French King Louis XIV is reported to have said, “L’État, c’est moi.”
What did Louis XIV mean?
“L’État, c’est moi” roughly translates to “I am the State,” and Louis XIV meant that his person as king was the sole legitimate authority in France, a style of government known as an absolute monarchy.
As an absolute monarch, Louis XIV contended that all things revolved around him; hence, he adopted the sun itself as his symbol.
Describe the characteristics that defined the Age of Absolutism from 1550-1800.
The Age of Absolutism was a 250 year period in which kings/queens (predominantly in Europe) claimed “absolute power” and authority.
Power was centralized and divine right was used to justify rule. Citizens feared questioning rulers who were supposedly appointed by God.
Some common Absolute rulers on the Regents are…
- Akbar the Great
- Ivan the Terrible
- Peter the Great
- Louis XIV (Sun King/Versailles Palace)
What unique governing strategy did Akbar the Great utilize during his rule over the Mughal Empire?
Explain why he used this strategy.
Akbar the Great was a Mughal leader who ruled Northern India in the latter half of the 16th century.
Akbar centralized the Mughal Empire, established a bureaucracy, and did much to bridge the gap between the Muslims and Hindus under his control.
He embraced the concept of “religious tolerance” allowing citizens to practice the religion of their choice.
What is the Divine Right of Kings?
The Divine Right of Kings holds that the right to rule comes from God and not from the consent of the governed.
The Divine Right of Kings was one of the main strategies of absolute monarchies who used it as a way to manipulate the masses.
Explain the short and long term significance of the English Bill of Rights when it was established in 1689.
The English Bill of Rights was established as a result of the English Civil War and limited the King’s power. Civil liberties were protected by this document, ensuring that the King could not deny citizens of their basic unalienable rights.
A major one was the writ of habeas corpus or the right to a fair trial. This concept would be copied by other countries throughout the world as others sought to empower the governed.
Evaluate the impact that Ivan the Terrible had on Russia.
Ivan the Terrible was a ruthless absolute ruler who ruled Russia from 1547-1584. He was known for his particularly cruel and sadistic behavior.
Ivan would torture animals as a child and then people as he grew older. Believing he was driven by religious motives, he killed thousands of his own people. This established the legacy of strong rulers in Russia that would continue for centuries.
Explain the sequence of events that took place in England that established a Limited Monarchy in the mid-1600s.
The English people challenged the authority of the king. Oliver Cromwell led a civil war which ended the king’s absolute power.
Although the monarchy remained, power was limited by a governing body called a parliament. The English Bill of Rights was created to ensure civil liberties were protected.
What reforms were instituted by Peter the Great (1672-1725)?
Nearly 7 feet tall and of limitless energy, Peter the Great was dedicated to melding Russia into a European power. He built the first Russian navy, expanded Russia’s army, and industrialized Russia. Peter was inspired to Westernize Russia after traveling throughout Europe.
Old nobles, known as boyars, were forced to shave their beards or pay a beard tax, and women were allowed to remove their veils. Peter founded St. Petersburg as a second Russian capital, intending it to serve as the model of a European city. He also went to war to ensure Russia had access to warm water ports for year round use.
Evaluate the accomplishments and characteristics that defined the rule of Philip II.
Philip II ruled Spain from 1556-1598. Claiming Divine Right, Philip II was deeply religious and defended the Catholic faith from the Protestant Reformation.
Philip helped foster a golden age in Spain and greatly expanded their power by obtaining Portuguese colonials possessions.
Explain the philosophical principals found in Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince.
How did his work influence rulers during the Age of Absolutism?
The Prince discusses the characteristics a leader should possess. Machiavelli believed _decisiveness_ was one of the most important leadership qualities.
A ruler’s main objective should be to stay in power at all costs. Machiavelli embraced the philosophy that “the end justifies the means.” Another key principle from his work was that it’s “_safer_ to be feared than loved.”
Identify the book written by Thomas Hobbes and how it influenced rulers during the Age of Absolutism.
Hobbes wrote _The Leviathan_ which claimed that People are evil and need a strong absolute government to control them. Absolute rulers used this as justification for their rule.
He named the book after the “Leviathan” which was the gatekeeper to hell in the bible. This perspective contrasts sharply with Jean Jac Rousseau’s The Social Contract which was later written during the Enlightenment.