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The Rise of Absolutism

The Rise of Absolutism

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The Rise of Absolutism

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  1. The Rise of Absolutism

  2. Absolutism: A political system in which a single ruler has unrestricted power

  3. Spain

  4. King Charles V • 1500-1558 • Grandson of Ferdinand & Isabella • Also heir to the Hapsburg family, who ruled over the Holy Roman Empire and the Netherlands, so he was King of Spain, King of the Netherlands, and the Holy Roman Emperor (or King of Germany) all at the same time!

  5. King Charles V • Charles was staunchly Catholic and, in his role as Holy Roman Emperor, tried to suppress Martin Luther by issuing the Edict of Worms (and, thereby control his people’s religion) • In 1556, Charles retired and became a monk, giving control of the Holy Roman Empire to his brother and control of Spain, its colonies, and the Netherlands to his son Philip II.

  6. King Philip II • 1556-1598 • Made Spain the strongest power in Europe, based mainly on the immense wealth Spain had due to its American colonies • Absolute Monarch • believed that he ruled by “divine right,” or through God’s authority • Sought to protect and strengthen the Catholic Church by outlawing Protestantism in his lands and reinstating the Spanish Inquisition

  7. Wars of Philip II • Faced rebellion by Dutch Protestants in the Netherlands (Dutch broke free of Spanish rule in 1648, after 67 years of fighting.) • Attempted to invade and conquer England in 1588 and claim the throne of his late wife, the Catholic Mary I, from her Protestant sister Elizabeth

  8. The Spanish Armada • Invasion force which included 130 ships and 20,000 men • Despite its formidable size, the Armada was decisively defeated by a combination of bad weather and smaller, faster English ships • Philip had spent so much of Spain’s wealth on the Armada that its failure (coupled with inflation) ruined Spain’s economy and caused Spain to quickly go into decline as a world power

  9. France

  10. King Louis XIV • 1638 – 1715 • Became king at age 5 and ruled for 72 years • Referred to himself as the “Sun King” – because the sun was believed to be the center of the universe by this time • Nearly bankrupted France by building himself a massive new palace at Versailles, which housed 10,000 people

  11. King Louis XIV • Absolutist • Disbanded France’s legislature (Estates General) • Forced the upper nobility to live at Versailles as his perpetual guests so that he could control them • Built a powerful, professional army of 300,000 men • Revoked the Edict of Nantes, causing over 100,000Protestants and Jews to flee France • His personal motto was “I am the state.”

  12. Holy Roman Empire (Germany)

  13. Rise of Austria and Prussia • Holy Roman Empire was fractured into hundreds of small rival states, each with its own prince; the princes elected the Holy Roman Emperor, thereby keeping the emperor pretty much powerless • In addition, Germany was home to both Catholics and Protestants, and they didn’t like each other very much • These two things added together resulted in the Thirty Years’ War

  14. The Thirty Years War • War started in 1618 in Bohemian city of Prague when a rebellion broke out after the king there tried to suppress Protestantism • Both sides sought allies outside of Bohemia, and pretty quickly most of Europe had taken one side or the other • The war was extremely violent; as much as 1/3 of central Europe’s population may have died

  15. The Peace of Westphalia • Ended Thirty Years War in 1648 • France ended up with more territory, the Holy Roman Empire broke apart into 360 separate states (but still had a figurehead Holy Roman Emperor), Switzerland and the Netherlands became independent states • Led to the rise of Hapsburg Austria in the south, who would grow into a major Catholic power, and their rival, Hohenzollern Prussia in the north, a Protestant power

  16. Austria’s Maria Theresa 1717 – 1780 Absolutist Dictated reforms in everything from education to agriculture to the military Allowed only Catholicism Employed special “moral decency” police who expelled prostitutes, gamblers, and other undesirables from the state Forced smallpox inoculation (like a vaccine, but runs the risk of death) on her citizens Mother of 16 children, including Marie Antoinette

  17. Austria’s Joseph II 1741 – 1790 Son of Maria Theresa Considered an “enlightened despot” – ruled absolutely, but most of his decisions benefitted his people Allowed freedom of religion, even for Jews (angering Protestant citizens) Abolished serfdom (angering nobility) Built public hospitals Abolished the death penalty Made elementary education mandatory Made German the official language (angering non-German citizens) Patron of the arts: employed both Mozart and Beethoven Not satisfied with his accomplishments; his epitaph reads: “Here lies Joseph II, who failed in all he undertook”

  18. Prussia’s Frederick William I • 1688 – 1740 • Absolutist • Built Prussia into a military state • Made basic education mandatory • Forced the nobility (the Junkers) into serving as the officer-class for his army • Had his own son (and heir) court-martialed at 19

  19. Prussia’s Frederick II 1712 – 1786 Son of Frederick William I Another “enlightened despot” Author of Anti-Machiavel (1740), which argued against Machiavelli’s idea that the ends justifies the means Forcibly modernized Prussian government, agriculture and industry Practiced religious tolerance, even of Jews, and advocated peace with the Muslims Musician, artist, and Freemason, he spoke 9 languages

  20. Russia

  21. Peter the Great • Peter became czar at age 10, but did not assume control until age 17 in 1689 • In 1697, he traveled to Western Europe to investigate stories of fantastic new technologies; he learned about new inventions, new forms of government; he hired many specialists to return to Russia with him • In order to force through his western ideas, which were opposed by many in Russia, Peter became an absolutist

  22. Peter the Great • Absolutist • Peter wanted nobles free to serve the state; this meant that they had to have a regular income, so Peter added more serfs • Forced educational and economic reforms • Forced the nobility to shave their beards and to adopt western fashions • Harshly put down anyone who opposed him, executed thousands

  23. Peter the Great • Expanded Russia’s borders • needed a warm water port (Russia’s ports were on the Arctic Ocean and iced in during the winter) • tried to seize Black Sea ports from Ottomans, but failed • fought a war with Sweden and did manage to secure access to the Baltic Sea • on this new land, Peter built a new capital (called St. Petersburg), a sort of Russian version of Versailles • Pushed Russia’s borders as far east as Alaska (N. America)

  24. Catherine the Great 1729 – 1796 Prussian princess who married Czar Peter III and ascended to the throne after his death Another “enlightened despot” Expanded Russian Empire Brutally suppressed rebellions Promoted education, even for women Continued to modernize the government Heavily censored the press Promoted Orthodox Christianity, but tolerated Islam and Judaism

  25. Absolutist Monarchs • Spain: Charles V, Philip II • France: Louis XIV • Austria: Maria Theresa • Prussia: Frederick William I • Russia: Peter the Great