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Its a political system in witch a ruler holds total power. It is a response to the crises of the 17th Century in an effort to seek more stability by increasing the power of the monarch
His reign has long been regarded as the best example of the practice of Absolutism in the 17th century. The court of Louis XIV was imitated throughout Europe. Came to power at the age of 4. His government was run by Cardinal Mazarin, who was his chief minister. The nobles revolted against Mazarin and he crushed them, leading many to believe that the best hope for stability is to have a strong monarch..
Louis XIV took control upon Mazarin's death. He established a strict routine from which he seldom deviated. He also fostered the myth of himself as Sun King-- the source of light for all his people.
A key to his power was to control the central policy making machinery of government. He established a royal court at Versailles. It served 3 purposes: 1) Personal household of the King, 2) the chief offices of the state were located there so Louis could watch over them and 3) it was a place where powerful subjects came to find favor and offices for themselves. He wanted to control everything so he took nobles and princes out of the royal council and made them come to his court to keep them busy and out of politics. Louis had complete control over foreign policy, the church and taxes.
Two other points:
1) He often bribled local officials to ensure that his policies were carried out.
2) He wanted an anti-Protestant policy and got it by destroying Huguenot churches and closed down their schools, causing 200,000 to flee to England, the United Provinces and the German States
The cost of building palaces, maintaining court and fighting wars made finances a crucial issue for Louis XIV. He had an able controller general of finances, Jean Baptiste Colbert. Colbert followed the principle of mercantilism, which meant that they needed to have an economy based on a large supply of gold & silver. Colbert was modern economist who worked to expand and strengthen France's economy. Louis XIV fought 4 wars and gained territory and had direct influence in Spain.
In 1715, the Sun King died. He left France deep in debt and with many enemies. On his death bed, he was remorseful when told his successor, his 5 year old great grandson, "soon you will be the king of a great kingdom., try to remain at Peace, I loved war too much. Do not follow me in that or in overspending...lighten you people's burden as soon as possible and do not do what I have had the misfortune not to do myself."
Chief minister of Louis XIII, who strengthened the power of the monarchy by taking away the Huguenot's political and military rights, but preserved their military rights. Set up a network of spies to uncover plots by nobles against the government. He crushed the conspiracies and executed the conspirators.
Frederick William the Great Elector
Laid the foundation for the Prussian state. Realizing that Prussia was a small open territory without natural frontiers for a defense, he built a large and efficient standing army of 40,000 men that made theri army the 4th largest in Europe. To maintian the army and oversee growth, he established the General War Commissariat which levied taxes for the army. The GWC became the chief instrument to govern the state of Prussia. His son became King Frederick I.
Why A-H never became centralized, absolutist state: It was made up of so many different national groups. It was a collection of territories held together by the Hapsburg emperor, who was also archduke of Austria, King of Bohemia and King of Hungary. Each of those areas had its own laws and political life.. No common sentiment ties the regions together.
First Russian ruler to take the title of czar. He expanded Russia eastward. He crushed the power of Russian nobility, know as the Boyars. He was know as Ivan the Terrible because of his ruthless deeds. Among them: stabbing his own son to death in a heated argumennt. When his dynasty ended in 1598, a period of anarchy known as the "time of troubles" followed. It didn't end until the Zemsky Sobor or national assembly chose Michael Romanov as the new caesar or czar.
He ended the "time of troubles" in 1613 when the the Zemsky Sobor or national assembly chose him to lead. The Romanov dynasty lasted until 1917.
Peter the Great
Was a member of the Romanov dynasty who became czar in 1689. Peter was an absolutist monarch who claimed the divine right to rule.
When he returned from a trip to the West, he was determined to westernize or europeanize Russia, especially in the area of technology.He needed this modernization to build up the army and navy. Russia became a great military power. By his death in 1725, Russia was an important European state.
Peter reorganized the army, employing Russians and Europeans as officiers, and drafted peasants for 25 year stints of service to build a standing army of 210,000. Peter formed the first Russian navy.
Peter divided Russia into provinces to make ruling it easier. and effective. He wanted to create a police state by which he meant a well ordered community governed by law. However, there was much corruption. Peter's rule created an atmosphere of fear that prevented his hope for a sense of civic duty.
Why Peter wanted to create a port city:
Wanted to "open a window to the West" meaning a port with ready access to Europe. This could be achieved only on the Baltic Sea. At that time, the Baltic was controlled by Sweden, the most important power in Northern Europe. A long and hard fought war with Sweden enabled Peter to acquire the coastal lands he sought. In 1703, he began the construction of St. Petersburg. It was finished in Peter's lifetime and remained the Russian capital until 1918.
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