State building and the search for order in the 17th century summary



State building and the search for order in the 17th century summary


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State building and the search for order in the 17th century summary


1648 – 1690

State Building and the Search for Order


- Rulers justified the extension of state authority by cultivating a powerful public image (a tactic used by Augustus et al) and employing the argument of divine right.


- The threat of disorder during/after the wars of religion led to the development of Absolutism and Constitutionalism


- Absolutism: a single ruler has supreme authority over all matters of state

                        (France, central and eastern Europe)

- Constitutionalism: the ruler cooperates with parliaments of elected representatives

                        (Poland-Lithuania, England, English colonies in America, Dutch Republic)


- Seventeenth-century states faced challenges like competition with rival nations

                                                                             economic hardship from the Thirty Years’ War


                                                                             finding a new explanation for political authority

                                                                             (not dependent on religion)


- The poor were seen as one of the primary sources of the disorder


Louis XIV as a Model of Absolutism


- Quote to Remember:  “L’etat, c’est moi” = “I am the sate”

                                     (LouisXIV, exemplifying absolutism)


- France under Louis XIV controlled Europe’s largest army s


- The Fronde: series of revolts in France between 1648 and 1653, beggining when Cardinal Mazarin and Anne of Austria refused to grant constitutional power to the high courts, called parlements


- Authors Louis de Rouvroy (duke of Saint-Simon) and Madame de Lafayette documented the development of royal court culture under Louis XIV


- In an absolutist system, art became a political tool for circulating propaganda (a tactic used by Augustus et al).


- As the self-proclaimed Sun King, Louis XIV commissioned images of the god Apollo


- Louis XIV introduced the new aristocratic values of order and self-control.


- Versailles was built under the rule of Louis XIV


- Françoise d’Aubigné, the Marquise de Maintenon, was the mistress (and later the wife) of Louis XIV.  She influenced him to advocate Catholicism in his state policy.


- Quote to Remember:  “The first idea of power which exists among men is that of the paternal power.”

                                     (Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet, speaking about the role of kings, but the idea has                                                   broader applications.)


- The Jansenists: a Catholic sect founded by Cornelius Jansen that incorporated some Protestant ideas/characteristics


- Blaise Pascal, the mathematician famous for what we now call Pascal’s Triangle, was a Jansenist.


- Louis XIV pursued religious reform by emphasizing Church doctrines that concerned obedience to authority

                                                                (religion as a tool of absolutism)

                                                                revoking the Edict of Nantes

                                                                refusing to tolerate Jansenists and Calvinists

                                                                                   and therefore

                                                                providing Protestant neighbors with a motive to attack


- Jean-Baptiste Colbert rose through Louis XIV’s bureaucracy to became controller-general


- Mercantilism: doctrine established by Colbert stating that the government should increase national wealth by any possible means.


- Mercantilism resulted in overseas trading companies

                                         monopoly in the manufacturing industries

                                         standardized production

                                         regular government inspections

                                          guilds, in which apprentices could be trained by masters

                                         higher taxes (rates doubled during the reign of Louis XIV)


                                         government-subsidized shipbuilding


- Mercantilists policy served two purposes: supplying France with resources and establishing France’s dominance in the international markets


- The rest of Europe soon adopted mercantilism, too.


- French Colonialism reflected both Mercantilism (economic motive)


                                                        Competition with England and the Dutch Republic (political motive)


- The Iroquois frequently interfered with the French fur trade.


- Important people in the French new world include  Louis Jolliet (fur trader)

                                                                                  Jacques Marquette (Jesuit missionary)


                                                                                  Sieur de La Salle (explorer)


- Louis XIV’s main foreign policy goal was to extend French influence in Europe.  s


- Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle:  peace between France, England, Spain, Sweden, and the Dutch Republic after Louis XIV’s first major war.  France gained some small territories in the Spanish Netherlands.


- Every state in seventeenth century Europe was seeking new territory.  War was inevitable.


-  Louis XIV = “Christian Turk” because of his expansionist, imperialist philosophy.


- The Treaty of Nijmegen: a second peace treaty in which France gained slightly more territory, including Franche-Comté on the eastern border


- Peace of Rijwijsk: established a stalemate between France and England, Spain, Sweden, the Dutch Republic, the Austrian emperor, and a few German princes.  Louis XIV returned most captured territories but kept Strasbourg.  Lorraine became an on-going subject of dispute.


- Unlike most rulers, Louis XIV (and later Napoleon) accompanied his troops to battle


- Absolutism and warfare became connected

(the army’s successes legitimized the government, and the government raised funds to maintain the army).


Absolutism in Central and Eastern Europe




- Frederick William of Hohenzollern, the Great Elector of Brandenburg-Prussia, reconstructed/reunited the state.


- It was agreed that Frederick William could tax the serfs on the Junkers’ estates


                            The Junkers were exempt from taxes themselves and gained full control over their serfs.


- Military needs took priority (again, connection between absolutism and warfare)


- Frederick William organized one of the first state postal systems in Europe


- Frederick William was Calvinist and offered immigration to Huguenots after the Edict of Nantes was repealed.


