European Absolutism



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European Absolutism – (c.1610-c.1789) Term used to describe a form of monarchical power that is unrestrained by all other institutions such as churches, legislatures, or social elites. Ruled under the idea of Divine Right of Kings unlike before where Kings were subject to the Pope or Emperors.
First, two simple questions for you. (There's a bit of sarcasm implied there, since I don't think the answers are necessarily that simple...)

-What is the best government? (The logical follow-up: Why?)

-What are the qualities of the ideal ruler?
Third, let's look a little bit more closely at the theory of absolutism. We'll try and answer several questions here.

-What is absolutism?

-What earlier examples do we have of absolute rulers?

-What factors led to the rise of European absolutism?

-What were the signs or effects of absolutism?
THE CHARGES: The Absolute Monarchs of Europe are charged with:


  • ignoring the needs and well-being of the people

  • bankrupting the state

  • pursuing selfish foreign policies

  • harming the futures of their states



FORMAT:

Students will be placed in groups. Each group will have a head lawyer and two to three supporting lawyers/witnesses. Each group will be responsible for either prosecuting or defending an absolute monarchial leader through research, acting, participation, and presentation. At time of trials, lawyers will present a 2-3 minute speech of why their monarchial leader is either guilty or innocent. Evidence each group can use may include evidence about the monarchial leaders: character, diplomatic actions, religious views, family, laws and rules, lifestyle, actions towards his or her own people, etc… ALL ARGUMENTS SHOULD BE BACKED BY FACTUAL EVIDENCE.


Groups are to include witnesses or testimony from witnesses. (List of example witnesses on back). Group members are to include at least two witnesses in their trial that support their arguments; and can be done by group members acting as the witnesses. All witnesses should be prepared to give a "speech" in class. This should be between 1 to 2 minutes. It does not need to be memorized. If you are a real person, you should explain why "you" support a particular monarch and/or the idea of absolutism. If you represent a "type" or person, you should create a story consistent with your assigned side and background. Prosecution witnesses may focus on one or more of the charges against a particular monarch. 
The trial will consist of a 2-3 minute opening statement from both the prosecution and the defense, followed by each group’s two witnesses (4 total), and finally a closing statement from each group.

Class members who are not directly involved in the trial will represent the jury, and will have the final verdict on the charges.


DEFENDANTS:

Philip II of Spain (King)

Louis XIV of France (King)

Charles I of England (King)

Maria Theresa of Austria (Empress)

Peter the Great of Russia (Czar)


POSSIBLE DEFENSE WITNESSES:

Cardinal Richelieu

Jean Baptiste Colbert

Niccolo Machiavelli

Thomas Hobbes

English Cavalier (wealthy nobles)

Catherine the Great

Russian Boyars

Any other witness who you find information on
POSSIBLE PROSECUTION WITNESSES:

Parliament Member

Dutch merchant

Spanish sailor from the Armada

French peasant

French soldier from War of Spanish Succession

French nobleman

Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church

Russian serf

Russian laborer building St. Petersburg

Oliver Cromwell

Member of English Parliament

Austrian Protestant merchant

French Huguenot

Russian Boyars

Any other witness who you find information on

POSSIBLE RESOURCES

Textbook (Chapter 16)

Packets

Internet sites


Phillip II

http://www.nndb.com/people/229/000092950/

http://wapedia.mobi/en/Philip_II_of_Spain
King Louis X1V

http://www.answers.com/topic/louis-xiv-of-france


Maria Theresa

http://www.biography.com/articles/Maria-Theresa-9398965?part=2

http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/ENLIGHT/ABSOLUTE.HTM

King Charles I



http://www.british-civil-wars.co.uk/biog/charles1.htm


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