The late medieval increase in the power of rulers was in response to fierce struggles over religion, territory, and trade in Europe and overseas.
Traditional restrictions on rulers' power are cast off to meet these challenges.
Until late in the eighteenth century, nobles and churches were treated as junior partners by the nobility, clergy, and wealthy bourgeoisie.
They built up armies and declared their actions to be authorized by God as they taxed the rest of the population more heavily.
They helped other Western changes by generously supporting science, scholarship, and art, and by fostering trade and industry as best they could.
The increase in government power brought about by absolute monarchy became a permanent feature of Western states.
The Scientific Revolution was the result of intellectual changes that began with the Renaissance.
The Renaissance brought about a revolution in one field of natural knowledge: astronomy.
They developed a new understanding of the universe as a vast self-regulating entity, whose rules of operation could be discovered by observation and experiment, and described in the language of mathematics, after they proved that the earth moved around the sun.
The whole modern enterprise of scientific discovery was launched by the investigators.
The Enlightenment helped lead to a new un derstanding of humanity and God after a new understanding of the natural universe.
They put human reason in place of faith to discover the unknown.
They put the ideas of progress and human perfectibility in place of original sin and redemption.
The Enlightenment was the first serious challenge to Christian belief since ancient times, but it was also an attractive way of thinking that influenced all classes of society.
Reforms such as widespread education, religious toleration, and the abolition of serfdom were started by nobles, bishops, and absolute monarchs.
Europe continued its Renaissance revival of Greco-Roman art and thought, and continued to interpret the traditions of the ancients in accordance with its own changing needs.
The revived Catholicism of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries inspired the passion and drama of the Baroque style.
The order, clarity, and precision of classicism were suitable for an age of reason.
The luxurious court and noble life of the eighteenth century were reflected in the elegance and refinement of the eighteenth-century Rococo style.
Composers had the same scope for creativity as writers or painters because of the improvements in musical instruments and notation.
The seventeenth- and eighteenth-century West was a traditional civilization.
Farming remained the main source of wealth, the vast majority of the population still consisted of peasants, and absolute monarchy rested on the long-standing partnership of rulers, nobles, and churches.
More than ever before, the changes in knowledge, thought, art, and government power were impressive, and they spread outward from the countries of western Europe.
The ruler of an outlying territory of western civilization, Peter I of Russia, traveled to the heartland to change his country's image.
For the first time, the European West provided a model to be copied in another region of the world.
The period of religious struggles leading up to the Thirty Years' War was followed by continued non religious conflicts.
The royal government was strengthened throughout most of Europe.
Only powerful governments could mobilize the resources necessary to fight wars, and this was the main reason for rulers to hope to prevail in their endless competition.
The methods of warfare were changed in the late Middle Ages.
The cost of warfare went on into the 16th and 17th centuries.
Gunsmiths developed small firearms that could be used by foot soldiers and shipbuilders learned to build vessels large enough to carry whole batteries of artillery.
The long time it took to build ships and train their crews led governments to maintain standing naval vessels.
Governments began to keep standing armies in the 17th century because of the unreliability of the mercenary armies that fought the Thirty Years' War.
The cost of war had to be paid in peacetime.
The result was that rulers began to tax their countries more and more.
The French Estates-General were supposed to give their consent to taxation.
The rulers stopped calling them together or reduced them to rubberstamp bodies.
The rulers left untouched their traditional privileges, which included tax exemption, access to government, military, and Church positions, and authority over the peasants.
Many subjects of all social groups felt that the takeover of power by rulers was better than the alternatives of civil war, foreign conquest, and changes of religion.
The European form of government rose to be "absolute" in the sense of "unrestricted".
France was the most powerful and successful of the absolute monarchies of the 17th century.
France, the wealthiest and most prosperous of the western European nation-states, collapsed into civil war after the 15th century because of political centralization.
The trend toward absolute monarchy resumed after the wars were over.
Cardinal Richelieu, the astute minister of Louis XIII, led the way in crushing provincial and aristocratic revolts and in fashioning effective instruments of royal power.
Louis XIV continued Richelieu's work after he died.
In Louis, the idea of absolutism was its most spectacular fulfill ment.
He took personal charge of state affairs in 1661 after coming to the throne as a boy.
For more than half a century, Louis was in total control of his kingdom, laboring to perfect his royal image and perform his royal tasks.
The French army, language, manners, and culture were all influenced by his style of governing.
The symbol of national power was created when Louis concentrated all authority in the crown.
