AP European History_ Absolutism vs. Constitutionalism.pdf -...

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Unit 3: Absolutism vs. Constitutionalism Western Absolutism: Louis XIV Characterizing Absolute Rule Absolute states had strong dynasties, which through marriage, warfare, etc, added to their dynastic domains and prestige Nobles accept monarchical rule for privileges like land, status, and control over peasants Absolute states in Central/Eastern Europe, Prussia, Austria, and Russia, had similar social structures Nobles cooperated with monarchy, and peasants lost their rights These states had no representative institutions and few towns of significant importance to stand in the way of absolute rule Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania was an exception It was created via the Union of Lublin The nobility, szlachta, limited the king’s authority due to their dominance in Parliament, the Sejm The parliamentary system protected the personal freedom of the citizens of the monarchy Absolute monarchies created unprecedented concentration of governing power Assemblies rarely met during this time Monarchs and Nobles The relationship between the nobles and monarch determined the specific character of absolutism in that state Monarchs often negotiated compromises with monarchs Nobles frightened by previous turmoil were now more willing to serve as royal officials and military commanders “Tables of ranks” divided into nobles into ranks, and it was used to make it clear that noble privileges were bestowed by monarchs These measures helped the king maintain the loyalty of the nobles The centralization of authority in Eastern Europe left nobles with more autonomy compared to their western counterparts They had opportunities to gain wealth Peasants lost more land and rights, especially in Russia Economic decline in 17th century made life even harder for peasants Absolutism in the Ottoman Empire was even more despotic Expanding State Structures
Absolute monarchs expanded their authority by expanding the structure of the state Administration, taxation, and conscription became part of the structure Government positions increased, and more nobles were chosen for their influence, rather than competence Commoners also filled these positions so monarchs could collect vital info As a result of this structure, tax revenues tripled Monopolies were sold on valuable commodities and taxes were imposed on trading towns to raise money Hereditary offices were sold and monarchs easily found wealthy families as a source of loans Absolutism and Warfare Increased revenue allowed rulers to maintain armies, forts, and wage wars The standing army was a principal characteristic of an absolute ruler They no longer had to rely on noble armies Armies greatly grew Some nations depended on their navy Wars were initially fought over religion, but they were now fought over “reasons of state” Warfare both encouraged and drew upon the development of credit

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