Absolutism within the 17th century

It is said that Louis XIV proclaimed “I am the state!” Whether or not he actually mentioned it’s debatable, however the meaning of such a statement is clear. Through the course of the seventeenth Century various regimes across Europe began to model their states of off the very theme of “I am the state,”; that is, the monarch personified and had absolute management over his nation. Prior to the seventeenth Century such absolute control precluded this absolutism. By the time of the seventeenth Century, however, the conditions were in place for monarchs to take absolute management to form their nations.

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The conditions and forces that made absolutism a fascinating form of authorities had been the necessity of centralized management, the political instability of the time, and the rise of single sovereignty over a country.

Before one goes into what causes states to adopt absolutism, one must understand it. Absolutism is defined as a type of government where “sovereignty is embodied in the particular person of the ruler.

” The Monarch felt that he had a Divine Right, that’s he was responsible to only God, and though he may respect the natural legislation of the place he governed, generally the Monarch attempted to put his realm underneath absolute management. Measures included elimination of certain freedoms, centralization of power, and the creation of a forms loyal to the Monarch to help oversee the nation. Through these measures, the Monarch was able to control the the Aristocracy that always threatened. The Monarch turned increasingly more highly effective as he or she began to claim power and institute absolutism.

The first reason why absolutism appeared to be a fascinating authorities type was the need of centralized power. War was a continuing risk to a nation and it’s folks. In a country divided into kingdoms and realms ruled by particular person nobles and dukes, mobilization for war was a tough and prolonged task. To better put together a state for warfare a country wanted a single ruler with the absolute energy. Another trigger was the necessity for effectively raising revenue. A monarch needed absolute management to successfully elevate income for the cost of sustaining the state. The nation-state became more and more costly to run throughout this time due to the growing frequency of wars, the costs of commerce and exploration, and to support the burgeoning bureaucracy.

A country divided and dominated by many alternative people would be unable to lift sufficient revenue. On the opposite hand, a rustic ruled a by a single strong ruler might more simply management and manage funds. In addition, because of the character of the time, warfare and politics became very private. Monarchs considered international locations an extension of themselves, as exemplified by Louis XIV’s supposed comment “I am the state!” To achieve this, Monarchs effectively eliminated all competitors to their energy, that’s the nobles and the church. In the period of the Post-Reformation, it was all too simple for Monarchs to seize energy from church and nobility, and this further contributed to their power.

Another force at play that made absolutism seem desirable was the political instability of the time, each internal and exterior. France is a paragon instance for this. There had been many peasant revolts between 1624 and 1648, and “Nobles and Parlements took advantage of peasant revolts and the Regency to protest their loss of ancient privileges and levels of taxation. Barricades arrange in Paris and the mob burst into the King’s bedroom.” King Louis XIII was powerless to cease these insurrections against his rule. Louis XIV soon came to power, and started to assert his royal authority. He put down these peasant revolts, reorganized authorities, and placed himself at its head. Loyal advisors have been put in, and a take care of nobility which surrendered their authority in relation to the Crown in return for authority over their lands.

In addition, the size of the navy increased, and France began to have interaction in wars to assist clear up domestic issues. These wars had been typically successful and contributed to an even higher progress in Royal authority. The successes of Louis XIV encouraged different European Monarchs to follow his example. The issues of instability gave the impression to be solely capable of mounted with a gentle, but iron fist. Absolutism seemed to offer this, as the king would have authority to maintain control without interference from a constitution or a legislation making body. Finally, the political instability forced Monarchs to take measures that otherwise they’d not needed to take, i.e. levying heavy taxes. When the benefits of those measures got here in, Monarchs typically looked beyond their ideals to permanently set up absolutism. To sum up, the fundamental political instability of the 17th Century, i.e. wars, peasant revolts, and so forth. paved the best way for Monarchs seizing absolute control to stabilize their nations.


The last trigger for absolutism was the rise of single sovereignty over a country. In the instances of feudalism, multiple particular person might have sovereignty over an area of a rustic. Dukes, Counts, and others might claim title to a land in addition to the Monarch’s. However the decline of feudalism introduced an finish to this. Kings began to say that there could be just one sovereign to a land, and that was the King. Many new political and legal theories supported the Monarch’s absolute control over land. Jacques-Benigne Bossuet (1627-1704) tailored the medieval idea of kingship in his theory of the Divine Right of Kings, which argued that the king ruled completely by will of God, and that to oppose the king in impact constituted rebellion against God.

Although people should be excluded from energy, God’s function in instituting absolute monarchy was to guard and information society.” Coming from an ethical approach, Thomas Hobbes argued that a powerful ruler might best management and shield a society. Further justifying absolutism, Monarchs identified that it appeared to end Europe’s spiritual wars and had introduced social and political peace. King Louis XIV believed that such absolute rule over a people was the obligation of a Monarch, and anything was failing the folks. Essentially, Monarchs based mostly their absolute sovereignty on moral and political justifications.

In conclusion, the situations of the seventeenth Century made Absolutism appear to be a fascinating alternative for government, and rightly so. Following the instance of France, many nations tried to centralize energy. Yet, not all had been to be as profitable as France. For instance, Oliver Cromwell instituted a dictatorship with many absolutist qualities, however this failed as soon as he died. But it’s difficult to disclaim that absolutism was a strong pressure within the seventeenth Century. Absolutism may seem harsh to folks of the twenty first Century, but for the many of those who experienced it, it was a minimum of beneficial. The political instability of the time, the need to centralize, and the rising sovereignty of Monarchs all were driving forces in making Absolutism in style and useful. Despite its issues, absolutism finally led Europe down the right path.