Age of Absolutism

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The Age of Absolutism
State Building & the Search for Order in the 17th Century

What is Absolutism?
Absolutism or absolute monarchy was a system in which the sovereign power or ultimate authority in the state rested in the hands of a king who claimed to rule by divine right.

Sovereignty
In the 17th century, having sovereign power consisted of the authority to:

Why Absolutism?
A response to the crises of the 16th & 17th centuries
A search for order—

As revolts, wars, and rebellions died down, the privileged classes of society remained in control of political systems.

The Theory of Absolutism : “Six Books of the Commonwealth”
Absolute supremacy of the state based on divine will & natural law (1577) : “Politics Drawn from the Very Words of Holy Scripture” defended divine right (1679) drew a distinction between absolute & arbitrary government

W. European Absolutism
France under Louis XIV (1643-1715) was the epitome of the practice of absolutism in the 17th century.
French absolutism began to develop under Henry IV as an attempt to secure his ascendancy to the throne.
It was greatly developed by under Louis XIII.

Prussia & Austria
1648:

Of these states, Prussia and Austria emerged as the strongholds of central Europe.

Brandenburg-Prussia

By the 17th century, the “H” family controlled 3 non-contiguous states--Brandenburg, W. Prussia, and E. Prussia.
Government officials were from the “junker” class--the Prussian name for the nobility.

Prussia
1st important ruler was
Formed the nation in the midst of the 30 Years War
Built an army of 40,000 men & established the “War Commissariat” which soon became the central government.
Created Prussia as a military state
Prussia finally became
Basis of Absolutism was a deal between

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