The new
monarchies
The Centralization of Political
Power
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Creation of well-organized states built around
strong central gov’ts
New Monarchs of England (Henry VII), France
(Louis XI) & Spain (Ferdinand & Isabella) were
successful in accumulating & centralizing power.
*Marked an end to more than a century of
political fragmentation
All had opponents/problems to overcome and all
did it differently
England
Formed its state through administrative
centralization
 Wars of Roses (1455-1485)—English Civil
War—nobles caused chaos as they fought
for control of throne

Richard III
(1483-85) of
the House of
York, the last
Plantagenet
Henry VII (Tudor) & the Revival of
Royal Power
Came in as a usurper but restored order &
increased the authority of the Crown
 2 Biggest obstacles:

 1.
Poverty of the Monarchy
 2. Power of the Nobility

No secure monarch in 100 years
Henry VII Tudor (1485-1509)
Limits on the Monarch’s Power

Parliament
 Consultative
assembly
 By 16th cen. Began to be more important as chief
representative body that could approve ruler’s actions,
esp. when raising taxes

Common Law
 System
of justice based on precedent & tradition that
was common throughout England
 Was an independent source of authority with which King
couldn’t interfere
How Henry VII Began
Centralization of England

1. Developed modern methods of
accounting, record-keeping, & enforcement
to make the monarchy solvent
 Used
fiscal caution
 Determinedly collected royal revenues
 Relied on the cooperation of the gentry at the
local level to help administer the kingdom
How Henry VII Began
Centralization of England

2. Asserted his authority over the nobles in
both political and legal matters
 Relied
on the JPs to carry out the monarch’s
will
 Increased the authority of the Royal Council
 Had his councilors serve on the Star Chamber
(no jury, local leaders had no influence;
decisions were quick & fair)
Henry VIII Cont’d What his Father
Began

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1513—defeated Scots which removed a threat
Created an independent English Church which
increased Parliament’s power
Confiscated Church lands which increased royal
revenue
Henry VIII

Thomas Cromwell, Henry’s Chief Minister reorganized
the administration of the country
 Divided administration according to its function by
separating departments of state. Each department
was responsible for its own record-keeping, revenuecollection, and law enforcement.
 Expanded power of the Privy council (King’s primary
advisers), which became the King’s executive body,
to direct the royal gov’t
Edward VI (1547-53) & Mary I
(1553-58)


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Nobles tried to regain control of gov’t
Mary I tried to reestablish Catholicism, which provoked 2
major revolts, but royal power survived
Elizabeth I inherited a larger, wealthier, & more
sophisticated administration at her disposal
She didn’t have a large standing army (like on
Continent), but she didn’t need one
France
French centralization occurred because of
good fortune
 Problems working against centralization:

 1.
Surrounded by large aggressive neighbors
 2. French nobles were semi-independent princes
 3. French people were provincial & loyal to local
customs & institutions
 4. Divided by regional differences, esp. north &
south divided by culture and language
France


100 Years War (1337-1453)—France emerged
intact, but monarchy was greatly weakened
Threat posed by Charles the Bold of Burgundy
 Had increased in size during the 100 Years
War
Charles the
Bold of
Burgundy
Louis XI (the Spider) of House of
Valois (1461-83)

Increased the territories under control of
the Crown
 Inherited
Anjou, Maine, & Provence
 Gained Brittany & Orleans through marriage

Subdued the nobility
French Royal Power
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Royal Council in Paris was administrative center of gov’t
Greatest court of law was Parlement of Paris
Roman law, based on royal decree, dominated &
allowed king to govern by issuing ordinances and edicts
(had to be registered by parlements to take effect, but
usually a formality)
Estates—representative bodies that were in a number of
provinces & King had to negotiate with them to support
his income & army
Estates General never attained the power and prestige
of England’s Parliament
*French King had more independence and power, esp.
in finance than the English King did
Charles VIII (1483-1498)
Wanted to expand his dynasty’s territory
 1494—led army into Italy

 Had
some successes, but settled into a long
struggle with Hapsburgs for control of Italy
 *16th Cen dominated by rivalry between
France & Hapsburgs of Spain/Austria
 Ended in 1559—Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis
with French defeat (renounced any further
claims to Italy)
The Italian Wars

