Absolute Monarchies

An absolute monarchy is loosely defined as a system of government in which one person, a king or a queen, rules over their subjects with no outside influence from entities such as a parliament or congress.

Absolute Monarchies of France

France’s absolute monarchy began just like any other, and actually continued on for a long time, but after a while began to suffer under the rule of monarchs who didn’t know what they were doing. The actions of these monarchs led to quite a few small civil wars within the country. However, somehow the monarchy survived past the years of turmoil and war. Henry IV quieted down the population temporarily by making the national religion Catholicism, and actually converting himself. Louis XIII, his son, was only 9 years old at the time of Henry IV’s death. His ascension to power caused about a decade with no real ruler.
King Louis XIV

Around 1624, Armand-Jean du Plessis de Richelieu, more commonly known as Cardinal Richelieu, began to mentor Louis XIII. As Louis XIV’s mentor, Cardinal Richelieu became, in effect, the ruler of France. When Cardinal Richelieu and Louis XIV died, Louis XIV’s grandson Louis XIV took the throne. At age 5, he was the youngest to take the throne. Another mentor, Cardinal Mazarin, ‘ruled’ for him until he was the age of majority. During his rule, Louis XIV moved the official residence of the rulers and the government offices from Paris to Versailles, which angered the population.

Mutual lack of respect and consideration contributed to the social unrest. Furthermore, bad economic circumstances and an inability to control high inflation contributed to the growing unrest. Louis XVI, the great-great-grandson of Louis XIV, was the last of France’s monarchs to rule before the French Revolution in the late 18th century. Although he promised change and more freedom to his subjects, he was eventually executed by guillotine in 1793. After the revolution, most of the political elite from the old regime were executed, including Louis XVI and his family.

After Louis XVI’s execution, a man named Maximilien Robespierre rose to the head of the provisional government. Although he tried to form a constitutional republic, he never got to see his dream come true. Robespierre himself was executed on accusations of treason, and only then France started the transition to a constitutional republic.

Absolute Monarchy of England

England’s absolute monarchy was different from the other Western European monarchies. Instead of the King having total control of the monarchy, they built a parliamentary system as well. The king shared his power with the representatives of the parliament. When Charles I tried to enforce the Absolute monarchy, though, it led the country to the English Civil War. The English Civil War
Charles I
resulted in The Parliament gaining a majority control of the country.

Englands Monarchy came to a quick stop by a couple of events, such as the Glorious Revolution and the English Bill of Rights. In 1688, the Glorious Revolution was when James II threatend Parlmient because he wanted England to become a absolute monarchy just like France. Parliment turned him down so he went to France to become a ruler. This showed that Parliment had power but they knew how to control their power. The English Bill of Rights made it official for Parliment to "choose and dismiss" the freedom of the monarchies. These are laws that Parliment created that gave them the power to create laws and make taxes. This way England still had a monarch but it was a much looser control than in France.


Works Cited

"Louis XVI." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 3 Apr. 2012.
Robison, William B. "The Rise of Absolutism: Need To Know." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 2 Apr. 2012.
"Maximilien Robespierre." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 3 Apr. 2012.
"The Failure of Absolute Monarchy in England." Failure of Absolute Monarchy (Part II). Web. 11 Apr. 2012.
"France." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2012. Web. 12 Apr. 2012.
"The French Revolution TimeLine: The Absolute Monarchy." Create a Website. Web. 11 Apr. 2012.