Louis surrounded himself with men and women of the oldest and wealthiest noble families at his magnificent court, despite overawing the nobles, whose fathers had notions of regaining their independence.
Versailles proved to be very functional.
Though wasteful of the nation's resources, it helped the king to centralize his authority within France, and it strengthened the role and image of France as the cultural leader of the West.
A milestone in politics, civic planning and the arts, Versailles called for a hundred imitations by the monarchs and princelings of Europe.
The tax system was strengthened by the minister of finance.
Improved roads and waterways aided internal trade, colonies and trading companies were founded overseas, and French industries were protected by protective tariffs and export subsidies.
The purpose of Colbert's program was to increase employment, profits, and state revenues, and to secure for France a "favorable balance of trade" with other countries.
The towns and guilds have practiced regulation of business for hundreds of years.
It was practiced in France, Spain, Holland, and England in the 17th century.
Louis was a big fan of war and glory.
He wanted to gain and hold France's "natural" frontiers--the Rhine River, the Alps, and the Pyrenees.
When the Habsburg rulers of Spain died out, Louis was able to win the succession for a branch of his own Bourbon dynasty, and he was able to push France's frontiers farther east and north than ever before.
Louis's opponents were able to limit his gains.
The Netherlands and northern Italy had strong barriers to French expansion.
He spoiled many of the accomplishments of his long reign by draining the nation's wealth and manpower into costly military adventures.
France was exhausted after his death in 1715.
The power and prestige of the absolute monarchy began to decline after it recovered from many wars.
In the Middle Ages, eastern Europe was closely linked to the dominant western countries.
Grain, timber, and cattle were sent to western Europe from the eastern countries in ever-larger quantities because they were Barred by geography from ready access to worldwide trade and empire.
The Austrian Habsburgs have kept former Spanish Habsburg territories in the Netherlands and Italy.
Russia is beginning to push into Poland and the lands of Prussia are scattered from the Rhine to the eastern Baltic.
Great Britain is now the leading worldwide power after England became Scotland's senior partner.
Serfdom in eastern Europe had become more oppressive by the beginning of the 18th century than it had ever been in the Middle Ages.
In eastern Europe, the leading rulers worked to build up absolute monarchies and struggled with each other for control of territory.
The task was complicated by the fact that the nobles were more independent minded than western Europe.
In addition, religious passions were even more disruptive than in western Europe, where Christians were already divided between the Catholic and Orthodox churches, and which was also home to most of Europe's Jews.
There were campaigns of expulsion and massacre directed by Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox against each other and by Jews.
Some rulers became vulnerable to external attack due to their inability to overcome these problems.
The Turkish empire lost part of its European possessions and became more tolerant of its Christian subjects in the territories that were left to it in the late 17th century.
Poland, a contender for power in eastern Europe until the eighteenth century, was swallowed up by its rivals.
The Hohenzollerns of Brandenburg Prussia, the Habsburgs of Austria, and the Romanovs of Russia were more successful.
By the end of the 18th century, they had built up states that could compete with the wealthy countries of western Europe in terms of military power.
The Hohenzollern dynasty rose to power as a result of their association with the Holy Roman Emperors.
The center of their properties was the North German princedom of Brandenburg, but the family also held the territory of Prussia to the east and claimed several smaller territories in western Germany.
After gaining additional lands through the Peace of Westphalia, Prince Frederick William spent the rest of his life controlling the family's holdings.
He regulated economic activities, raised a large and well-equipped army, and demanded strict discipline from his soldiers and subjects.
Prussia's landed aristocracy accepted the monarch's authority in order to have complete control over their serfs.
The king had a hereditary officer class.
By 1688, the state of Brandenburg-Prussia had become the most efficient in Germany.
The Holy Roman Emperor gave him the title of "King in Prussia" after he joined the coalition against Louis XIV.
Prussia was applied to the whole of the Hohenzollern lands after the higher title displaced the lesser one.
The new ideal of power was personified by Frederick II.
Frederick expanded his possessions to the east at the expense of the Habsburgs of Austria and the state of Poland.
He was shrewder than Louis XIV.
The Thirty Years' War left the Habsburg rulers as figurehead emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, and they had to give up Spain to the Bourbon dynasty.
Frederick II of Prussia's defeats galvanized the Habsburgs into making reforms.
Maria Theresa and her son Joseph II made progress in centralizing control of their territories, improving the administrative and tax systems, and limiting noble exploitation of the serfs so that the latter would be able to pay higher taxes to the government.
The Austrian rulers wanted to build an army that would be a match for Prussia.
