Chapter 7: Crisis and Absolutism in Europe

Chapter 7: Crisis and Absolutism
in Europe
Section 1: Europe in Crisis:
The Wars of Religion
• French Wars of Religion
– Calvinism and Catholicism became highly
combative religions, trying to win converts and
eliminate the other’s authority.
– Huguenots (French Protestants) converted several
noble families (50%) which became a threat to the
French king.
– Battles rages for 30 years until
Henry of Navarre became king
(Henry IV). He issued the Edict
of Nantes which declared
Catholicism as the official
religion but allowed the
Huguenots to worship freely and
hold public offices.
• Philip II of Spain and Militant Catholicism
– Consolidated the lands he inherited from his
father – Spain, the Netherlands, and possessions
in Italy and the Americas
– To strengthen his control he insisted on strict
conformity to Catholicism
– He became a champion of Catholic causes;
however, he would go bankrupt from spending
too much on wars
• England and Queen Elizabeth
– Inherited the throne from her halfsister Mary Tudor, “Bloody Mary”
– Established the Church of England as
the official church – to keep people
satisfied, the church followed a
moderate Protestantism
– Philip II of Spain tried to attack
England with an armada – after
failing, most of the ships sank on
their way home
Section 2: Social Crises, War, and
• Economic and Social Crises
– During the late 1500’s and early 1600’s
• Inflation, or rising prices: caused by the influx of gold
and silver from the Americas
• Growing population increased the demand for land and
food, which caused prices to increase as well
– By 1620
• Population began to decline because of warfare,
plague, and famine
• Thirty Years’ War
– Religious disputes continued, even in Germany.
• War broke out in 1618 because one group of
protestants rebelled against the Hapsburgs who were
the Holy Roman emperors
• Most of the war was fought on German soil
• All major European powers were involved with the
exception of England
• War ended with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648
– It stated that all German states could determine their own
– Broke up the Holy Roman Empire
• Revolutions in England
– Several rebellions and wars broke out in England
• Most famous one was the England Revolution
– It was a struggle between the king and Parliament to
determine what role each would play in government
– Kings thought they ruled by the divine right of kings (receive
power from God and only responsible to God)
– Parliament disagreed – they believed that the two groups
should rule together
• Civil War
– Fought between the Cavaliers (supporters of the
king) and the Roundheads (members of
Parliament and their supporters)
– Parliament enlisted the help of Oliver Cromwell
• Purged Parliament of anyone that did not support him
and even had the king (Charles I) beheaded
• After destroying the king and Parliament, he set up a
military dictatorship
• Restoration
– Cromwell ruled until his death – Parliament
restored the monarchy with Charles II
– James II, brother to Charles, took the throne upon
Charles’ death
• He was a devout Catholic which made religion a conflict
once more between the monarchy and Parliament
• Glorious Revolution
– Mary, James’ daughter, and her husband William
invaded England to take control
– Almost no bloodshed so it was called a “Glorious
– Parliament offered the throne to William and Mary
• Established a Bill of Rights which created a system of
government based on the rule of law and a freely elected
• Toleration Act: granted protestants, not Catholics, the right
to free public worship
Section 3: Response to Crisis:
• Absolutism was Europe’s answer to the
unstable governments.
– King Louis XIV’s reign is regarded as the best
example of absolutism in 17th century.
• Absolutism is tied to the idea of the divine
right of kings.
• Louis XIV came to
power at the age of 4.
His chief minister was
Cardinal Mazarin. Louis
would take complete
control at the age of 23
after Mazarin’s death.
• He called himself the
“Sun King” – he saw
himself as the source of
light for his people.
• He established the royal
court at Versailles. This
gave him the ability to
stay at home while
keeping an eye on the
government officials.
• King Louis XIV fought to keep Catholicism the official
religion in France. He had several Protestant
churches destroyed and closed their schools.
• At the age of 73, he died, leaving France with severe
debt from the construction of palaces, maintaining
his royal court, and financing several wars.
• He left the throne to his 5 year old great-grandson.
• In Russia, Ivan IV became the first ruler to take
the title of czar after crushing the nobility
known as the boyars.
• He was known as Ivan the Terrible because of
his ruthless deeds. (He stabbed his own son to
• Upon his death, the national assembly chose
Michael Romanov as the new czar in 1613.
(The Romanov dynasty would last until 1917. )
• One of the greatest
czars of the Romanov
dynasty was Peter the
• He ruled with
• Under his rule, Russia
became a great military
Section 4: The World of
European Culture
• The artistic Renaissance ended with the
movement known as Mannerism.
– It focused on showing strong emotions such as
suffering and tension amongst the subjects
• The baroque movement eventually replaced
• The art and architecture reflected the search for power
that was part of the 17th century. Buildings were highly
decorated and elaborate.
• In literature, three people stood out in
– England : William Shakespeare is best known for
writing plays even though he was an actor and
theater owner. He wrote tragedies and comedies.
– Spain: Lope de Vega wrote over 1,500 plays that
were witty, action-packed, and realistic. Miguel
de Cervantes wrote one of the greatest literary
works of all time called Don Quixote.
• In politics, John Locke argued against the
absolute rule of one person. He believed
people were born with natural rights that
should be protected by the government. Even
though he was not an advocate for
democracy, his ideas can be found in the
American Declaration of Independence and
the United States Constitution.

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