsburgs

The Fronde

-Louis XIII was married to Anne of Austria

-he died, then Richelieu died  problem: Louis XIV was too young to rule

-Anne of Austria became the regent and ruled with her favorite Cardinal Mazarin (Italian)

-problem: Louis XIII got France involved with the 30 Years War which was expensive

-Anne and Mazarin needed to raise revenue, so they raised taxes

-the nobles who are part of the magistrate (judges) revolt which leads to a big revolt

-things finally settled down, then they flared up again when the nobles revolted against high taxes

-Anne and her son Louis XIV had to flee from Paris

-Louis XIV was traumatized by this

-he knew how he should rule to make things better

-he weakened the nobility

-he built his palace in Versailles, which is outside of Paris to avoid his bad childhood memories and radicals

-Louis XIV ended the Fronde when he came to power and put down the revolt

-The final compromise preserved nobles’ traditional privileges, but left the French wanting a strong monarch who could impose order.

Louis XIV and Absolutism:

“The Sun King”

-symbolic of absolute monarch (like Da Vinci was the Renaissance man)

-to control the nobility  made them an offer—they could stay at his palace if they let him control them

-this way he could keep an eye on them

-The long rule of Louis XIV marked the peak of absolutism based on the concept of “divine right of kings.” This concept was that God had established kings as his rulers on earth and they were answerable ultimately to God alone

-To achieve greater power, Louis:

-centralized his government using the intendants and councils of state

-stayed personally involved in all government action

-kept the nobles politically voiceless by not calling the Estates General

-used spying and terror

-ended religious toleration—he persecuted Protestants and revoked the Edict of Nantes. He did this because he hated division and wanted unity, and he also gained support and praise

-when political reality dictated the need, used collaboration with the nobles

Financial and Economic Management Under Louis XIV:


-he was Louis XIV’s favorite and finance minister

-pushed self sufficiency and supported mercantilism

Built a strong economy :

-supported industry

-inspections of quality of goods

-built up New World colonies

-generated more money with more efficient taxes

-France needed money because Louis XIV engaged in so many wars

-encouraged new craftsmen to come to France with special deals and lower taxes

-had expelled the Huguenots

-built the merchant fleet in order to become the leading trade power

-After he dies, the economy crashed

-Louis XIV didn’t know how to continue his work

-Louis XIV kept waging wars, but Colbert wasn’t bringing in the money anymore

-Louis XIII and Richelieu’s relationship vs. Louis XIV and Colbert’s relationship

Louis XIII didn’t like ruling Louis XIV liked ruling

He gave all his power to Richelieu He didn’t give Colbert much power


-Is an economic policy based off the belief that there’s only so much wealth out there

-as a result, there is competition between 2 countries that are trading with each other

-you want to import more than you export, or sell more than you buy

-How it works

-high tariffs on foreign goods 

-domestically self-sufficient

-you sell them stuff and take their money, but you don’t have to spend your money to buy things

-you can provide for yourself

-wealth circulates in the country

-Problem: this made countries economically stagnant – everyone was isolated and couldn’t trade with each other.

-Colonization- supported mercantilist idea

1. country should take over a place that has the resources that their country lacks

2. trade with a territory with those reasons

-countries could always trade with their colonies and force them to buy only their goods

Louis XIV’s Wars:

-Believing that he should expand the borders of France, Louis XIV kept the nation at war through much of his reign.

-France had a huge, professional army

-Louis had many drafting strategies:

-lottery recruiting

-dragooning: taking people off the street

-the French state employed the army, not the nobility

Four Wars

  1. Invasion of Flanders

    1. Acquired 12 towns, including Lille and

  2. Invasion of Holland= Franco-Dutch War

    1. Causes:

-he wanted to extend France to its “natural borders”

-he had hereditary claims

-thought he could easily take them

-Dutch = huge trading rival  he wanted to eliminate the competition

-wanted to acquire wealth

    1. Didn’t work for the French because the Dutch fought back and flooded their city

  1. Invasion of Lorraine

    1. Seized city of Strasbourg

    2. Louis XIV’s army seemed invincible

  2. War of Spanish Succession

    1. Causes:

-He wanted Phillip of Anjou (his grandson) to take the throne of Spain.

