The Age of Absolute Monarchs. Overview.
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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.
16th & 17th Centuries
Spanish Armada Defeated
"The Ultimate Absolutist"
Russia under Peter the Great in Europe
Early Checks on English Monarchs in Europe
Henry VII in Europe1485-1509
Parliament keeps the Monarchy in Check
Mary I in Europe1553-1558
The Stuart Monarchs
The English Civil War in Europe
Cromwell & the Commonwealth in Europe
Cromwell as Lord Protector in Europe
Restoration & The Glorious Revolution in Europe