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Outline 1-Absolutism

by: Madeline Moran

Outline 1-Absolutism History 102

Madeline Moran

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These notes cover the first main topic learned in this course
Modern Civilizations
Ana Kapeluz-Poppi
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Madeline Moran on Wednesday April 13, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to History 102 at University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh taught by Ana Kapeluz-Poppi in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 6 views. For similar materials see Modern Civilizations in History at University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh.


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Date Created: 04/13/16
Outline # 1 – WHAT IS THE WEST and ABSOLUTISM and STATE BUILDING Topics in this outline 1) WHAT IS THE WEST: * geographical definition * ideological definition - Western values (American Values: small family, individualism, industrial development, tech. advancement, democratic process, freedom of speech, religion, assembly, women’s rights and gender issues.) -Nation-states - military revolution - absolutist states Geographically the west = Europe Europe is a tiny part of the world Europe = a ‘peninsula’ of Asia The Ural Mountains separate Europe and Asia Ideologically, the west is very important because modern values developed in the west Western values One main feature of the west in modern times: the nation-state Nation-State based on: 1) nationalist feelings 2) a centralized government Nationalism = a) shared land → place of birth b) shared identity i. Culture (incl. language) ii. Shared traditions iii. Sense of shared well-being iv. Ethnicity v. Ideological vi. Religious Centralized government = the state Earlier (until c. 1500s): people’s sense of ‘nationality’ = their city or a rural village Since the 16 century → some kings & queens expanded their realms: as a result the idea of nation also expanded (i.e. because kings expand their own land) For instance, Spain, Portugal, and France. The monarchs who tried to expand their control sought to: 1) enlarge their territories (= create a nation) 2) concentrate political power (= organize a central state) Local lords (feudal nobles) → opposed monarchs’ desire to gain territorial and political power Feudal lords enjoyed local political, economic, and military power and rejected the monarchs’ expansionist efforts Often, wars between kings and lords ensued In many cases: still medieval armies = 1) no standing armies 2) nobles did most of the fighting 3) peasants recruited on a temporary basis The monarchs who defeated the lords’ opposition → increased their power and built ‘absolutist regimes’ Absolutism = a political system where one person is in complete control (He/She doesn’t share power) Why? What helped the monarch’s territorial expansion and political centralization? The Military Revolution = changes in 1) military technology; 2) military organization 1) Changes in military technology = improvements in available weapons At this time → muzzle-loaded firearms Between 15 and 17 century: harquebus Because harquebus were very inefficient, pikes still the main weapon In the 17 century: flintlocks. Flintlocks are still cumbersome and slow to load but nonetheless, as flintlocks use became more frequent = infantry Particularly after being fitted w/ a bayonet Infantrymen carrying flintlocks needed to drill constantly = standing armies 2) New military organization = standing armies Standing armies → expensive = only the most powerful lords were able to support them Powerful lords (usually with the title of ‘kings’) → succeeded over smaller, weaker lords 2) State Centralization and Absolutism in France: * Henry IV 2 * Louis XIII * Louis XIV Henry IV – Bourbon dynasty- (1589-1610) started state centralization in France Henry IV’s first goal → to increase revenues 1) Enforced tax collection 2) Created a system to improve roads 3) Created state monopolies on: * gunpowder * salt extraction * mining He also needed efficient, loyal state officers 4) reorganized the state administration (bureaucracy) 5) created the nobility of the robe Henry IV’s revenues grew significantly and as a result, he became increasingly powerful = he also ignored the old, feudal lords (nobility of the sword) Henry IV ruled over 1) an absolutist state 2) a mercantilist economy 1) Absolutism = the monarch holds all power 2) Mercantilism is both an economic theory and a policy agenda MERCANTILISTS BELIEVED THAT: a) world economy = ‘zero-sum game’ b) bullion = wealth c) state needs to protect the ec. (‘Protectionism’) d) powerful nations enjoy positive balance of trade e) powerful nations own colonies The next kings followed and intensified Henry IV’s policies: Louis XIII (1610-1643) Louis XIV (1638-1675) 3 As a result, during Louis XIII’s rule the old nobility lost much of its power but when Louis XIII died the old nobility rebelled against the central state’s power = against Louis XIII’s successor, Louis XIV The Fronde the aristocratic rebellion threatened the life of Louis XIV and his mother The king’s party defeated the rebellion and Louis XIV returned to Paris and Louis XIV ruled between 1638 and 1715 But he never forgot the rebellion and never trusted Paris and its people Thus, he moved his court from Paris to Versailles Palace of Versailles A luxurious, symmetrical compound With magnificent interiors The Sun King Ceremonial at Versailles The Royal Theatre: Molière Scientific development: the Academy of Science experiments Louis XIV’s absolutist rule was legitimize by the theory of the “Divine Right of Kings” Arbitrary rule and oppression Versailles: the monarchs’ social and geographical isolation Economically and internationally, Louis XIV : ambivalent Jean B. Colbert → mercantilist Colonial expansion and thus, a navy Trading companies (monopolies) Marquis de Louvois: continental expansion & and army 4


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