Role Played in the Centralization of France
 Distracted
the nobility & gave King opportunity to
consolidate power at home
 France’s financial & administrative machinery grew in
size and effectiveness. But it was never enough.
 Monarchs developed other ways to increase royal
revenue

Sale of Offices –sold offices in administration, the
parlements, and every branch of bureaucracy


Gained tax exemption
Gained status & sometimes a title of nobility
The Italian Wars

War years also established the principle of royal taxation
(which fell mostly on 3rd estate)

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Taille—direct tax on property
Gabelle—consumption tax on purchase of salt
Aide-tax on a variety of commodities, including meat and wine
French had a high degree of compliance
French King was first to establish principle of a national
army—directed from the center but quartered and
equipped regionally


Nobility—cavalry and towns & country—infantry
Fortified towns gained privileges for service to the King
Louis XI & Charles VIII
Neither was a nation-builder
 Both were very lucky!
Charles VIII
 Had no grand designs & made many
mistakes

Burgundy’s Low Countries go to
Habsburg’s and not to France
 This initiated a struggle for the low countries
that would last 200 years
 Biggest—let
Louis XII (1498-1515)
Expanded sale of offices
 By end of 16th century, sale of offices
provided Crown with 1/12 of its revenue.

 Negatives:
Stimulated social mobility by creating a new
administrative class
 Caused a major expansion of bureaucracy
 Encouraged corruption

Francis I (1515-1547)

Gained power over the Church
 Successful
in Italy early in his reign
 1516 persuaded Pope to give French Crown
the right to appoint all of France’s bishops and
abbots.
*King could now use Church patronage to reward
servants or raise money*
 Unlike Henry VIII, he didn’t need to break with
Rome to gain authority over clergy

Francis I

1520s Francis reorganized the gov’t

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1527—last Bourbon lands fell to the King—France was
unified
Used lit de justice against parlements

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Legalized sale of offices
Formed an inner ocuncil to act as chief executive body of France
(more management)
He appeared in person before an assembly that was delaying
registering of his edicts and declare them registered and law.
Estates General did not meet between 1484 and 1560
Henry II (1547-59)

Italian wars ended with French defeat
 Damaged

royal prestige and finances
Reformation, esp. Calvinism caused social
unrest and religious divisions
 Almost
destroyed what French kings had
created in previous century
Spain

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Spain centralized through a dynastic marriage
Problem before 16th cen:
 Moors
in South, Portugal in west
 Spain divided among separate states (2 biggest were
Castile & Aragon)
 Had 3 religions & 4 languages


1469—Ferdinand of Aragon & Isabella of Castile
married—led to 10 year civil war
1479—2 Crowns united & they ruled jointly
Ferdinand & Isabella
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Spain wasn’t a single state—local provinces guarded their pwr
 Cortes—representative assemblies
1st they established order
2nd tried to reduce the power of the nobles
 Reduced the number of great nobles in the royal council
 Overhauled the entire administration
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Ability, not status would determine appointments
Hidalgos, lesser aristocrats, became increasingly important in
gov’t
They were essential figures in centralization and overseas
because they served and wer dependent on Crown
Took over leadership of the aristocracy’s rich and powerful
military orders
Reconquista 1482-92

Kicked Moors off Iberian peninsula and
retook Granada
 Helped
to create a national identity for Spanish
 1492—150,000 Jews were expelled

Also made Castilian the official language of
the country
The Church and the Inquisition
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For the successful Reconquista, the Pope
granted them the right to make major
ecclesiastical appointments there & in New
World (Charles I was given complete control
over Church appointments)
1478-gained permission to establish their own
Inquisition
 Wanted
to root out converted Jews & Muslims who
still practiced their religions in secret
 Persecution fostered a religious unity that enhanced
political centralization
Royal Administration

Corregidors, minor royal officials, were given new
powers and responsibilities within the administration

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Cortes didn’t restrict the Crown b/c Spanish taxes could
be raised without consent
Monarchs supervised the justice system
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Became the chief executive and judical officer within a local
region (like JP in England)
Had a Roman law system so monarchs could overrule the
decisions of local courts
Developed a uniform code of law
Increased royal income by establishing power over the
alcabala, the sales tax
Military and Diplomatic
Achievements
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Regained 2 provinces on the French border
Ferdinand entered the Italian War against
France
Reorganized Spain’s standing army
Founded the finest diplomatic service of 16th
century
 Was
the best-informed and most effective
maneuverer of his day
Charles I (1516-1556)