-This would throw everything off: he could form an alliance of power with France and it would create an imbalance of power

-Balance of power in Europe stop one country from having all the power

    1. Grand Alliance or Coalition against Spain and France





    1. End result = Peace of Utrecht

-Louis XIV’s expansion was done

-Spain was knocked down

-England was elevated in national stature—gained lots of territories from Spain and France

-Austria received the Netherlands

-Dutch gets very little—the war was a costly drain of Dutch labor and financial resources

-marked the beginning of Dutch economic decline

-Phillip of Anjou still got the throne, but it had to be divided and separate from France- they couldn’t work together

-While minimal territory was gained, the wars proved extremely costly to France because higher taxes reduced the standard of living for the lower classes.

-Claude Le Peletier: Colbert’s successor as minister of finance who devaluated the currency and the old devise of selling offices and tax exemptions

-Series of bad harvests  starvation and famine  death rate rose

-The threat of French expansion also led to European coalitions against France and ultimately weakened their international power.

Fall of Spain

-Supported by New World wealth, the Spanish created an absolute monarchy and became a major power in the sixteenth century.

-As their economic fortunes declined in the seventeenth century, they were unwilling to accept modern solutions to their problems.

-They quickly became a second-rate power, losing both territory and prestige.


-the price revolution

-Jews and Muslims had been expelled

-nobles didn’t pay taxes  the lower poor had to pay high taxes  they couldn’t have a surplus of money and couldn’t open new businesses

-Phillip III expelled all converted Muslims (known as Moriscos) from Spain  was destructive for Spanish society which lost precious skilled workers and merchants

-agricultural crises and population decline

-failure to invest in productive enterprises

-Phillip II declared Spain bankrupt 3 times – destroyed their credit

-Dutch arise  Dutch East India Company

-created to dominate Spice Island trade

-threatens Portugal (Phillip II inherits Portugal—affects Spain)

-cut into revenues that had gone to Spain

-Spain had a tiny middle class. Those with influence or connections sought titles of nobility and social prestige.

-Many businessmen gave up because of the many obstacles in the way of profitable enterprise

-Nobles increased high rents and taxes  peasants left for larger cities

-The kings of Spain had no solution to these dire problems

-Phillip III, a pallid, melancholy, and deeply pious man, handed the government over to the duke of Lerma who used it to advance his personal and familial wealth

-Philip IV left the government to Gaspar de Guzman, count-duke of Olivares

-Olivares was an able administrator

-often compared to Richelieu

-succeeded in devising new sources of revenue

-but he got Spain entangled in the 30 Years War

-wars with France and the Netherlands, 30 Years War which depleted their resources, fall of the Armada

-war with France was ended by the Treaty of the Pyrenees: it made Spain surrender extensive territories to France  marked the decline of Spain as a great power

-when the supply of silver bullion decreased, the power and standing of the Spanish state declined

-the most cherished Spanish ideals were military glory and strong Roman Catholic faith

-Spain didn’t have the money to fight expensive wars

-Spanish leaders seemed to lack to will to reform

-pessimism and fatalism permeated national life

Positive- golden age of Spain

-center of trade and lots of money  attract intellectuals and art thrives

1. El Greco


-very Christian, deep Catholic faith, hated martyrs

-distorted human figures, bright colors, deep emotions

2. Diego Velazquez

-painted Maids of Honor

-a lot of paintings of the Spanish monarchy- very supportive of them

3. Miguel Cervantes

-Don Quixote: Spanish knight who had wild adventures

-represented decline of Spanish nobility

Colonial Administration:

-Depending on the principles of absolutism and mercantilism, the Portuguese and Spanish kept colonies under royal control and governed them for the benefit of the mother country.


-continued to rule a vast empire in the Americas

-thought that the Crown was entitled to exercise full authority over all imperial lands

-divided its New World territories into 4 viceroyalties, or administrative divisions

1. New Spain

2. Peru

3. New Granada

4. La Plata

-within each territory, the viceroy or imperial governor had military and civil authority as the direct representative of the sovereign in Madrid

-Charles III introduced the system of intendants, first started in France, to the New World territories

-the Spanish monarchy believed that the colonies existed for the financial benefit of the home country

-The crown claimed the quinto, one –fifth of all precious metals mined in South America


-governed their colony of Brazil in a similar manner

-local officials called corregidores held judicial and military powers

-Brazil led the world in the production of sugar

-mercantilist policies placed severe restrictions on Brazilian industries that might compete with those of Portugal

-used black slave labor to cultivate coffee and cotton

-the unique feature of colonial Brazil’s culture and society was its intermixture of Indians, whites, and blacks

The Culture of Absolutism

-Absolute monarchs used culture, especially the Baroque style, which evolved from the Catholic Reformation, as an expression of their royal power and prestige.

