Unit 3- Absolutism & Constitutionalism

The third unit of our course focuses on the development of absolutism and constitutionalism in Western and Eastern Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries.

3.1- Foundations of Absolutism

This section has two parts. First, we will learn about the context surrounding the development of absolutist states as absolute monarchs had to contend with lingering Medieval institutions. The second part of the section is an introduction to the Divine Right of Kings, a doctrine used by many European monarchs in the 17th century to provide biblical justification for their pretensions to absolute power.

Following Cromwell's death, the monarchy was restored and Charles II, the son of Charles I, was invited to reign in England. Charles II, known as the "Merry Monarch," finished his reign without serious incident but the same cannot be said for his brother, James II, who was run off by Parliament after many conflicts with Parliament (many of them having their roots in his Catholic religion). William and Mary signed the English Bill of Rights in 1689, ending the turmoils of the Stuart era by acknowledging the legislative supremacy of Parliament.