Chapter 12: Absolutism and Enlightenment

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The political theory that one ruler should hold all power within the boundaries of a country, free from any constitutional restraint or limitation

Divine Right
The idea that God created the monarch and that the monarch acted as God's representative on earth
Causes of Absolutism
  1. Religious and territorial conflicts created fear and uncertainty

  2. Due to warfare, governments built large armies and placed high taxes on the peasant population

  3. Poor economic conditions (taxes) and food shortages (little ice age) resulted in peasant revolts

3 Absolute monarchs
1. Philip II (Spain) 2. Louis XIV (France) 3. Peter the Great (Russia)
Philip II of Spain
- Expanded Spanish influence - Strengthened the catholic church through wars - Made his own power absolute - Escorial A Spanish monastery and palace built by Philip II)
Louis XIV of France
- Believed it was his divine right to rule - Strengthened the state - Appointed wealthy middle-class men to gov. jobs - limited the influence of nobles - expanded the bureaucracy - Appointed Intendants - Under him, the French Army became the strongest in Europe - Versailles (A palace built by Louis XIV outside of Paris; it was home to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette)
royal officials who collected taxes, recruited soldiers, and carried out his policies in the provinces
Peter the Great of Russia
- Tsar of Russia - Was one of Russia's greatest statesmen, organizers, and reformers - The Grand Embassy - Embarked on a policy of Westernization - Became the most autocratic of Europe's absolute monarchs
The Grand Embassy
was a Russian diplomatic mission to Western Europe to learn about western technology in 1697-1698
Land owning nobles
French Wars of Religion
Religious wars between the catholic majority and Huguenots. Both sides committed terrible acts of violence.
French Protestants
St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre
Huguenot and Catholic nobles gathered for a royal wedding. A catholic plot led to the massacre of 3,000 huguenots, which led to thousands of more deaths in the days to follow.
Thirty Years War
- Was a series of wars - began in Bohemia (present-day Czech Republic). Ferdinand sought to suppress Protestants and assert royal power over nobles. - Led to depopulation - Peace of Westphalia
Thirty Years War aftermath
- France gained territory in both its Spanish and german frontiers - The Netherlands and Swiss Federation (Present day Switzerland) - Left german lands divided into more than 360 separate states
The Catholic Hapsburg king of Bohemia and he was later elected as the Holy Roman Emperor.
Defenestration of Prague
In May 1618, a few rebellious Protestant nobles tossed 2 royal officials out of a castle window
Peace of Westphalia
Was a series of treaties that was accepted by the combatants in 1648
Constitutional Monarch in England
knowt flashcard image
The Glorious Revolution
The bloodless overthrow of king James II by his protestant daughter Mary and her Dutch protestant husband William III of Orange.
English Bill of Rights
Ensured the superiority of Parliament over the Monarchy
Why didn't England become an absolute monarchy?
The Enlightenment
A new intellectual movement that stressed reason and thought and the power of individuals to solve problems. Also known as the Age of Reason.
Age of Reason
Philosophers sought new ideas on government, economics, religion, education, and society. They also fought against religion, the hereditary aristocracy (nobility), and absolutism. They believed human reason could be used to fight ignorance, superstition, and tyranny

5 Core concepts of the Enlightenment

1. Reason 2. Nature 3. Happiness 4. Progress 5. Liberty
Believed truth could be discovered through logical thinking

what was natural was also good and reasonable

Rejected medieval notion that people should find joy in the hereafter and urged people to seek well-being on earth
Stressed that society and human kind could improve
Called for liberties that the English people had won in the Glorious Revolution and the English Bill of Rights
Thomas Hobbes
  • English thinker who wrote Leviathan in 1651.

    • argued people were naturally cruel, greedy, and selfish

    • To escape it, people entered into a social contract (people gave up their freedom for an organized lifestyle)

  • He believed that only a powerful government, such as an absolute monarchy, could ensure an orderly society.

John Locke
  • was an English thinker

  • thought people were basically reasonable and moral

  • believed people had natural rights

  • wrote the Two Treatises of Government

    • he argued that people formed governments to protect their natural rights

    • Rejected absolute monarchy.

    • Believed people were born with a blank slate

    • “tabula rasa”

Natural Rights
Rights that belonged to all humans from birth. Includes the right to life, liberty, and property
Baron de Montesquieu
  • he published The Spirit of the Laws in 1748,

    • discussed governments throughout history.

    • He felt that the best way to protect liberty was to divide the various functions and powers of government into 3 branches: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial.

Marie Arouet - Voltaire
  • defended the principle of freedom of speech

  • used biting wit as a weapon to expose the abuses of his day

  • targeted officials and aristocrats, battled inequality, injustice, and superstition

  • detested the slave trade, and deplored religious prejudice

  • He was later imprisoned and forced into exile.

Denis Diderot
  • produced a 28-volume set of books called the Encyclopedia.

  • His purpose was "to change the general way of thinking".

  • The Encyclopedia:

    • denounced slavery

    • praised freedom of expression

    • urged education for all.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • believed people in their natural state were basically good

  • natural innocence was corrupted by the evils of society

  • Wrote his ideas in a book titled The Social Contract

    • wrote about how society placed too many limitations on people's behavior

    • believed some controls were necessary but should be minimal

    • Believed that the good of the community as a whole should be placed above individual interests.

Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Women

    • called for equal education for boys and girls

    • she believed education could give women the tools they needed to participate with men in public life

Adam Smith
  • He is known as the father of Modern Economics

  • wrote The Wealth Of Nations

  • Free market

    • the belief that an unregulated exchange of goods and services would help everybody

    • would produce more goods at lower prices, making them affordable for everybody

    • argued that the free market should be allowed to operate and regulate businesses

  • Free Enterprise System

    • favored a free enterprise system in which commerce and business compete for profit with little to no interference from the government

    • Was a supporter of Laissez Faire

Laissez Faire

a policy or attitude of letting things take their own course, without interfering

Free Market
The natural forces of supply and demand
Cesar Beccana
  • believed laws exist to preserve social order not to avenge crimes and that an accused person should receive a speedy trial (no torture).

  • criticized common abuses of justice such as torture and the death penalty.

  • believed that the degree of punishment should be based on the seriousness of the crime (not their social status).

  • Abolish capital punishment

Enlightened Despots
Absolute rulers who used their power to bring about political and social change
Frederick the Great (enlightened despot)
Was the King of prussia from 1740-1786. He saw himself as the "first servant of the state". He praised Voltaire's work, tolerated religious differences, and he reorganized the government's civil service and simplified laws.
Catherine the Great (enlightened despot)
Was the Empress of Russia. She experimented with implementing enlightenment ideas. She granted some religious tolerance for Christians and Muslims, but she increased restrictions and taxes on Jews. She also expanded Russia's empire.
Joseph ll (enlightened despot)
He was the king of Austria who worked to modernize Austria's government. He ended censorship, granted more rights to Protestants and Jews, abolished serfdom, and sold the properties of many monasteries that were not involved in education. He used those funds to build hospitals.