France Certain assumptions influenced the way in which the French state developed. The sovereign held power from God. He ruled in accordance with divine and natural justice and had an obligation to preserve the customary rights and liberties of his subjects. The diversity of laws and taxes meant that royal authority rested on a set of quasi-contractual relationships with the orders and bodies of the realm.
Sovereigns and estates Among European states of the High Renaissance, the republic of Venice provided the only important exception to princely rule. Following the court of Burgundy, where chivalric ideals vied with the self-indulgence of feast, joust, and hunt, Charles V, Francis I, and Henry VIII acted out the rites of kingship in sumptuous courts.
Enormous Poland, particularly during the reign of Sigismund I —48and the miniature realms of Germany and Italy experienced the same type of regime and subscribed to the same enduring values that were to determine the principles of absolute monarchy.
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Appeal to God justified the valuable rights that the kings of France and Spain enjoyed over their churches and added sanction to hereditary right and constitutional authority.
Rebellion was always a threat. Philip II —98 failed to repress the continuing rebellion of what became a new state Absolutism in 17th century europe out of the northern Burgundian provinces. The failure of Maximilian I — to implement reforms had left the empire in poor shape to withstand the religious and political challenges of the Reformation.
Such power as Charles V —56 enjoyed in Germany was never enough to do more than contain schism within the bounds confirmed by the Treaty of Augsburg in The terms of Augsburg were flouted as further church lands were secularized and Calvinism gained adherents, some in restless Bohemia.
In these ways the stage was set for the subsequent wars and political developments. With the tendency, characteristic of the Renaissance period, for sovereigns to enlarge their authority and assume new rights in justice and finance, went larger revenues, credit, and patronage.
Princes fought with as little regard for economic consequences as their medieval precursors had shown. Ominously, the Italian wars had become part of a larger conflict, centring on the dynastic ambitions of the houses of Habsburg and Valois; similarly, the Reformation led to the formation of alliances whose objectives were not religious.
The scale and expertise of diplomacy grew with the pretensions of sovereignty. The professional diplomat and permanent embassy, the regular soldier and standing army, served princes still generally free to act in their traditional spheres. But beyond them, in finance and government, what would be the balance of powers?
From the answer to this question will come definition of the absolutism that is commonly seen as characteristic of the age. The authority of a sovereign was exercised in a society of orders and corporations, each having duties and privileges.
The orders, as represented in estates or dietswere, first, the clergy ; second, the nobility represented with the lords spiritual in the English House of Lords ; and, third, commoners.
Their claim to represent all who dwelled on their estates was sounder in law and popular understanding than may appear to those accustomed to the idea of individual political rights. In the empire, the estates were influential because they controlled the purse. Wherever monarchy was weak in relation to local elites, the diet tended to be used to further their interests.
The Cortes of Aragon maintained into the 17th century the virtual immunity from taxation that was a significant factor in Spanish weakness.
The strength of the representative institution was proportionate to that of the crown, which depended largely on the conditions of accession. The elective principle might be preserved in form, as in the English coronation service, but generally it had withered as the principle of heredity had been established.
Where a succession was disputed, as between branches of the house of Vasa in Sweden afterthe need to gain the support of the privileged classes usually led to concessions being made to the body that they controlled. In Polandwhere monarchy was elective, the Sejm exercised such power that successive kings, bound by conditions imposed at accession, found it hard to muster forces to defend their frontiers.
The constitution remained unshakable even during the reign of John Sobieski —96hero of the relief of Vienna, who failed to secure the succession of his son. Under the Saxon kings Augustus II — and Augustus III —63foreign interference led to civil wars, but repeated and factious exercise of the veto rendered abortive all attempts to reform.
They met regularly and had a permanent staff for raising taxes on property. It survived until the Revolution: The zemsky sobor had always been the creature of the ruler, characteristic of a society that knew nothing of fundamental laws or corporate rights.
When it disappeared, the tsarist government was truly the despotism that the French feared but did not, except in particular cases, experience.Start studying Absolutism and War in the 17th Century.
Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. The idea of an age of absolutism has lately fallen out of fashion, for several reasons. The word absolutism was coined only in the 19th century and the concept of a generic absolutist model can easily obscure significant differences between various monarchical states.
Absolutism in the Seventeenth Century In the latter half of the 's, monarchial systems of both England and France were changing. In England, the move was away from an absolute monarch, and toward a more powerful Parliament.
Prior to the 17th Century such absolute control precluded this absolutism. By the time of the 17th Century, however, the conditions were in place for monarchs to take absolute control to shape their nations.
The 18th Century proudly referred to itself as the "Age of Enlightenment" and rightfully so, for Europe had dwelled in the dim glow of the Middle Ages when suddenly the lights began to come on in men's minds and humankind moved forward. A BRIEF HISTORY OF SWEDEN. By Tim Lambert.
ANCIENT SWEDEN. The first humans arrived in Sweden by 8, BC after the end of the ice age, when warming temperatures first .