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The Old Regime: Absolutism & Enlightenment

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Jessica Rader

on 5 March 2013

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Transcript of The Old Regime: Absolutism & Enlightenment

The Age of Kings (1600 - 1770) The power of European monarchs increased greatly during this time period.
Most kings took control of religion in their countries, causing wars that allowed them to create large armies (which they used for future conflicts)
Nobility becomes less powerful in society

Justifications for Royal Power
Thomas Hobbes wrote that man is not naturally good; need strong leaders to keep order. Only kings could maintain this order.
Divine Right The Commercial Revolution The Commercial Revolution - a step in the transition of Europe from local economies to a global economy.

Aspects of the Commercial Revolution:
Global Trade - people produced goods for sale rather than for their own use. Trade increased between Europe & the Americas, Asia.
Mercantilism - the idea that wealth is limited, had to be gained through war or trade. Established overseas colonies to trade less costly raw materials for more expensive finished goods. Led to a series of wars between European powers.
Emergence of Free Enterprise (capitalism) - People risked money in business to make profits. New businesses developed. Led to demand for huge sums of money, leading to joint-stock companies.
Results of Commercial Revolution: Expansion of middle class, more occupations, more products to consume The Old Regime Absolutism & Enlightenment Absolutism Monarch's total control over his subjects - not limited by a constitution or a set of laws.
Usually hereditary.
His will was law, and anyone who challenged the king was punished.
Often determined the religious and economic lives of subjects; attempted to expand power.
Examples of absolute rulers: Louis XIV (France), Peter the Great (Russia), Catherine the Great (Russia) Limited Monarchy in England In England, monarchs were not fully able to establish absolute rule like in France & Russia because of the Magna Carta & the rise of Parliament.
In England's limited monarchy, power was shared between the king & Parliament.
The Road to Limited Monarchy
Tudor Monarchs - descendents of the Tudor family, including Henry VIII & Elizabeth I, created a strong monarchy
Stuart Monarchs - arose after the Tudors when James I becomes king in 1603. Believed in divine right of kings; his son Charles I attempted to establish absolutism by dissolving Parliament
English Civil War (1642 - 1649) - between the king & Parliament
Glorious Revolution (1688 - 1689) - shift of power from the monarch to Parliament, starting with William & Mary in 1689. Influences of the Glorious Revolution John Locke - challenged divine right & theories of Hobbes. Governments obtain power from the people through a social contract. Government's responsibility is to protect life, liberty, & property. People could revolt when government abused power, influencing American & French Revolutions.
Sir William Blackstone - defined rights of individuals and property rights that could not be violated. The Old Regime: Absolutism & Enlightenment Chapter 13
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