Baroque Art and Music:

-The Baroque style developed first in Rome

-The emotional, exuberant style was intended to touch the senses and souls of the Catholic faithful and proclaim the power and confidence of the reformed Catholic Church

-encouraged by the papacy and the Jesuits

-best expressed artistically by Peter Paul Rubens

-developed his own rich, sensuous, colorful style which was characterized by animated figures, melodramatic contrasts, and monumental size

-glorified monarchs such as Queen Mother Marie de’ Medici

-devout Catholic and had lots of Christian subjects and also nudes

-was enormously successful and established a large studio

-best expressed musically by Johann Sebastian Bach

-wrote concertos and religious cantatas

-Resonating with the people of an agitated age, the style soon moved beyond its Catholic origins.

Court Culture:

-Louis XIV set the standard for court culture at his palace, Versailles.

-symbol of his wealth and power

-sense of grandeur, vastness, and elegance

-he gorged himself at dinner in front of everyone

-it was an honor to watch him eat sign that he was very powerful

-Hall of Mirrors

-royal bed = symbol of power  people had to bow before the bed

-impressed his subjects and foreign visitors

-was incredibly expensive: Louis XIV had no problem spending a lot of money

-he required nobles to spend at least part of the year with him at Versailles. Given the demand for space, even high nobles had to make do with cramped and uncomfortable living quarters

-Courtiers sought rewards such as military and religious posts, honorary titles, favored treatment for pensions, etc.

-patronage dominated political life and was how Louis gained cooperation from elite

-Not only did other monarchs imitate the architectural style, but they also followed Louis’s example in using the palace as a symbol of the king’s power and the center of political, social, and cultural life.

-Louvois acquired his position through family ties, not mert.

-his father, Michel LeTellier was secretary of war  he inherited the position  then his son inherited it  then his son  etc.

-women played a central role in the patronage system

-although they were denied public offices, they used their high rank in court to establish their own patronage relationships

-onlookers sometimes resented the influence of powerful women at court

French Classicism:

-French cultural pride dates to Cardinal Richelieu, who used culture to further state centralization.

-He encouraged the French Academy to make a new dictionary to standardize the French language

-Under the patronage of Louis XIV, a style known as French classicism developed that imitated the standards of classical antiquity and the Renaissance.

Louis XIV was an enthusiastic patron of the arts and often had music and theatre in court

-Jean-Baptiste Lully- orchestral works, operatic productions, and court ballets were a powerful influence throughout Europe

-Francois Couperin- harpsichord and organ works possessed the regal grandeur that the king loved

-Marc-Antoine Charpentier- solemn religious music that entertained the king at meals, wrote Te Deums, hymns of thanksgiving

-Louis XI loved the stage, especially the plays of Moliere and Racine

-Moliere- produced comedies that exposed the hypocrisies and follies of society

-His plays followed classical models, but were based on careful social observation

-He stopped short of criticizing the nobility, reflecting the policy of his royal patron

-His original name was Jean-Baptiste Poqueline

-Racine- based his tragic dramas on Greek and Roman legends

-his plays represent the finest examples of French classicism

-As French culture became increasingly respected, French gradually became the language of international scholarship and diplomacy.


-Rather than develop absolute monarchies, England and Holland moved toward constitutionalism, where laws limited the ruler’s power.

-Emphasis was placed on a balance between the government’s authority and the rights of the people.

-However, constitutionalism did not mean that all the people had a voice in the government.

Queen Elizabeth

-Elizabeth exerted strong personal authority primarily through wise political maneuvering.

-imposed her authority by not marrying and not having to yield to proper wifely submission

-had frequent conflicts with Parliament, mostly over money because the treasury didn’t have enough funds to pay the queen’s expenses

-when she died in 1603, she left a huge debt

-problem: but she had no heir! (She was the Virgin Queen)  who will rule?

-solution: her cousin, James

James I (1603-1625)

-was the son of Mary Queen of Scots and was already king of Scotland

-The Stuart ruler found the English hostile to his ideas of divine right of kings.