Austria was one of the leading European powers even though it never achieved the degree of unity and discipline found in Habsburg Prussia.
Russia became a large country in the late 16th century.
It defeated Muslim states on the borders of Europe and Asia.
It expanded quickly across Siberia, empty of people but rich in gold and furs, and into Alaska, despite the fact that the central Asian Muslim states and China were too strong to overcome.
Russia gained more taxpaying subjects, as well as access to the Baltic and Black seas, as a result of the bitter European struggles with Sweden, Poland, and Turkey.
The rise of Russia was one of the biggest changes in eastern Europe.
The principality of Moscow at the end of the Middle Ages was a state of the Asiatic Tartars.
The princes were ambitious and had strong religious and cultural ties to Constantinople.
The last emperor's niece, Sophia, was married to Ivan the Great after the Turkish capture of that city.
Moscow was driven by a sense of mission.
Ivan's successors were true to this mission despite many setbacks.
They made the Tartars their subjects after throwing off the overlordship of the Tartars.
The tsar's dominions stretched all the way to the Pacific Ocean until the beginning of the 18th century.
The land empire's owners were not nearly as profitable as their counterparts in the Western countries.
Europe was the focus of Russia's rulers from the accession of the first tsar of the Romanov dynasty in 1613.
Poland and Sweden were the main competitors for control of the territories between the Black and Baltic seas.
The tsars were the victors in this struggle.
The coast of the Black Sea was reached by the end of the 17th century.
Peter the Great, the most ruthless of the Romanov tsars, broke through in the 18th century.
Sweden was a rival of Russia in the Baltic area.
The Swedish monarchy was able to make itself the dominant power of the Baltic region in the 16th century.
The grand alliance of eastern states put a hold on the Swedish Empire.
He built a new capital in this region, Saint Petersburg.
There was a bitter fight between Russians who supported a Western orientation and those who did not.
The tsarina Catherine II looked toward Europe.
She was the daughter of a German nobleman and devoted herself to her adopted country after marrying a grandson of Peter.
Catherine followed Peter's lead in encouraging Westernization.
She never got the same degree of internal control as she did in France and Prussia because she was forced to compromise.
Catherine continued the Romanov policy of expanding their power further into Europe.
Many of the subjects of the wars against the Turks shared the same ethnic origins as the Russians.
She extended her territories to the south.
Catherine went to Poland on Russia's western frontier.
As a result of overweening power and endless factional disputes of its nobles, Poland was reduced to anarchy and helplessness as a result of being one of the strongest powers in eastern Europe.
Poland was divided between its neighbors between 1772 and 1792.
Prussia and Austria took over the rest of Russia's share in order to prevent Russia from moving further west.
Russia became a major force in the power balances of Europe and the Middle East by the end of the 18th century.
Prussia, Austria, and Russia were weak and vulnerable.
The rulers of the eastern European states built societies that were poor and backward compared to the Western countries.
The Hohenzollern, Habsburg, and Romanov rulers were unable to fight a war for any length of time without massive financial help.
The resistance of their nobles to abolishing serfdom was not overcome by the eastern rulers.
This was a reform, as the wiser of these "enlightened despots" said.
The main hope for modernizing their economies was to make their countries wealthy and powerful.
The Habsburgs and Romanovs were handicapped by the fact that they had expanded into regions of eastern Europe that were very mixed.
Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, Ukrainians, and many others are now under the rule of foreigners.
Serfdom and the subjection of na tions to foreign rulers were generally accepted as legitimate in the 17th and 18th century.
In the serf societies and multinational states of nineteenth- and twentieth century eastern Europe, social and national conflicts would arise that would dwarf the earlier religious struggles, and millions of people would be expelled or killed.
In the 17th and 18th century, absolutism was superior to other forms of government because it allowed rulers to control the resources of their states.
No form of government has the unquestioned respect of every subject.
The absolute monarchs sought ideological justification for their rule.
Machiavelli had a theory about politics being a purely secular art and science.
This was not a return to medievalism.
James I of England, the Stuart king who succeeded Elizabeth I in 1603, spoke out for himself.
The "Grand Monarch" of France was Louis XIV.
The theory was stated by a favored bishop of the court.
He supported his points with quotations from the Bible.
Royal authority is sacred, fatherly, and absolute.
The king's judgement is subject to no appeal, and he must be obeyed for reasons of religion and conscience.
These ideas were liked by the monarchs of France and other European states and they probably believed them.
They were less enthusiastic about the secular argument.
Hobbes was a royalist who supported the Stuart kings.
His analysis proved to be significant for later generations despite his writings.
