Absolute Monarchs Essay, Research Paper
An absolute monarch is a ruler whose power is unlimited, this is known as absolutism. This essay will discuss the characteristics of absolutism and how they affected 17th century absolute monarchs.
The characteristics of absolutism can be defined as follows. The monarch rules by divine right and decides what is best for the state, this is the basic principle of absolutism. The ruler holds unlimited power and individuals are subjects owing loyalty and obedience to the monarch. The ruler encourages industry and trade to strengthen the economy. The two 17th century absolute monarchs that this essay will focus on were Louis XIV of France, and Peter the Great of Russia.
The first monarch to be covered is Louis XIV; the most powerful absolute monarch of his time and the most powerful absolute monarch in French history. His power was so great that each morning at 7:30 a.m. 100 nobles stood waiting to help him dress for the day. Thousand of lesser nobles would stand outside his bed chamber hoping to get a glance or a nod from their king. Louis XIV ruled brilliantly from 1643 to 1715. With Prime Minister Colbert, Louis brought about the administrative and financial reorganization as well as the development of trade and manufacturing. With the Marquis de Louvois, he reformed the army and racked up many military victories. Louis also encouraged an extraordinary blossoming of culture: theater, music, architecture, painting, sculpture, and all the sciences.
Secondly, Modern Russia started with the rule of Peter I, an absolute monarch, also known as Peter the Great. He ruled from 1682 to 1725. Peter realized that Russia should be westernized to ensure its independence. Already showing his supreme intelligence by creating new mechanical inventions, he studied government and business models of the West. He learned ship building from the Europeans, and built a ship for himself which he captained. In 1697 he visited Europe in disguise as a carpenter. Peter captured the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea from the Swedes and built a new capital, St. Petersburg, on its shores, ensuring a continual contact with the West.
The rulers of 17th century absolute monarchies ruled brilliantly, but too much power brought about the end of their reigns. Louis XIV and Peter I both were highly respected rulers because of the amount of power they had and the enormous prosperity induced by their social, economical, and militaristic genius. Absolutism was the determining factor in the success of these two rulers.