1520—Revolt of the Communes
 He
spoke no Castilian b/c educated in
Flanders & gave Flemish ppl positions in gov’t
 He was elected HRE
 Spanish didn’t know him & feared he would
be an absentee ruler
Communes attacked the privileged orders of
society, esp. nobles
 Nobles defeated them

Royal Gov’t under Charles


Was away from Spain 2/3 of his 40 yr reign
His representatives enlarged the bureaucracy & a system of
councils
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2 types of councils—1 for each department of gov’t and 1 for each
territory the crown ruled
Council of State was principal advisory group at the head of the
system
Created a vast federation, with Castile at center but the parts had
considerable autonomy

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
Viceroy was in charge of every major area & ran the administration
under the supervision of an audiencia, a territorial council
They could do as they wished but they had to report to Castile &
refer major decisions to the central gov’t
Although corrupt and not always efficient, Spain’s administrative
machine was one of the most detailed for ruling such a vast empire
Royal Finances

Habsburgs were constantly fighting wars
In Italy against France
 Against Turks
 Against Schmalkaldic League

 Put
a strain on Charles’ finances
 New World treasure saved him from financial
disaster

He had to pay Italian & German financiers’ loans
for his armies
The Splintered
States of Central
and Eastern
Europe
Holy Roman Empire

Weak institutions prevented strong central
gov’t
 1356—Golden
Bull issued by Emperor
Charles IV—established 7 electors to elect
the HRE=weak
 Emperors’ ability to exercise power effectively
depended on their own family possessions
 Ruled most areas and princes in name only

2000 imperial knights, 50 ecclesiastical princes, 30
secular princes, 100+ counts, 70 prelates, and 66
cities
Local Independence in the HRE
Princes’ primary concern—increase their
power
 Cities—had substantial wealth which the
emperor couldn’t tap
 Only central institution—Imperial Diet

3
assemblies—reps of the cities, princes and
the 7 electors
 It became the instrument of the princes
Local Centralization
Late 15th cen.—princes had gained control
over their individual territories
 Hapsburgs only controlled their own
possessions (Austria, Low Countries, &
Franche-Comte)

Attempts at Imperial
Centralization

1495-HRE created a tribunal to settle
disputes among local pwrs
 Successful
at restoring order
 Princes were main beneficiaries
Other attempts at administrative reform
had little effect
 Reformation worsened the rivalries and
further strengthened local independence

Hungary

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Late 15th cen—dominant force in E. Eur. With a strong
monarch similar to Eng, etc.
 Matthias Corvinus
After his death, royal authority collapsed
 Lost land to Hapsburgs
 Nobles forced King to dissolve the standing army
 1514-imposed serfdom on the peasants
 When Ottoman Turks conquered Hungary, nobles
promised loyalty in exchange for their strengthened
power
Poland
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Late 15th cen. b/c king needed help, he issued a
statute that strengthened lower aristocrats
against ppl below them (peasants & townsmen)
Then nobles united against king
 Diet (made up of nobles) estab. Serfdom
 No law could be passed w/o Diet’s consent
By end of 16th cen. Diet made succession to the
crown dependent on noble approval
Ottoman Empire
Only state in E. Eur. in 16th cen. that
maintained a strong central authority
 Sultan Suleiman II brought the empire to its
largest size in first half of 16th cen.
 Under his successor the empire began to
decline

Italy
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Late 15th cen. 5 major states—Naples, Papal states,
Milan, Florence, and Venice—maintained a balance of
pwr
1494—peace was broken when Milan invited Charles
VIII of France for help against Florence & Naples
 Began the Italian Wars (between Valois & Hapsburgs)
 Fighting would end in 1559—Hapsburgs won and
would control Italy for next century
 By mid-16th cen. Power had shifted from the
Mediterranean to the Atlantic
Lesson Learned
Small political units couldn’t survive in an
age when gov’ts were consolidating their
authority in large kingdoms
 No matter how brilliant and sophisticated,
a compact city-state couldn’t withstand
such superior force

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The new monarchies - Phillipsburg School District