Absolutism War and the Glorious Revolution of

Absolutism affected the power + status of the European nobility depending on the country in which they lived.

In England the power of the nobility increases due to a victory in the English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution of 1658. However, in France, Louis XIVs absolutist regime decreased the powers of the noble but heightened their material status. In Russia and in Prussia, the absolutist leaders of those countries modernized their nations + the nobility underwent a change, but it retained prestige + power. Charles I considered himself to be an absolute monarch in England in the 1630s. A large portion of the parliament dislikes him because they wanted more of a say on the government and because the Protestant of the group disagreed with his Catholicism and ruling of the Anglican Church. The English Civil War crushed, + the parliament won, however, through Cromwells Protectorate and the return of the Stuarts, Charles II and James II, it was not until 1688 that the Glorious Revolution placed William + Mary of Orange on the throne.

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They signed a Bill of Rights, which gave Parliament more power, and this gave the nobles a greater influence + responsibility in the government. It also stated that new tax could not be passed w/o parliamentary consent, another example of their increased power.However in France, the absolutist regime of Louis XIV took power away from the nobles. Although the nobles were exempt from taxes, they had no responsibility or say in the government. Louis XIV and his ministers, particularly Colbert, ran the country.

He built Versailles, a beautiful palace outside of Paris for his nobles. Lined with gardens and filled with fountains + opulent architecture + decorations Versailles was a veritable playground for the nobles. There were balls, fancy clothes + huge numbers of servants, and most of the nobles incomes were spent on these luxuries. Thus, the status of the nobles was high and they were wealthy + lived an indulgent lifestyle, but they had no political power in the French government. During this same time Peter the Great sought to westernize Russia. An autocratic tsar who had absoluter power, he did not wish to share it with his royal court.

He moved the capital to St. Petersburg, and absorbed western intellectual and cultural trends. He forced all his nobles to cut of their beards, and instructed them to learn modern Western dances. Russia historically had an autocratic tsar like Peter, + the nobles have no political clout in the government. However, the nobles in Russia are huge landowners and had enormous powers over the serfs on their estates. This economic power, b/c serfs were almost like slaves, made them wealthy + prosperous. Thus, although Peter the Great rules without the input of anyone else, the nobles were westernized under his rule + enjoyed power over their serfs and economic gains.

In Prussia, a similar situation emerges. Frederick William, the Great Elector”, wanted to increase the power of Prussia. He achieved this goal by building up a hue army, one that was enormous in proportion to Prussias population. Nobles were required to serve in the army in exchange for unchecked control over the serfs on their estates. These Junkers as they were called, did not mind serving in the Prussian army for the received so much power over their serfs. Frederick William + his successors continued to centralize the power of Prussia in to their own hands, forming an absolute monarchy. The nobility (Junkers) had no real political influence in the government buy they agreeing to serve in the army in exchange for those manorial rights over their serfs.Overall, the European nobles gained different privileges and rights according to the country in which they lived.

England, with its long standing tradition of Parliamentary government, established a limited monarch after the English Civil war and a Strong parliament, which increased the political power of the nobles. Louis XIV divine right of kings absolutist rule allowed the nobles luxurious economic gain but no political privileges. Russia and Prussia, in attempts to strengthen their nations, consolidated all of the political power into the hands of autocratic rulers, and obtained the support of the nobility by allowing them unrestrained power over their serfs.

Clearly the position of the nobility entirely depended on the political and cultural traditions of the country in which they resided.


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