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1HIST 102 Chapter 16 Review Questions and Making ConnectionsReview Questions

1. How “absolute” was the power of Louis XIV?

a. Louis XIV personified the idea of an absolutist ruler, as he made all important decisions alone, snuffed out all opposition, and even went so far as to say, “I am the state”. However, he was just like other rulers in the sense that he still depended to some extent on the cooperation of local officials, peasants and artisans who made up the army and paid taxes, clergymen who preached his religion, and nobles who joined court festivities and did not cause trouble at home.

2. What differences over religion and politics caused the conflict between king and parliament in England?

a. The king and parliament in England disputed about the right to levy taxes and the nature of authority in the Church of England. Civil war broke out when Charles I tried to assert his authority over parliament. Additionally, Charles seemed to be a “closet catholic” which agitated the mostly puritan populace.

3. Why did constitutionalism thrive in the Dutch Republic and the British North American colonies, even as their participation in the slave trade grew?

a. Various slave codes were instituted where African slaves were stripped of their rights, made to be property, and legally powerless, allowing them to be viewed in a light of something not alike a citizen. Therefore, the benefits of constitutionalism only applied to Europeans, who were truly citizens of both the Dutch Republic and the colonies. Additionally, scientific theories at the time hypothesized that Africans were intrinsically different from white men and therefore it was not immoral to subjugate African slaves.

4. Why did absolutism flourish everywhere in eastern Europe except Poland-Lithuania?

a. Poland-Lithuania experienced a long crisis that destroyed (virtually) the central state authority. In Poland-Lithuania’s version of constitutionalism, great nobles each had an absolute veto power which deadlocked parliamentary government and took away the monarchy’s room to maneuver and its power.

5. How did elite and popular culture become more separate in the seventeenth century?

a. Elites distinguished themselves from lower classes by establishing and developing new codes of correct behavior and teaching order and discipline to their social inferiors. Upper classes began to evolve new aristocratic ideals of entertainment, disdaining all that was lowly such as popular festivals, fairs, and clowns, and preferring private theaters. A key divider, however, was the development of manners by the elite class.


1. What accounts for the success of absolutism in some parts of Europe and its failure in others?

a. There are multiple components which dictated the subsequent success of absolutism or constitutionalism: popular religion and the king’s religion, taxation and army recruitment, civil wars, and political participation precedence. Often a schism between the king’s religion and the popular religion of the people could lead to civil war which led the people to assert themselves and start down the path to constitutionalism, which higher taxation and a king’s increased zeal for war could also bring about. Additionally, the historical precedence for central power or the power of the people could help determine the success of absolutism (Such as in the Dutch Republic where tolerance and free thinking was supported, so too was constitutionalism supported).

2. How did religious differences in the late seventeenth century still cause political conflict?

a. Religious differences in the late seventeenth century caused plenty of political conflict. Some examples include: Louis XIV was called the “Christian Turk” for his imperialist character as also a slur against his leaning towards Catholicism (he disliked Protestantism). In fact, he disliked it so much, he revoked the Edict of Nantes. Following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, protestant European countries were shocked and would go on to cite this as a justification of war against Louis XIV.

b. In English parliament divisions between a catholic king and a puritan populace and parliament led to a civil war, in which even the parliament side had infighting between Presbyterians and independents. Later on, two opposing parties, the Whigs and the Tories, held their own religious and political ideas (once again intermingling political and religious beliefs) that caused conflict in parliament.

3. What were the chief differences between eastern and western Europe in this period?

a. Western Europe consisted of independent farmers (who served as agents to a noble landlord), small landowners and tenant farmers, and rural workers, where as eastern Europe’s vast majority of citizens were serfs who did not own land in their own right. In terms of politics in Europe, absolutism was favored for longer in the west, whereas constitutionalism was favored in the east.

4. Why was the search for order a major theme in science, politics, and the arts during this period?

a. As the book directly states, “most Europeans feared disorder among all else”. The years of religious infighting and the political struggle between absolutist and constitutionalist government led many to seek order in areas that they could find some control- science, arts, and, where constitutionalism begins to take root, politics.

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