Absolute Monarchy Global History and Geography I name

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Absolute Monarchy

Global History and Geography I Name: ___________________

E. Napp Date: ___________________
All new nations had to answer one question: what form of government shall we have? The English philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, wrote in the 1600s that a powerful monarch, or king or queen, was the best way to unify a nation. Hobbes believed that kings were justified in assuming absolute power because only they could maintain order in a society. Absolutism is a political system where a monarch has absolute power over his or her people. This power is unlimited. Historians call this period of absolute monarchs the Age of Kings.

In the Age of Kings, many rulers had absolute or total power. People often believed that this power came from god. The belief that a ruler’s power came from God was known as the “divine right.” Divine Right theory was used by monarchs to increase their power. According to this theory, the king was God’s deputy on Earth. The king’s commands expressed God’s wishes.

Louis XIV of France provided a model for other absolute monarchs. Under his rule, the king’s command was law. Critics who challenged the king were punished. To control the nobles, Louis built a large palace at Versailles. Leading nobles were expected to spend most of the year at the royal court, under the watchful eye of the king. Louis also interfered in the economic and religious lives of his subjects. He demanded that Protestants convert to Catholicism or leave France. Finally, Louis involved his subjects in a series of wars to expand France’s frontiers and to bring glory to his rule.

  1. Who was Thomas Hobbes and what did he believe? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  2. Explain Divine Right theory. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  3. Why was Louis XIV of France (1638-1715) a model for other absolute monarchs? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Louis XIV chose the sun as his emblem. The sun was associated with Apollo, god of peace and arts, and was also the heavenly body which gave life to all things, regulating everything as it rose and set. Like Apollo, the warrior-king Louis XIV brought peace [at least in the early days!], was a patron of the arts, and was generous. The regularity of his work habits and his ritual risings and retirings were another point of solar comparison. Thus, Louis XIV came to be known as the “Sun King.” Like the sun, everyone revolved around his wishes and command. And like the sun, he controlled life in France.


  1. Who was the “Sun King”? Why was he given this title? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Which type of government is shown in the cartoon?

  1. a socialist republic

  2. an absolute monarchy

  3. a communist dictatorship

  4. a democracy

Explain the quote: “I am the state.”

Louis XIV


The rulers of Russia adopted the system of royal absolutism. Russian rulers were called Tsars or Czars. They had absolute power. Peter the Great (1682-1725) was an important absolute ruler of Russia. As tsar, he turned Russia from a backward nation into a modern power by introducing Western ideas, culture, and technology. He often used brutal methods to force nobles to adopt Western customs. Peter moved the capital of Russia from Moscow to St. Petersburg, a city he built on the Baltic coast so that Russia would have a “window on the West.” By the end of his reign, Peter expanded Russian territory, gained ports on the Baltic Sea, and created a mighty Russian army.

Catherine the Great (1762-1796) continued Peter’s policies of expansion and Westernization. She promoted limited reforms during her reign by reorganizing the government, codifying the laws, and educating children at state expense. Despite these reforms, she refused to part with any of her absolute power. During her long reign, the conditions of Russian serfs actually worsened.

1: Who was Peter the Great and why is he an example of an absolute monarch? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2: Why did Peter the Great want a “window on the West”? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3: Describe the reign of Catherine the Great. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Peter the Great and Catherine the Great changed Russia by

  1. abolishing all social class distinctions

  2. becoming constitutional monarchs

  3. preventing wars with neighboring nations

  4. introducing western ideas and customs

Westernization in Russia came about largely through the

  1. efforts of Peter the Great and his successors

  2. invasion of Russia by Sweden

  3. desire of the United States to seek new markets

  4. acceptance of the policies of the Eastern Orthodox Church

“God hath power to create or destroy, make or unmake, at his pleasure; to give life or send death; to judge…and to be judged (by) none…And the like power have kings;…”

Which idea is described by this passage?

  1. theory of divine right

  2. enlightened despotism

  3. Social Darwinism

  4. constitutional monarchy

“. . .The person of the King is sacred, and to attack him in any way is an attack on religion itself. Kings represent the divine majesty and have been appointed by Him to carry out His purposes. Serving God and respecting kings are bound together.”

—Bishop Jacques Bossuet

This statement describes the philosophy that existed during the

  1. Middle Ages

  2. Age of Absolutism

  3. Renaissance

  4. Industrial Revolution

Explain the quotes:

“It is not wisdom but Authority that makes a law.”

Thomas Hobbes


“The obligation of subjects to the sovereign is understood to last as long, and no longer, than the power lasteth by which he is able to protect them.”

Thomas Hobbes

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