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Paths To Constitutionalism And Essay, Research Paper

Paths to Constitutionalism and Absolutism-

England and France in the Seventeenth Century

Constitutional Crisis and Settlement in Stuart England:

James I, a believer in the divine right of kings, failed to understand the importance of Parliament in governing England. He dissolved Parliament, trying to rule without it until England s involvement in the Thirty Years War made it necessary to reconvene it. But after Parliament passed the Great Protestation in 1621, James once again dissolved it. Charles I, forced by wars, called for Parliament to vote funds, which it refused to do until he signed the Petition of Right in 1628. In 1642, Parliament seized control of the Army. This started the English Civil War (1642-1649). The middle class people were the Roundheads and the Anglican clergy and nobility and peasants who backed the king were Royalists or Cavaliers. The Roundheads allied with Presbyterian Scotland; the king called on Irish Catholics for help. Oliver Cromwell, a Puritan leader of Parliament, led his New Model Army of Puritans against the Cavaliers and defeated them. Charles surrendered to the Scots, who turned him over to Parliament, but then turned about and allied with him. Cromwell defeated the Scots at the Battle of Preston, and helped get rid of the Presbyt. in Parliament Parliament then voted to behead Charles. Cromwell ruled until he died in 1658. Richard was deposed in 1660 and Charles II was proclaimed ing. The Tory and Whig parties develop. Tories are mostly nobles and conservatives that support monarchy over parliament. Whigs are mostly middle class and Puritan and favor parliament and religious toleration.

The Glorious Revolution: James II was unpopular the moment he took the throne. In 1688, important nobles invited William of Orange and Mary to take the English throne. James fled to exile in France. The new monarchs accepted the Declaration of Rights from parliament. The Glorious Revolution increased Parliament s power over the monarchy.

Rise of Absolute Monarchy in France:

Henry of Navarre takes over the French throne as Henry IV. He issued the Edict of Nantes, which granted religious tolerance to Huguenots. Sully, Henry s finance minister, reformed tax collection, stimulated trade and industry, and improved transportation. These changes led to increased power of the monarchy. The government suffered from corruption and mismanagement under Louis XIII. He appointed Richelieu as Prime Minister. Richelieu centralized the gov taking measured to increase the tax base, strengthening the military, and instituting the intendant system, which weakened the nobility. His policies strengthened absolutism. Louis XIV, taking the throne at age 4, had Mazarin as his regent. Mazarin protected Louis from the Frondeurs (nobles) who sought to limit the powers of the monarch and decentralize the gov. When Mazarin died, Louis declared himself his own Prime Minister (and said L etat, c est moi ). divine right theory Jean Baptiste Colbert revitalized trade as Louis finance minister by getting rid of internal tariffs and creating free trade zones. France also developed the world s first modern army .(which should of helped in all these wars) The War of Devolution (1667-68): France s unsuccessful attempt to take Spanish Netherlands .(I guess not) but they get revenge in the Invasion of the Dutch United Provinces . Most of Louis ambitions were frustrated by the League of Augsburg (Holland, Spain, HRE, England). In the war of Spanish Succession, Louis threatened to upset the Balance of Power by laying claim to the Spanish throne for his Grandson, Philip of Anjou. The Grand Alliance fought to prevent this. The Treaty of Utrecht restored the balance of power by allowing Philip to remain on the Spanish throne as long as France and Spain were never ruled by the same monarch. France enjoyed a Golden Age of culture under the Sun King but his many wars (and his 100 mill. Palace at Versailles) left France in debt. He also suppressed religious dissent, outlawing Jansenism, revoking the Edict of Nantes. But all in all, the central government developed during his time was efficient.


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