History 7B Kier
T Th 8:10-9:30
The Age of Absolutism in Europe began with the rise of national legislation and civil bureaucracies that slowly eroded local power and self-government. The rise of absolute monarchies differed from country to country, but the general consensus is that the age began with the reign of Louis XIV and ended with the French Revolution. The Age of Absolutism, when Monarchies were at the height of their power, brought massive changes to the social, political, military and economic institutions in Europe. The Age of Absolutism was based upon the theory of the Divine Right of Kings, which is a religious and political policy that states that a ruling monarch is not subject to earthly authority, and his right to rule is derived directly from the will of God. The King’s power is absolute and he is not subject to the will of the people, the aristocracy, or the church, and any opposition or attempts to limit his power is contrary to the will of God and is considered to be treason. The Divine Right of Kings justified a king’s absolute authority in all matters spiritual and political and was embraced and supported by various Kings, such as King Louis XIV of France and King James I of England. King Louis XIV is credited with pronouncing that the King and the State were one and the same. In order to achieve this stability, absolutists asserted that the national government should be solely in the hands of the monarch. The administration of these functions required the formation of a national civil bureaucracy whose officials were answerable only to the king. This bureaucracy had to stand against the most powerful institutional forces opposed to the king: the nobility, the church, representative and legislative bodies. So the absolutists faced a problem. In order to centralize the state, the government had to somehow take political authority out of the hands of the nobility and others who were not...