Lecture 2 - Absolutism and the State

author: John Merriman, Department of History, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: April 16, 2010,   recorded: September 2008,   views: 6627
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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The rise of absolutism in Europe must be understood in the context of insecurity attending the religious wars of the first half of the seventeenth century, and the Thirty Years' War in particular. Faced with the unprecedented brutality and devastation of these conflicts, European nobles and landowners were increasingly willing to surrender their independence to the authority of a single, all-powerful monarch in return for guaranteed protection. Among the consequences of this consolidation of state power were the formation of large standing armies and bureaucratic systems, the curtailment of municipal privileges, and the birth of international law.

Reading assignment:

Merriman, John. A History of Modern Europe: From the Renaissance to the Present, pp. 261-306

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