The Age of Absolutism
in Europe
Europe during the Age of
The Thirty Year’s War
Treaty of Westphalia (1648)
Changed the way countries dealt with one
another – national sovereignty was respected for
the first time
England and France became the two dominant
powers of the 17th Century and led the
revolutions in science, philosophy and political
Revolutions in Thought
The gulf between the church and science
widened in the 17th Century
In 1633 Galileo was tried before the church for
his theories of heliocentrism (the sun not the
earth was the center of the universe)
Galileo defied the church and was tortured into
The Scientific Revolution
From mid 16th to the beginning of the 18th
Century, a revolution in science would challenge
how Europeans perceived themselves and the
Isaac Newton formulated his Three Laws of
William Harvey – his human blood circulation
discoveries challenged the accepted belief that
the heart worked by divine intervention
The Scientific Method and The
Birth of Modern Philosophy
For centuries it was believed that truths were
arrived at by studying the Bible
The 17th Century saw a rise in systematic
skepticism, experimentalism, and reasoning
based on observed facts and mathematical laws
Francis Bacon – direct observation was essential
to ascertain truth
Rene Descartes – applied mathematical methods
and reasoning to philosophy
John Locke (1632 – 1704)
English philosopher
Believed that over time
people would join
together to benefit from
Through a Social
Contract, sovereignty
would remain with the
Thomas Hobbes (1588 –1679)
English philosopher
Wrote Leviathan – life
began in a state of nature
Man is inherently selfish
and aggressive
Left on own, chaos and
conflict would rule
Citizens need law and to
follow a sovereign to
avoid chaos
Absolutism in France
Louis XIV epitomized
the absolutist belief that
the monarchy
personified the state
Absolutism was created
under Cardinal Richelieu
who secularized France
and fostered loyalty to
the French state
Absolutism in France cont.
Cardinal Richelieu centralized power by
alienating the nobility
The greatest threat to the monarchy was the
Monarchs created standing armies for the first
Louis XIV built the Palace of Versailles as a
testament to his power and used it to gain
control of the nobility
Palace of Versailles
Versailles Grande Gallerie
Daily routines at
Versailles were exploited
by Louis XIV
The nobility competed
against each other to
perform menial tasks for
the king
Palace Gardens
Louis XIV and the Arts
Moliere, France’s greatest
playwright in the 17th
Mocked and alienated
the aristrocracy in his
Received support and
funding from Louis XIV
Baroque Art
Stylistically complex
Meant to evoke emotion by
appealing to the senses
Bernini’s sculptures captured
figures in the state of intense
Rembrandt van Rijn rejected
traditional arrangements for
portraits by not giving equal
prominence to each member
of the group
Absolutism in Eastern Europe
Tsar Peter I (Peter the
Great) of Russia
Modernized Russia
through Westernization
Taxed his subjects
heavily to pay for his
Killed 1000 members of
streltsy when they tried
to depose him
Century England
Constitutionalism not Absolutism ruled
English monarchs held accountable to Parliament
James I (1603-1625) supported absolute rule
Charles I (1625-1649) fought with Parliament over
money for his wars with Spain
Charles II (1660-1685) learned the lessons of his
predecessors – don’t mess with Parliament
James II (1685-1688) was an unpopular king because of
his open Catholicism and return to absolute rule
The Glorious Revolution (1688)
William of Orange, the Dutch monarch was
asked by the English people to depose their
king, James II
A bloodless coup ensued as James II fled
Parliament now reigned supreme
The Bill of Rights (1689) outlined the powers
and rights of Parliament
Works Cited
Google Images
Legacy by Garfield Newman

The Age of Absolutism, 1600-1715 - Pages