-Elizabeth left him a lot of debt

-Many English were enriched by the selling of monastic land and new agricultural techniques

-these developments led to social mobility, and many English were capitalists, investing their profits to make more money

-Increased wealth  better educated and articulate Parliament

-they could now argue with the king more

-problems with Parliament

  • He believed in absolute monarchy and thought he had the absolute power to rule. But, parliament doesn’t believe in this.

-Elizabeth had also believed in her right to rule, but she was tactful and flattered Parliament to get her way

-James I thought it was beneath him to try to win Parliament’s favor

  • Biggest conflicts were over money

-He on Parliament for extra money, but Parliament were reluctant to pay for James’s expensive court and foreign wars

  • He offended Puritan members of Parliament

-Because James was a Calvinist, the Puritans hoped he would enact reforms to purify the English church of all Catholic practices

-Except for agreeing to a new translation of the Bible, he refused to make Puritan reforms

Charles I (1625-1649)

-He was James I’s son who took the throne once James I died

-He always needed money and had the same money problems as his father

-He dissolved Parliament several times when they refused to give him funds, then called it again when he needed to ask for more money

-Parliament refused to give him any money until he signed the Petition of Right which limited the king’s power. He agreed to:

1. He would not imprison subjects without due cause.

2. He would not levy taxes without Parliament’s consent.

3. He would not house soldiers in private homes.

4. He would not impose martial law in peacetime.

-However, after he signed it, he ignored it and didn’t follow it. He dissolved Parliament and refused to call in back into session, getting money by imposing lots of fees and fines on the English people.


-He offended Puritans by upholding church ritual and a formal prayer book.

-He married the French Catholic princess Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henry IV

-He supported the policies of William Laud, who tried to impose elaborate rituals on Scotland

-As a result, people believed that the country was being led back to Catholicism

-He also tried to force the Presbyterian Scots to accept the Anglican prayer book (Laud’s idea) because he wanted both his kingdoms (England and Scotland) to have one unified religion.

-The Scots rebelled!

-So, he needed money from Parliament, but Parliament opposed him and passed laws to limit his power

-Charles tried to arrest Parliament leaders, but they escaped

-Long Parliament (1640-1660)- enacted legislation that limited the power of the monarch and made arbitrary government impossible

-Parliament passed the Triennial Act, which made the king summon Parliament every 3 years

-They impeached Archbishop Laud and abolished the Court of High Commission

-Charles accepted these measures because he was afraid of a Scottish invasion

-Then there was an outbreak of rebellion in Ireland

-Because the Irish remained Catholic, they feared an invasion by the anti-Catholic Long Parliament

-Without an army, Charles I couldn’t fix the Scottish or Irish rebellion, and Parliament still didn’t trust the king and give him an army

-So Charles I left London and formed an army in the north

-Parliament formed its own army

*Leads to English Civil War

-Royalists or Cavaliers = troops of King Charles I’s side

-nobility and its cavalry staff, the rural gentry, and mercenaries

-Puritans or Roundheads = troops on Parliament’s side (they were trying to look priestly with the bowl cut, so they got this mocking nickname)

-the militia of London, country squires with business connections, and men with a firm belief in the spiritual duty of serving

-At first, neither side was doing well

-Then, Cromwell took over the Puritan’s army

-He created the New Model Army

-very disciplined


-sang Christian songs and prayers before battles

-used a cavalry

-They defeated the Cavaliers at the Battles of Naseby and Langport

-It seemed like the war was over and Parliament won  However, Charles I had to formally recognize restrictions on royal authority and church reform

-Then, Cromwell and the Puritans captured the king.

Cromwell kicked out all of the people in Parliament who didn’t agree with his decision or didn’t support his beliefs. The remaining few were called Rump Parliament.

-They brought him to trial for treason, found him guilty, and beheaded him  this was the first time a reigning monarch faced a public trial and execution

The In-Between Period

-During the time after Cromwell defeated Charles I, there was a question of what government should be in place.

-Levellers- believed that a society with no classes should rule

-everyone is equal

-everyone has the right to vote

-wanted to get rid of censorship and believed in freedom of religion, speech, etc.

