The Age of Absolute Monarchs. Overview.
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The Age of Absolute Monarchs
In the 1500s and 1600s, several rulers in Asia and Europe sough to centralize their political power. Claiming divine right, or authority from God, leaders such as Philip II in Spain and Louis XIV in France gained complete authority over their governments and their subjects.
England resisted the establishment of absolutism. After a civil war, England’s Parliament enacted a Bill of Rights that limited the English monarch’s powers.
Thomas Hobbes saw Society as a giant machine (perpetually in motion), thus the title of his great work, The Leviathan, which is founded on Mechanics (the Motion of Bodies / Matter). In Leviathan, Hobbes argues that the natural state of man (without any civil government) is war,... the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. ... The condition of man ... is a condition of war of everyone against everyone. According to Hobbes, man in the state of nature seeks nothing but his own selfish pleasure, but such individualism naturally leads to a war in which every man's hand is against his neighbour. In pure self-interest and for self-preservation men entered into a compact by which they agreed to surrender part of their natural freedom to an absolute ruler in order to preserve the rest. The State determines what is just and unjust, right and wrong; and the strong arm of the law provides the ultimate sanction for right conduct.
The Age of Absolutism
16th & 17th Centuries
Causes of Absolutism
Effects of Absolutism
Absolutism in Spain
Philip II (1556-1598)
Spanish Armada Defeated
Absolutism in France
"The Ultimate Absolutist"
The Sun King
Absolutism in Russia
Ivan the Terrible kills his child & Heir
Peter The Great
Russia under Peter the Great
Early Checks on English Monarchs
Parliament keeps the Monarchy in Check
The Stuart Monarchs
The English Civil War
Cromwell & the Commonwealth
Cromwell as Lord Protector
Restoration & The Glorious Revolution