Absolute monarchy in the late 1600s?

How did kings try to increase their power by the late 1600s? Why did England fail to creat an absolute monarchy?

Thank you!

2 Answers

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government where the monarch exercises ultimate governing authority as head of state and head of government, thus wielding political power over the sovereign state and its subject peoples. In an absolute monarchy, the transmission of power is two-fold, hereditary and marital; as absolute governor, the monarch’s authority is not legally bound or restricted by a constitution.

    In theory, the absolute monarch exercises total power over the land and its subject peoples, yet in practice the monarchy was counter-balanced by political groups from among the social classes and castes of the realm: the aristocracy, clergy (caesaropapism), bourgeoise, and proletarians.

    Some monarchies have powerless or symbolic parliaments and other governmental bodies that the monarch can alter or dissolve at will. Despite effectively being absolute monarchies, they are technically constitutional monarchies due to the existence of a constitution and national canon of law.

    In the West, the originating form and general institution of monarchy finds many of its institutional origins in the decline and collapse of democracy in Ancient Rome.

    One of the best proverbial examples of an absolute monarch was Louis XIV of France. His alleged statement, L'état, c'est moi (The state, it is me), summarizes the fundamental principle of absolute monarchy (sovereignty being vested in one individual). Although often criticized for his extravagance, his best-known legacy being the huge Palace of Versailles, he reigned over France for a long period, and some historians consider him a successful absolute monarch. More recently, revisionist historians have questioned whether Louis' reign should be considered 'absolute', given the reality of the balance of power between the monarch and the nobility.

    Until 1905, the Tsars of Russia also governed as absolute monarchs. Peter I the Great reduced the power of the nobility and strengthened the central power of the Tsar, establishing a bureaucracy and a police state. This tradition of absolutism, known as the tsarist absolutism, was built on by Catherine II the Great and other later Tsars. Although Alexander II made some reforms and established an independent judicial system, Russia did not have a representative assembly or a constitution until the 1905 Revolution. However, the concept of absolutism was so ingrained in Russia that the Russian Constitution of 1906 still described the tsar as an autocrat.

    Throughout much of history, the Divine Right of Kings was the theological justification for absolute monarchy. Many European kings, such as the Tsars of Russia, claimed that they held supreme autocratic power by divine right, and that their subjects had no right to limit their power. James I and Charles I of England tried to import this principle; fears that Charles I was attempting to establish absolutist government along European lines was a major cause of the English Civil War. By the 19th century, the Divine Right was regarded as an obsolete theory in most countries in the Western World, except in Russia where it was still given credence as the official justification for the Tsar's power.

    In Denmark-Norway the system was underpinned by the 1665 Kongeloven ("King's Law") whose § 2 stipulates that the monarch shall from this day forth be revered and considered the most perfect and supreme person on the Earth by all his subjects, standing above all human laws and having no judge above his person, neither in spiritual nor temporal matters, except God alone. This law consequently authorized the king to abolish all other centers of power. Most important was the abolition of the Council of the Realm.

  • Paco
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    Your time period is a little odd. Kings and Queens had absolute power in the 1500's. In 30 January 1649, King Charles I was beheaded by order of parliament, what would later be called regicide (or the murder of a king). His son, Charles II was restored to power completely on 29 May 1660 . Usually from this point on in history, parliament is considered to be the more powerful than the monarch.


    There was brief period in 1685 when the age 51 old James II succeeded his childless brother and became king. He was Catholic and he did attempt to restore more power to the throne. However because of his Catholicism he was very unpopular. After three years on the throne his Catholic wife (who was 25 years younger than her husband) gave birth to a son. The thought of a Catholic dynasty was so terrifying that only a few weeks after the birth of the baby, Protestant nobles requested that the king's daughter and her husband who was the Prince of Orange invade England with an army. They were both driven out of England and lived in exile in France for the rest of their lives.


    I am not sure exactly what your question is.

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