-wrote “Agreement of the People”

-Diggers- extreme levellers

-wanted abolishment of all property

-pretty much like communism

-they were both kicked out from Rump Parliament


-he abolished the monarchy and House of Lords

-he established a commonwealth- a republican form of government

-his associate John Lambert drafted a constitution, the first written constitution of any modern European state

-invested executive power in a lord protector and a council of state

-gave only Parliament the power to raise taxes

-allowed tolerance of all Christians except for Roman Catholics

-However, Cromwell tore up the document and ruled as a military dictator

-He divided England into 12 military districts, each governed by a major general

-He tried to gain more and more power

-He took over England completely and named himself Lord Protector

-the Irish rebelled and he crushed the uprising

-British troops got the Irish’s homes and lands

-War, plague, and famine killed about 616,000 Irish

-He decided to take Irish boys and send them to the West Indies to work as slaves. He figured if they died, it would be good because it would keep the Catholic population lower

-He created a very religious state and sought to reform society

-women had to wear long skirts and cover up completely and couldn’t wear any makeup

-men had to wear all black, no color

-Theatre, which was a big part of English culture, was shut down

-no sports, bars, swearing, working on Sundays

-if women were caught working on Sundays they were thrown in jail

-if they were caught walking anyway but church on Sundays they had to pay a fine

-Although a strict Puritan, he favored religious toleration for all Christians except Catholics

-He even welcomed back Jews because of their skills

-He used mercantilist policies, similar to Colbert

-He enforced the Navigation Act- required that English goods be transported on English ships

-boosted the development of an English merchant marine

-brought a short and successful war with the Dutch

-After he died, his sons ruled very ineffectively and the government he established crashed

Charles II

-The English people were tired of military rule

-In 1659, Parliament asked Charles II, the son of Charles I, to rule

-they figured that if they invited him, they could set the rules

-they also thought that what Charles I had before was way better than Cromwell

-While fighting was going on between Parliament and Charles I, Charles II had fled to France

-Because he restored the monarchy, the period of his rule is called the Restoration

-He restored both houses of Parliament, the Anglican Church, courts of law, and justices of the peace

-also restored theater and arts, sporting events, and dancing

-was a big patron of the arts

-Theater, especially comedy, flourished during the Restoration and women were allowed to play women roles

-He was often seen as the “merry king”

-He was determined to get along with Parliament

-he established a good connection with them through the Cabal, a council of 5 men who served as his advisors and members of Parliaments

-Parliament passed laws that restrained his power a little bit

-Parliament passed the Test act which stated that anyone who didn’t follow the Anglican Church couldn’t vote, hold public office, preach, teach, attend the universities, or assemble for meetings

-Habeas corpus = every prisoner had the right to a trial-to be brought before a judge for them to decide if they’re guilty or not- and prisoners had to be accused for a valid reason

-However, religious conflict and the relationship between the king and Parliament still troubled England.

-If Charles summoned Parliament frequently, they would give him sufficient revenues

-However, they didn’t give him enough money

-So he entered into a secret agreement with Louis XIV (who was his cousin)  the French king gave him money and Charles would relax the laws against Catholics, gradually re-Catholicize England, support French policy against the Dutch, and convert to Catholicism himself

-when details of this leaked out, a great wave of anti-Catholic fear spread across England

-when Parliament tried to pass a bill denying the succession to a Roman Catholic, but Charles quickly dissolved Parliament

-Charles II converted to from Protestantism to Catholicism, but only on his deathbed

-it didn’t create too many problems because then he died

-However, he had no heir—he had 14 illegitimate children

James II

-Problem: who’ll be the next king?

-Solution: his Catholic brother James II

-Whigs= people who opposed James

-Tories = people who supported him

-He became friends with Louis XIV and was strongly influenced by him. He also believed in the divine right of kings

-James offended his subjects by flaunting his Catholicism

-He repealed the Test Act (the test act stated that Catholics couldn’t hold offices) and appointed Catholics to high offices

-He wants Catholics to have high authority and even went so far as to putting them in Parliament

-When Parliament protested, he dissolved it

-He passed a document that granted religious freedom to all.

-When 7 bishops of the Anglican Church tried to petition this, he imprisoned them in the Tower of London

-At first, they weren’t worried about him because he didn’t have a son. They figured that once he died, they’d choose a new ruler who wasn’t Catholic.

