Political History

Absolutism in Central Europe (Historical Connections) by Peter Wilson

By Peter Wilson

Absolutism in crucial Europe is ready the shape of ecu monarchy often called absolutism, the way it used to be outlined via contemporaries, the way it emerged and built, and the way it has been interpreted through historians, political and social scientists. This ebook investigates how students from a spread of disciplines have outlined and defined political improvement throughout what was once previously often called the 'age of absolutism'. It assesses no matter if the time period nonetheless has application as a device of study and it explores the broader ramifications of the method of state-formation from the adventure of significant Europe from the early 17th century to the beginning of the 19th.

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Throughout, the crown sought, as in Brandenburg-Prussia, to widen its freedom of action and extend the basis of its legitimacy by acting as mediator between significant social groups. 56 The process of compromise thus looks far less straightforward than some explanations would suggest. Crucially, there is little evidence that the nobility collectively sought a stronger monarchy, though sections certainly demanded assistance in mastering the peasants. Closer examination reveals the fallacy of regarding the nobility, or indeed the peasants and any other section of society, as a homogeneous, undifferentiated group with uniform aims and interests.

Such ideas were often not to be found within the pages 38 Theory 39 of learned treatises, but in state papers, private correspondence and the ‘political testaments’ drawn up to instruct future rulers. Finally, the categories that structure our thought today were frequently understood differently in the past. Modern political science makes extensive use of binary opposites to define the range of possible systems and ideas, including monarchy versus republic and despotism versus freedom. The theorists and political actors of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries constructed their discussions differently.

The spread of Emergence 19 gunpowder technology during the later fifteenth century, combined with the introduction of other improved infantry weapons, changed the way wars were fought. In place of the aristocratic armoured knight, the battlefield was now dominated by large masses of common footsoldiers employing the new pikes and firearms in disciplined formations. These tactical and technological changes increased the scale and cost of warfare as skilled expertise and scarce resources were required, particularly with respec to the heavy cannon needed to counter improvements in fortification techniques.

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