Periods within the Era of Absolutism



(I) Early Absolute Rule (1558-1660) : for instance, Queen Elizabeth I. of England. Royal domination, although parliament continued to exist. Her successor, James I., claimed to rule vy divine right. Early absolutism resulted from a new situation, political overweight of the monarch, but was not constitutionally secured. Under James I. and Charles I., parliament developed a constitutional countermodel, and the relation between king and parliament deteriorated into a full-scale conflict.

(II.) Absolurism a la Louis XIV. (1661-1740) : a style of government, defined by a successful role model. French absolutism under Louis XIV. profited from the economic success of Mercantilism, which enabled Louis XIV. to build the luxurious palace-capital of Versailles, establish a standing army and fight many wars. Rulers, absolute or not, all over Europe tried to imitate France, in mercantilist policies, palace construction and court life, and the establishment of standing armies.

(III.) Enlightened Absolutism (1740-1789) : monarchs who read the works of the Enlightenment philosophes and tried to implement many of their concepts. Concept of monarch as first servant of the state. Focussed on the future.

(IV.) Restauration Absolutism (1815-1848). The monarch provides law and order (ancien regime style), prevents the repetition of the chaos of the french Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Focussed on the past.

The ERA OF ABSOLUTISM usually only deals with II and III.






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This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on September 27th 2003, last revised on November 14th 2004

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