The math ematical and scientific advances of his time made Hobbes break completely with religious traditions.
Hobbes took up where Machiavelli had left off by accepting politics as a purely secular matter and trying to make it a science.
Hobbes believed that every human is a kind of machine, whose feelings, thoughts, and actions are the result of complex motions.
The machines are driven by a need for self-preservation.
The true bases of the state and political organization are the psychology and physiology of human beings.
He didn't look at history or primitive cultures to prove his generalizations.
His assumptions about the makeup of human beings resulted in a dismal picture of their condition.
Hobbes said that humans have a power of reason that allows them to provide an alternative to nature.
They can't create a society of equals because they are selfish egoists.
They can give up their personal strength to a higher authority, which will curb individual aggression.
I give up my right of governing myself, to this man, or to this assembly of men, on this condition, that you give up your right to him, and authorize all his actions in like manner.
This is the generation of the great Leviathan, or rather, to speak more reverently, of the God who gave us peace and defense.
All subjects are bound by their contracts to obey civil government.
They do it because of the underlying motives of self-interest.
Law serves the individual better than anarchy.
On these grounds, Hobbes supported absolute monarchy.
His logic was not appreciated by the monarchists of his day because he demolished their claim to divine right and brushed aside all moral arguments.
Hobbes was a most radical Englishman.
He turned people's minds to the new while defending the old.
The Scientific Revolution of the Seventeenth Century produced a completely different view of the universe and a new mode of thinking.
The intellectual changes influenced Hobbes's ideas and would have a profound effect on Western life and thought.
The methodology of modern science seems appropriate for educated people of the twenty-first century.
Our "common sense" could never have produced science.
The tendency of human beings to accept as truth the judgments of their senses was one of the greatest barriers to scientific thinking.
Natural appearances obscure the fantastic world that science reveals to us.
In every corner of the globe, people accepted the "obvious" that the earth is still while the sun and stars are overhead.
The decisive period of the development of the methodology was the 17th century.
The West was made the teacher of the world by the fertile minds of that time.
The science of the Greeks, recovered in the Middle Ages, was the start of this achievement.
Renaissance scholars rediscovered Greek mathematics and 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 The ability to see old things in new ways was displayed by the founding fathers of science.
The overthrow of a universe was done by the result.
The system that would take its place was more in harmony with the world of appearances.
Ptolemy's scheme placed the earth at the center of things.
The heavenly bodies were embedded in a transparent sphere as they were rotating about the earth.
The sphere that carried the moon was the closest to earth, followed by the spheres of Mercury, Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter, and the fixed stars.
By means of clever adjustments, this ancient view could be made to correspond to observed data.
The heavenly bodies were placed in a "higher" zone, distinct from the earth, to suit people's awe of the heavens.
The human zone was ruled by change, imperfection, and decay, whereas in the revolving spheres, all was permanent, regularity, and harmony.
It was easy to accept the view that God was located in the highest Heaven beyond the visible universe.
Ptolemy was aware of a heliocentric theory of the universe that was taught by a Greek astronomer in the third century b.c.
The apparent motion of the heavenly bodies was due to the earth's rotation on its axis, according to his theory.
The theory did not fit with Ptolemy's recorded observations so he rejected it.
It was not possible to reconcile the idea of earthly rotation with the beliefs about motion.
The authority of Aristotle was decisive again.
He held that the objects must be moved by force if they are to remain in a state of rest.
The rotation of the spheres was easy because the rules did not apply in the heavenly zones.
In the earthly zone, there was no force strong enough to keep the earth's mass turning.
The heliocentric theory didn't work because of the appearance that the earth stood still.
It was revived byNicolaus Copernicus in the 16th century.
The Polish cleric with a passion for astronomy was dissatisfied with Ptolemy's system.
The simplest geometric explanation of observed movements was offered by the heliocentric one.
The Ptolemaic system was not accepted by the other astronomer of the time.
His theory was a limited departure from the accepted view, but it did not challenge the motion mechanics of Aristotle.
The positions of the sun and earth were exchanged by Copernicus.
The traditional view was upset by the fact that the earth was shifted into the heavenly zone of laws and forces.
There was no observational proof of his belief.
The position of the fixed stars should change if the earth is tilted around the sun.
Astronomers know that they do shift, but it's so small that they can't detect it.
He offered an answer, but it wasn't very persuasive.
He said that the earth could not keep from rotating because it was the nature of spheres.
The search for a simpler and more satisfying truth was inspired by the man who did not overcome the limitations of traditional science.