- Frederick I, son of Frederick William, was named King of Prussia by HRE Leopold I and continued the absolutist tradition.




- Sweden was the most dominant power in northern Europe during/after the Thirty Years’ War s


- Queen Christina (daughter of King Gustavus Adolphus) relinquished authority to the nobility.


- When she abdicated to become a Catholic, Sweden became an absolutist state for a short time.


- Sweden pursued a less absolute form of absolutism, just allowing the monarch full control of military ventures.


Austrian Hapsburgs                                                                                                                                                        


- HRE Leopold I was an Austrian Hapsburg, as were all HREs since 1438.


- The Thirty Years’ War weakened the HRE’s international dominance.


- Leopold I established a standing army in place of the mercenaries he hired during the Thirty Years’ War


                   cultivated a new nobility of loyal Catholics.

- Leopold I convened a parliament called the Hungarian Diet to win support from the Hugarian nobility.


- Treaty of Karlowitz: the Hapsburgs gain control of Hungary from the Ottomans in 1699


- In resettling Hungary with foreigners, the Hapsburgs caused the nationalist conflicts that began in the 19-20 c.




- Tsar Alexi transfigured Russia into an absolutist state.


-  The Assembly of the Land was a conference of nobles to determine a new social hierarchy.


- The new social hierarchy had two classes: Serfs (combining slaves and free peasants)


                                                                    Nobles (subordinate to Tsar, required to serve in army)


- Stenka Razin, a Cossack (bandit), led an unsuccessful peasant rebellion in the south and became the subject of popular legend.


- Absolutism and enforcement of serfdom became parallel processes.


- Tsar Alexi increased the size of the army (again, connection between absolutism and warfare)


- Russian Orthodox church acknowledged the tsar as a representative of God.


- The Old Believers: religious group who sought to keep Russian religion different/separate from Byzantine religion.


- Under Tsar Alexi, Russia began to pursue Western influences (a future source of conflict).




- The Deluge: twenty-year revolt against the king led by Ukrainian Cossacks


- With the help of the Ukrainian Cossacks, Russia gained control of Ukraine at the end of the Russo-Polish War.


- Foreign powers (e.g. Sweden, Brandenburg-Prussia, and Transylania) sent troops to Poland-Lithuania to claim territory.


- One-third of the Polish population died, and Jewish/Protestant communities lost their religious freedom. s


- Jan Sobieski failed to establish a strong monarchy in the style of Louis XIV.


- The Sejm: parliament of nobles in which each member had veto power, representing an unsuccessful foray into constitutionalism


- Quote to remember: “Everybody who is stronger thinks to have the right to oppress the weaker.”

            (unknown Croat visitor to Poland-Lithuania; true of government in general)


Constitutionalism in Western Europe




- Advantages of the English Monarchy: immune to effects of Thirty Years’ War

                                                             governing a small, largely homogenous population


                                                             very few local institutions to interfere with the monarchy


- In spite of these advantages, the English monarch failed to impose absolutism.


- George Villiers:  duke of Buckingham, a favorite of James I who encouraged the king to antagonize parliament


English Civil War of 1642-1646 = last great war of religion = first modern revolution


Political Causes                                                              Religious Causes


Royalists = Cavaliers         vs.    Parliamentary forces = Roundheads

- Book of Common Prayer: prayer book advocated by the royalists and opposed by the Puritans


- New Model Army:  reorganization of parliamentary troops led by Oliver Cromwell; victorious over Charles I


- Levellers: soldiers from the New Model Army who sought to level social differences.


- The different divisions of Puritanism:  Presbyterians (favor a Calvinist, centralized church)

                                                                                     in control of Parliament

                                                              Independents (favor decentralized, autonomous congregations)

                                                                                    in control of army

                                                              Baptists (favor adult baptism, so as to choose one’s own church)

                                                              Quakers (favor social equality, “quaking” during religious experiences)

                                                              Diggers (favor rural communism)

                                                              Seekers and Ranters (questioned many aspects of society/belief)


- All sects believed in equality and individual religious inspiration.


- Charles I was tried and executed by the Rump Parliament, a group of Independent parliament members after Presbyterian parliament members were ousted.


- Cromwell extended state power through reconquering Scotland and Ireland

                                                                 pursuing Mercantilism

                                                                 fighting the Dutch at sea

                                                                 imposing some religious intolerance (against Catholics and Anglicans)

                                                                 increasing taxes

                                                                                  and, ultimately,

                                                                 disbanding the Rump Parliament in a coup d’etat


- The Great Fire of London was commonly attributed to divine punishment after the eents of the 1640s-1650s, demonstrating that complete secularization had not yet been achieved.


The Glorious Revolution of 1688

Parliament                                              vs.                                           Monarchy



- Only Protestants received freedom of worship under the Toleration Act of 1689 in England.


the Torries: faction of parliament that favored restoring a strong, hereditary monarchy


                                                                           making the Anglican Church more Catholic-esque


- the Whigs: faction of parliament that favored establishing the Parliament as superior to the monarchy


                                                                         tolerating dissent within Protestantism



Dutch Republic                                                                                                                                                   

- Similarities between England and the Dutch republic:  emphasis on commerce (especially maritime trade)


                                                                                       un-absolutist system of government


Regents were rich merchants who governed the provinces and selected the stadholder, the highest executive position (like a president, not a king).


