Absolute Monarchy Comparison
The three absolute monarchs that are being compared are Philip II of Spain, Queen Elizabeth I of England, and Louis XIV of France. There are many things that are similar and many that are different in their rules. It is valuable to find parallels in their rules and compare mistakes and successes made every one of these monarchs in the three most important areas of government. The three areas of rule that are being specifically looked at are their foreign policy, their religious policy, and the economic concerns and decisions of their respective rules. Each one of these areas are intertwined and effect each other largely so looking for similarities is imperative for learning.
The first area, and the area that affected the monarchs decisions in other areas the most, was religion. While Philip II and Louis XIV were both catholic, Queen Elizabeth was protestant, and were Philip II and Louis XIV were both very strict in enforcing a state religion Queen Elizabeth was much more lax. Because of their religious policy both Philip II’s and Louis XIV’s economy was irrevocably influenced. Philip II lack of religious tolerance combined with constant suspicion of the Marranos and the Moriscos both had immense effects on his economy. The constant support of the inquisitions tactics and suspicion caused the Moriscos to revolt. The Moriscos were defeated and expelled from the country. The animosity towards the Protestants caused a revolt by the Dutch and a humiliating defeat dealt to the Spanish Armada by the English Navy. The defeat of the Armada marked the decline of Spain’s naval power while the Dutch revolt marked the start of both English and Dutch “Sea Dogs” reign of terror on Spanish ships. Louis XIV was also apposed to Protestants and this also had devastating affects on his country. In sixteen-eighty-five the Edict of Nantes was repealed. This meant the Huguenots would no longer be able to practice their Protestant religion in France. This resulted in two hundred thousand Huguenots migrating out of the country. Among these people were skilled workman, military leaders, and prosperous merchants. This deprived the economy of a massive amount of jobs. As opposed to the last two monarchs Queen Elizabeth was very tolerant, although she did kill Queen Mary of the Scots because of her Catholic faith. In regards to religion Philip II and Louis XIV were very similar, but Louis XIV seemed to be much less extreme.
The second area was the economy. Philip II’s wars drained Spain’s monetary supply which forced him to borrow from other countries. He also suffered from inflation caused by the supply of precious metals that were streaming in from his oversea empire. Because of these debts coupled with inflation taxes were raised sharply on the middle class which caused many skilled Muslims and Jews to leave the country. Louis XIV also amassed a large dept by the end of his rule. He spent large amounts of money on salaries for the nobles, the War of Spanish Succession, and also on the arts. He also sparred the noble, clergy, and various other government officials from taxation. This left a huge burden on the lower class that was forced to pay taxes. Queen Elizabeth’s kingdom was badly in dept when she inherited it and badly in dept when she died. She spent lavishly in when it came to her court, but was very frugal in other matters. She tightly controlled all work by passing the Statutes of Apprentices which required everyone to work where they were born. She also passed the poor laws which required each area to take care of their poor and homeless. Every one of these three monarchs amassed large amounts of dept throughout their time as the ruling monarch.
The third area was foreign policy. Philip II fought in his own country, but also against the English and the Ottoman Turks. While he defeated the Turks the English navy obliterated his armada. Louis XIV fought in the War of the Spanish Succession which lasted twelve years. Peace was reached in seventeen thirteen when the Treaty of Utrecht was signed. The treaty made sure that Spain and France never be united under the same crown, it also gave England a trade agreement with Spain and forced France to give up Acadia. Queen Elizabeth made her country a balancing country to make sure no one country got to powerful. She also fought the Spanish Armada.