-But then, James’s second wife has a son!  major freakout

-James had a daughter, Mary, who was Protestant and was married to William of Orange, prince of the Netherlands

-James’s first wife was Protestant and raised Mary protestant, but then she died

-His second wife was Catholic and turned him Catholic

-Parliament asked William and Mary to overthrow James for the sake of Protestantism

-They agree because they want an ally against France, and if they also ruled England, it would increase their ability to keep the French away

-When William led his army to London, James II fled to France because he was friends with Louis XIV, and then he fled to Ireland

-Ireland was Catholic and hated the English (because of Cromwell)

-This bloodless overthrow of King James Ii is called the Glorious Revolution because they got rid of him without any bloodshed

-the story is that in his hurry to leave, James got a bloody nose though

-Then James II formed a large army in Ireland, becoming a big threat to the English

-So, William III invaded Ireland and the two armies met at the Battle of Boyne

-William’s army defeats them

-James lost the battle and his heart for fighting

-He fled Ireland to a beautiful chateau in the French countryside

-The Irish were very upset and felt like he let them down, he should have stayed and fought  they name him James the Caca

William and Mary

-create a constitutional monarch, where laws limited the ruler’s power

-recognized Parliament as their partner in governing

-To make clear the limits of royal power, Parliament had William and Mary accept the Bill of Rights:

  • No suspending of Parliament’s laws

  • No levying of taxes without a specific grant from Parliament

  • No interfering with freedom of speech in Parliament

  • No penalty for a citizen who petitions the king about grievances

  • No dissolving of Parliament—it had to be called at least once every 3 years

  • No standing army in peacetime

  • No interfering with independence of the judiciary

  • Catholics couldn’t possess arms (because the Protestant majority feared them)

  • Required that the English monarch always be Protestant

-After 1688, no British monarch could rule without the consent of Parliament and Parliament could not rule without the consent of the monarch

-problem: whenever they disagreed, government came to a standstill

-solution: the cabinet (=a group of government ministers)

-these ministers acted in the ruler’s name but in reality represented the major party of parliament  became the link between the monarch and majority in parliament

-the cabinet became the center of power and policymaking

-under the cabinet system, the leader of the majority party in Parliament heads the cabinet and is called the prime minister, a system of English government that continues today

John Locke

-British philosopher

-focused on the issue of power between the monarch and Parliament

-he was on Parliament’s side

-he wrote the Second Treatise of Civil Government

-his ideas centered on humans are born with natural rights: life, liberty, and property

-the goal of a government = protect these rights of its citizens

-If it doesn’t do this, then the citizens have the right to revolt

-he believed in religious tolerance and thought it was the solution to all the fighting

-he thought that people should be able to do what they wanted, and it wasn’t the government’s business so they should stop them

-if he wanted to count blades of grass all day, he should be able to because the government doesn’t have the right to interfere with his personal choices

-he supported separation of powers and Parliament having more power than the king

-believed in Tabla Rosa (blank slate)

-children are born with a blank slate, not sin

-he was a deist= people who believed that cod created the world then sat back and let it run its course (also called the watch-maker theory)

-the Glorious Revolution was based on the political philosophies of John Locke

-present day, the libertarian party would like his idea of a very limited government

Thomas Hobbes

-British philosopher

-focused on the issue of power between the monarch and Parliament

-he supported absolute monarchy

-writes the Leviathan (1651—2 years after Charles I is beheaded)

-a leviathan = all powerful sea-monster  like the ruler

-his work is burned

-all churches consider it the Anti-Christ

-only the Netherlands supports it

-He writes it as a geometric proof—he starts with a fact, and then continues step by step until he reaches a conclusion that the reader agrees with

-starting point = human nature

-humans are driven by their many passions, bad ones like greed and lust, but also good ones like self-preservation

-hypothetical place = State of Nature

-time when there is no government

-if people are put here, there’ll be chaos!

-this is the worst place imaginable- you don’t want to be here

-he describes it as “life is nasty, brutish, and short”

-the only way to get out of this = one person in power

-therefore, you need an absolute monarch

-if you have 2 people ruling, it will lead to chaos, conflict, fighting, civil war

-however, the ruler is going to be bad because he’s human

-but it’s better than lots of chaos

-So, the only way to pick a ruler = pick him randomly with the lottery (this is where he loses people)

-Everyone must sign a social contract= an agreement everyone will make

-states that everyone is agreeing to absolute monarchy, and whoever is picked as the ruler, we’ll respect them, give them all the power, and not fight against them

-but remember, it might be you who is picked!

