Absolutism and Empire Building Links:

Text: English Bill of Rights, 1689 (from Modern History Textbook

Text: John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (1690)

Image: Hyacinthe Rigaud, King Louis XIV

Text: Bossuet On the Nature of Monarchial Authority

Image: Palace of Versailles

Website: Chateau de Versailles

Text: Duc de Saint-Simon: The Court of Louis XIV (from Modern History Sourcebook)

Map: Coffin & Stacey, Map 15.1: Europe after the Treat of Utrecht (1713)

Map: Coffin & Stacey, Map 15.2: The Growth of the Russian Empire

Map: Coffin & Stacey, Map 15.4: The Atlantic World

Map: Atlantic Slave Trade

Chart: African Slaves, 1701-1810

Image: Jean-Michel Moreau, from an edition of Voltaire's Candide (1787)

Map: Coffin & Stacey, Map 15.5: The Seven Years' War, 1756-1763

Absolutism and Empire

My thesis: After a century of religious conflict and warfare between Catholics and Protestants, the authority of the state expanded dramatically throughout Europe during the 17th century. This expansion took primarily two forms, absolutism and constitutionalism. The largest Empires participated in an intense military and economic competition beyond the European continent. By the 18th century, an Atlantic system based on the "triangular trade" of manufactured goods, slaves, and commodities such as coffee, sugar, cotton, and tobacco linked Europe, Africa, and the Americas into a commercial network. While the European economy benefited, economic developments in the Americas led to the decimation of indigenous cultures and peoples and the establishment of race slavery.

  1. Constitutional Monarchy in England
    1. Reign of Charles II
    2. Reign of James II
    3. The Glorious Revolution
    4. John Locke and the Contract Theory of Government
  2. Absolutism of Louis XIV:the Model of Absolutism
    1. The "Sun King" (1643-1715)
      • "L'etat, c'est moi" - "I am the state"
    2. How did the King hold on to his power? Bread and Circus (panem et circenses)
      1. Glorification of the King
        • "Divine right of kings"
      2. Court Culture as Form of State Power
        • Place of Versailles
      3. Louis XIV and the Catholic Church
      4. Colbert and Royal Finance
        • Mercantilism
      5. The Wars of Louis XIV
        • Treaty of Utrecht
  3. Absolutism in Central and Eastern Europe
    1. The Hapsburg Empire
    2. The Rise of Prussia
      1. Frederick William, "the Great Elector" and the Junkers
      2. Building of a Modern Bureaucracy
      3. Highly Militarized - "Sparta of the North"
  4. Absolutism in Russia
    1. Tsar Peter I (1672-1725), "Peter the Great"
    2. Reforms of Peter
      1. Westernization of Court and Culture
      2. Raise money for War
      3. Took control of government and religion
        • Duma and Russian Orthodox Church
    3. Catherine the Great
      1. Enlightened Absolutist??
      2. Partition of Poland
  5. Colonization, Competition and Trade in the 17th Century
    1. The rise of the Dutch, English and French
    2. Colonial Settlements in North and South America
    3. Colonial Rivalries
  6. Colonialism and Empire
    1. Triangular Trade
    2. The Atlantic Economy and Race Slavery
      1. Plantation System of Labor
      2. The Middle Passage