- The stadholder was usually from the House of Orange.


- The Dutch Republic = “Europe’s financial capital”


- The Dutch People = “most prosperous and best-educated people in Europe”; “the highest standard of living” s


- Because the increased prosperity eliminated the need for women to work, female and male roles/expectations became more distinct (a precedent for what would later happen in Europe and America).


- Benedict Spinoza was a Jewish philosopher who took refuge in the Dutch Republic when his attempts to intertwine science and religion displeased his synagogue.


New World                                                                                                                                                           

- Spain and Portugal set the precedent for slave trading followed by England and France


- Slavery became a defined institution of inherited status applied only to blacks.


- Louis XIV sought to prevent non-Catholics from owning slaves, another example of religious intolerance long after the wars of religion.


- Catholicism and Protestantism both sanctioned the slave trade.


- The Dutch West India Company was the most successful company in the slave trade. s


- The slave trade increased because of the improvement of the Europeans’ muskets

                                                            the higher prices for slaves (making Africans more willing to sell)

                                                            the increased size of African armies


                                                            the African’s acquisition of muskets for use in fighting and capturing.


- The new Atlantic economy was based on slavery.


- The English colonies conceptualized representative government with a governor and a two-house legislature (which has obvious parallels to our U.S. federal system).


- Control over the colonies shifted from the monarchs to the local elites.


- Metacomet was a Native American who led an alliance of tribes in an unsuccessful attack against the Europeans. 


The Search for Order in Elite and Popular Culture


- Constitutional and Absolutist governments both sought to profit from the slave trade.


- Philosophers and rulers began to debate the meaning and limitations of freedom.


- Thomas Hobbes was an English royalist who believed that government (individual or group) should have absolute authority.  No dissent should be tolerated.  Personal liberty should be sacrificed to maintain the security of the group.


- Hobbes became unpopular with both supporters of monarchy and supporters of Parliament.  He shares Machiavelli’s reputation as a cynic.


- John Locke was an English physician and secretary who sought refuge in the Dutch Republic.  He refuted the notion of divine right and believed that government has no purpose beyond protecting life, liberty, and property.


-  In contrast with Hobbes’ cynicism, Locke was optimistic about human nature and espoused the idea that “all men are created equal.”


- Both Hobbes and Locke both believed that rulers derived their power from a social contract with the populace.


- Isaac Newton was an English (devoutly Anglican) scientist who made important contributions to modern physics, astronomy, and optics.


- Like Renee Descartes, Newton believed science has the ability to prove the existence of God.


- Science became a vehicle for glorifying the state (in the same manner that government used the arts).  Ruler opened universities and conducted experiments to demonstrate their intellect and technological advancement.


- The French government became most involved in scientific pursuits (seen as an extension of mercantilism).  s


- The Royal Academy of Sciences and the English Royal Society promoted scientific research in France and England, respectively.


- Science became associated with social progress.


- Margaret Cavendish was a rare example of a woman who attended and commented on scientific events in seventeenth century England.


- John Milton was a Puritan poet in England who stressed individual liberty (e.g. freedom of the press).


- Baroque art combined religious and political motives.


- Gian Lorenzo Bernini was a baroque architect and sculptor who became the official artist of the papacy.


- Classicism eliminated the dramatic emotion of baroque art and returned to the standards of antiquity.


- French classical painters included Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain.


- Maria Sibylla Merian was a German scholar and later a Labadist who painted highly accurate still-life images.


- The Labadists: inhabitants of a colony in Friesland who rejected the traditional notions of marriage; named after their founder, Jean de Labadie.


- “The art of pleasing” required that men and women master foreign languages and dancing while acquiring a taste for music and dress.


- Jean-baptiste Poquelin, alias Moliere, demonstrated in his plays the desire of the middle class to emulate the nobility.


- Emerging women authors (who frequently published anonymously) included Madame de Lafayette (or Marie-Madeleine de La Vergne), Hannah Wooley, Francois Poulain de la Barre, and Aphra Behn.


- Popular culture was comprised of three main features: farming or working in a professional trade

                                                                                      entertainment (fairs, dances)


                                                                                      religion, which affected all aspects of life


- The seventeenth century further separated popular and elite culture.


- Catholics and Protestants began missions to counter superstitious beliefs in the countryside by limiting feast days, eliminating animal sacrifices, and offering catechism is the vernacular.


- The poor were now seen as indolent, misinformed, and dangerous.  Previously, they had been pitied and sometimes idealized in the Bible for their seemingly Christian anti-materialism.


- Confraternities: religious associations of socio-economically elite women that embarked on various projects to reform the poor.


- If indolence was the cause of poverty, then discipline was the solution.


- Louis XIV established hospitals in every city.  Hospitals became shelters for social undesirables.


- All seventeenth-century states became more involved in the lives of individual citizens (usually more restrictive of individual liberties.)


- The seventeenth century saw the successful establishment of stable, orderly, powerful states.


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