Absolutism and why was it chosen by Europe

Absolutism and why was it chosen by Europe

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Introduction:

Before the 17th century, Europe went through different governmental systems for controlling their countries.  Each of these systems were based on exchanging benefits and spreading power among the government. One such system was feudalism, in which the nobility held land from the king in exchange for military service, and vessels were tenants of the nobles. Meanwhile, the peasants were obliged to live on their lord’s land and give him respect, labor, and a share of the productions in exchange for military protection. Whereas, absolutism was a form of government (more like a modern dictatorship) in which the monarch of the territory had unlimited and complete power over the public as well as the government (centralization of power.) This government was based on the theory of “The Divine Right of King” which states that the king is authorized by god to rule the country.

Research question and objectives:

The aim of this abstract is to define and discuss a number of reasons why absolute monarchs were desired by European society in different countries in Europe.  There are a several reasons why absolute monarchy was firstly accepted by the European society.

Firstly, the lack of stability that prevailed throughout Europe during the medieval time contributed highly to the rise of the absolute monarchies. The public went through tough conditions that made them tired of uncertain circumstances. This caused them unhappiness and raised the interest of being ruled by an absolute ruler who could guarantee them peaceful and stable life. This fact was fully exploited by the rulers of France, Russia and England to establish their absolute rule. For example, France had been torn apart from religious wars, the citizens had no respect for law and order, the feudal nobility had seized control and the finances of the central government were in chaos.

In addition, the enormous expansion in trade, commerce and industries significantly contributed the growth of absolute monarchs in Europe. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, most of the countries in Eastern Europe were economically less developed than Western Europe. Whereas, aristocrats (merchants and traders) were the dominant power and they had the intention to have peaceful and secured trading atmosphere that could positively support the country itself. As a result, the creation of powerful absolute monarchy became much more favourable, especially in countries such as Prussia, Austria and Russia.

Lastly, renaissance and reformation played such a crucial role in supporting and developing absolutism as a form of government in Europe. The period of 15th to 17th centuries was a time of intellectual discoveries based on rediscovering the Greek philosophy, literature religion and government.  This also caused reformation that “encouraged greater questioning of the Bible and a search to recover ‘uncorrupted’ texts from the original languages.”  As a result, people discovered that one emperor governed ancient Greece and some of the ancient empires, which raised the desire of supporting one ruler.

On the other hand, when Queen Elizabeth the first was the absolute monarch in the British kingdom, the House of Lords’ power was increasing which resulted in conflicts between them (parliament) and the Queen over ruling the territory jointly.

To conclude, despite the fact that the European countries were ruled by different types of government, the Europeans were satisfied with absolute monarchs systems.  This was a consequence of the tough conditions the society went through, such as social instability in many of the European countries, for example Russia and England. However, the absolute monarch in England was not able to exploit the full governing priority due to the conflicts they had with the parliament.

References:-

  • Wenxian, Y. (2008). What Is” Feudalism.Wuhan University Journal (Humanity Sciences)5, 002.
  • Beik, W. (1985).Absolutism and society in seventeenth-century France: State power and provincial aristocracy in Languedoc. Cambridge University Press.
  • Beam, S. (2007).Laughing Matters: Farce and the Making of Absolutism in France. Cornell University Press.
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCMMeibVRDQ
  • Loretta (2016). Early Modern States