Unit VI Timeline Age of Absolutism

Events

Gunpowder Plot

1605

On November 5, 1605, a group of Catholic nobles thought that James I was not taking adequate measures to “purify” England of other believers. Under the leadership of Guy Fawkes, this group of noblemen tried to bomb the Parliament building during one of their sessions as a sign for purification. However, the news somehow slipped into the hands of the king, and the noblemen were executed for treason. This event forever left the legitimacy of Catholic rule unreliable to the British citizens. November 5 is still celebrated as a holiday in the United Kingdom.

Louis XIV closes the Estates General Meeting

1626

The Estates General of the French government is where the clergy, nobility, and the commoners have their say in the governmental policies of the monarch. It functioned as an institution representing the will of the people, not just the nobles and the monarch. With Louis XIV’s absolutist policies, he considered himself a relic of god sent to this earth, and thus considered his decisions a precedent over any others’ opinion. By closing the Estates General, Louis XIV was able to consolidate more power and effectively enforce his expansionist policies. The Estates General didn’t meet again till 1789, when France goes too much in debt after supporting the American Revolutionary war.

English Civil War begins

1642

This war was conflict between the Parliamentarians (“Roundheads”) and Royalists (“Cavaliers”) over the matter of who has the control over England’s government. Charles I had enforced absolutist policies that favored Catholicism over Protestantism, and closed the Parliament meetings, deeming it unnecessary in the face of his majesty. The war ends with the Parliamentarians’ victory, and by one vote in the Parliament, Charles I is executed and the monarch’s power in England is permanently weakened.

80 Years War Ended

1648

The 80 Years war was the Dutch War for independence from Spain. During the war. Philip II deployed his many armies and regained control of most of the southern provinces in the Netherlands, but the northern provinces continued their resistance until the Treaty of Munster, which was a part of the Treaty of Westphalia. The end of the 80 Years War heralded the beginning of the Dutch Golden Age, characterized by art, trade and overall prosperity. The Peace of Munster established the Dutch Republic, which became an essential part of the European trade in both economics (trade) and politics.

John Hobbes published Leviathan

1651

John Hobbes first-handedly experienced the political turmoil of Great Britain due to the lack of a sovereignty in power. His book argued that a strong leader like the Leviathan must be instituted to truly protect the people from the “state of nature.” His proposition that good and evil are nothing more than terms used to denote an individual's appetites and desires, while these appetites and desires are nothing more than the tendency to move toward or away from an object, are widely accepted by absolutist rulers of the era, although the application differed depending on the monarch.

Peter the Great takes the Russian Throne

1682

This event is very important as Peter helped Russia out greatly by spurring on some technological advancements and other things. A big reason why Peter the Great is important is because he tried to incorporate western ideals into Russia. Peter helped Russia gain power by adopting western modern military weapons and technology. This was the first time that Russia came into the European picture. Before this many rulers either had no clue what Russia was or knew nothing about Russia. Peter really helped them enter the European picture as he helped Russia increased its land greatly and make European superpowers aware of its presence.

Louis XIV passed the Edict of Fontainebleau

1685

Louis XIV was one of the influential absolutist figures of the 17th and 18th centuries. He consolidated his power by moving the government to Versailles and forcing the ruling nobles there as well. He also never called the Estates General as there was a lack of need and he wanted his absolute power. His “One king, one law, one faith” ideal came into stark view when he passed the Edict of Fontainebleau. Since he wanted the state to have one faith of Catholicism, he revoked the Edict of Nantes, which his grandfather Henry VI passed, and removed tolerance for Huguenots. He forbid Huguenots from leaving France, but still hundreds of thousands escaped to other places to practice their faith freely. The Edict of Fontainebleau was one of Louis XIV’s most important policies and has a significant place in European history.

John Locke published his “Essay of Human Understanding”

1688

This may be one of the most important events of this time because Locke proposed a political theory that had never been considered before in his work. During the time Locke published his work, absolutism was very prevalent and was considered the only form of government that was effective by many people. John Locke believed in constitutionalism which was a completely new idea. He believed that in a society the ruler should not have complete power and be able to make decisions by himself. He thought that the people in the society should be able to determine or influence the ruler’s decision and that the ruler signed a social contract with the people when he became ruler in which he agrees not to take advantage of them. Also, Locke believed that people should have the right to rebel when they disagree with the ruler’s decision which was also a new concept. This is an important work as it showed many people a different type of political structure/theory that had never been considered before.

William of Orange became King of England

1689

William of Orange becoming the ruler of England is important as it showed what peoples’ thoughts to how the government should be run. The people of England called somebody from the Netherlands to come rule England which shows how much they disliked the previous rulers. They called somebody from out of the country because all of their previous rulers disrespected their rights and were against different religions. Also, the previous rulers made decisions without the consent of the government and the people and parliament was fed up. In order to fix that, they get a ruler who was not against any religion and somebody who would not disrespect their decisions. This is important because England brought someone out of the country to rule, an unprecedented act.

Peter the Great built St. Petersburg

1703

Peter the Great led his country in the Great Northern War, and with Swedish slaves from the war, he built the city of St. Petersburg as a “window on the west.” Peter the Great was in awe and appreciated western principles and cities, and imposed western principles on the Russian people so that Russia could become a Great Power, which it did as a result of Peter the Great’s reforms. St. Petersburg was supposedly named after Peter’s patron saint, St. Peter, but it is unclear if he actually wanted to name it after himself as Alexander the Great did with his many Alexandria's. St. Petersburg was built like a western city, which is why it is considered the “window on the west.”

Treaty of Utrecht was signed

April 1713

This is an important event as the Treaty of Utrecht ended Louis XIV attempts to take over all of Europe. More formally, the Treaty of Utrecht ended the War of Spanish Succession. The treaty was signed between many countries and as France acknowledged and signed the treaties they lost some land and gained some land. For example, France gave some lands back to Britain after signing the treaty. The major result of this treaty is that Louis XIV’s grandson ended up as the ruler of Spain ending the Habsburgs’ rule of Spain which was happening since the early 13th century.

Frederick the Great became King of Prussia

1740

Frederick the Great was one of the Hohenzollerns, the ruling house of Brandenburg-Prussia and one of the most influential kings in Europe. Both Frederick the Soldier King and Frederick the Great placed great importance on military ideals and made Prussia into a very militaristic state foremost in war with the fourth largest standing army in Europe. Under Frederick the Great’s leadership, Prussia became one of the Great Powers in Europe. Its military strength was strikingly displayed through its gain of many territories. Frederick was one of the most important figures in that period, and his ascension to the Prussian throne was extremely significant.

CITATIONS (just including it here because i don't know where else to include it)

1780

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “Treaties of Utrecht.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 16 Jan. 2014, www.britannica.com/topic/treaties-of-Utrecht.

History.com Staff. “John Locke.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2009, www.history.com/topics/john-locke.