-theory that he backed himself into a corner- after all of his reasoning, he didn’t know how to pick a ruler, so he thought the lottery is the only way

-The ruler can do everything, but take your life

-you can run away by yourself (self-preservation)

-but for fear of wars, he stated you have to look out for yourself, don’t get someone else to run away with (he was afraid of them forming an army)

-The Church definitely doesn’t like this book and condemns it as the Anti-Christ

-they have less power because the book says that they’re below the king

-the random king will decide the religion

The Dutch Republic in the Seventeenth Century:

-The United Provinces officially gained independence from Spain in the Peace of Westphalia which ended the 30 Years’ War

-“the golden age of the Netherlands”

-scientific, artistic, and literary achievement

-Dutch ideas and attitudes played a profound role in shaping a new modern worldview

-With the flowering of culture in the independent United Provinces of the Netherlands, those states developed a constitutional model.

-Within each province, an oligarchy of wealthy merchants called “regents” handled domestic affairs in the local Estates which held all the power

-A federal assembly, or States General, handled all foreign affairs like war

-The States General appointed a representative, the stadholder, in each province

-the stadholder carried out ceremonial functions and was responsible for defense and good order

-William and Maurice Louis, the sons of William of Orange, held the office of stadholder in all 7 provinces and were closely identified with Dutch patriotism

-Regents in each province jealously guarded local independence and resisted efforts at centralization

-Nevertheless, Holland dominated the republic and States General

-it had the largest navy and the most wealth

-the Estates assembled at Holland's capital, The Hague

-Even though it was controlled by wealthy merchants and financiers, the Dutch government was a republic confederation

-Though they were rich, the wealthy merchants and financier’s values were strongly middle class, not aristocratic

-The Dutch were a confederation- a weak union of strong provinces

-Many powerful neighbors tried to invade and take over the provinces, but the Dutch resisted the long Spanish effort at reconquest and withstood both French and English attacks

-The Dutch government successfully used commercial prosperity to defend its independence

-the moral and ethical bases of that commercial wealth were thrift, frugality, and religious toleration

-The Dutch practiced religious toleration

-Peoples of all faiths were welcome within their borders

-Jews enjoyed a level of acceptance and assimilation in Dutch business and general culture in early modern Europe

-Benedict Spinoza, a descendant of the Spanish Jews who fled the Inquisition, passed his entire life in Amsterdam, supporting himself as a lensgrinder while producing important philosophical treatises

-As long as business people conducted their religion in private, the government didn’t interfere with them

-Toleration attracted a great deal of foreign and capital investment

-The bank became Europe’s best source of cheap credit and commercial intelligence and the main clearing-house for bills of exchange

-People of all races and creeds traded in Amsterdam, at whose docks on the Amstel River five thousand ships were berthed

-Dutch wealth rested on commerce, and commerce depended on the huge Dutch merchant marine. The fleet carried goods from all parts of the globe to the port of Amsterdam

-The fishing industry was the original cornerstone of the Dutch economy

-Profits from herring stimulated shipbuilding  the Dutch were offering the lowest shipping rates in Europe

-The Dutch merchant marine was the largest in Europe

-Although Dutch cities became famous for their exports (diamonds, linens, pottery), Dutch wealth depended less on exports than on transport

-A group of regents of Holland formed the Dutch East India company

-It cut heavily into Portuguese trading in East Asia

-The Dutch seized the Cape of Good Hope, Ceylon, and Malacca, and established trading posts in each place

-The Dutch West India Company traded extensively with Latin America and Africa

-Trade and commerce brought the Dutch lots o f wealth

-the Dutch enjoyed the highest standard of living in Europe

-Amsterdam and Rotterdam built massive granaries where the surplus of one area could be stored in case of possible shortages the next when bad harvests reduced supplies, flood prices fluncuated very little

-salaries were high for all workers, even women

-all classes of society ate well, including unskilled laborers, due to the low price of bread

-The Dutch found themselves involved with the imperialist exploitation of parts of East Asia and Latin America, with great success

-But war with France and England in the 1670s hurt the United provinces

-The long War of Spanish Succession was a costly drain of Dutch labor and financial resources

-this was when the Dutch prince William of Orange, who was King William III of England, utilized English wealth in the Dutch fight against Louis XIV

-The peace signed in 1713 that ended the war also marked the beginning of Dutch economic decline

Key Terms

 “Absolute” monarchy: form of government in which sovereignty is vested in a single person, the king or queen; absolute monarchs in the 16th and 17th centuries based their authority on the theory of the divine right of king - i.e. that they had received their authority from God and were responsible only to Him.

Baroque style: controversial term applied to late 17th -early 18th century style of art that originated in Rome and is associated with the Catholic Reformation; characterized by emotional intensity, strong self-confidence, and a proselytizing spirit.

Constitutionalism: implies a balance between authority and power of the government on the one hand, and on the other hand the rights and liberties of the subject or citizen; also the limitation of government by law and the rule of law; a constitution may be unwritten (British and Canadian) or written (American).

Divine right of kings: God had established kings as his rulers on earth and they were answerable ultimately to God alone.

Don Quixote: novel authored by Miguel de Cervantes, perhaps the greatest work of Spanish literature. A survey of the entire fabric of Spanish society that can be read on several levels:  as a burlesque of chivalric romances; as an exploration of conflicting views (idealistic vs. realistic) of life and of the world.

Dutch East India Company: a joint stock company chartered by the States-General of the Netherlands to expand trade and promote relations between the Dutch government and its colonial ventures. It established a colony at the Cape of Good Hope (1652), and in the 1630s it paid a return of 35% on investments.

Edict of Nantes: document issued by Henry IV of France granting liberty of conscience and of public worship to Calvinists in 150 towns; it helped restore peace in France .

Estates: orders, the way in which France ’s inhabitants were legally divided--the clergy, the nobility, and everyone else.

French classicism: style of French art, architecture, and literature (ca. 1600-1750), based on admiration and imitation of Greek and Roman models but with greater exuberance and complexity.

Fronde: series of violent uprisings during the minority of Louis XIV triggered by oppressive taxation of the common people, ambitions of the nobles, and efforts of the parlement of Paris (highest French judicial body) to check the authority of the crown; the last attempt of the French nobility to resist the king by arms.

Intendants: royal commissioners.

Mercantilism: system of economic regulations aimed at increasing the power of the state.

Moral economy: A vision of the world in which community needs predominate over competition and profit.

Noblesse de robe (robe nobility): intendant recruits from the newer judicial nobility, appointed directly by the monarch, to whom they were solely responsible.

Noblesse d’épée (sword nobility): second stage of the Fronde extended the conflict to this nobility, who were also angered by the increasing powers of the central government.

Patronage: system in which a higher-ranked individual protected a lower-ranked one in return for loyalty and services.

Peace of Utrecht: series of treaties that ended the War of the Spanish Succession, ended French expansion in Europe, and marked the rise of the British Empire.

Popular revolts: extremely common in the seventeenth century in England , France , Spain , Portugal , and Italy , due to the increasing pressures of taxation and warfare.

Protectorate: the rule of Oliver Cromwell, constituting military dictatorship.

Puritans: those who believed the Reformation had not gone far enough and wished to “purify” the Anglican church of Roman Catholic elements.

Quinto: The one-fifth of all precious metals mined in South America claimed by the Spanish Crown.

Second Treatise of Civil Government: by English political philosopher John Locke, a justification of the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89 and of the peoples right of revolution; a defense of the rights of property; it supported a system of checks and balances as (later) embodied in the U.S. Constitution.

Stadholder: its representative, or chief executive officer in each province; in the 17 th century that position was held by the sons of William the Silent of the House of Orange and was largely ceremonial.

States General: term used by the national assembly of the United Provinces of the Netherlands where the wealthy merchant class held real power; because many issues had to be refereed back to the provinces, the United Provinces was a confederation, or weak union of a strong states.

Sovereignty: the supreme authority in a political community; a modern state is said to be sovereign when it controls the instruments of justice (the courts) and the use of force (military and police powers) within geographical boundaries recognized by other states.

Test Act: written in 1673, this stated that those who refused to receive the Eucharist of the Church of England could not vote, hold public office, preach, teach, attend the universities, or even assemble for meetings.

Viceroyalties: Administrative divisions of Spanish lands in the New World. They were New Spain, Pernu, New Granada, and La Plata.


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