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Introduction

Europe is demarcated in several regions namely, Eastern Europe, South-Eastern Europe, East Central Europe and Central Europe. All these regions had some profound monarchies in the seventeenth century some of which lasted long while others were overtaken by a defeat. There are many explanations that can be put across to explain the reasons why some seventeenth-century monarchs of Europe succeeded in evolving absolute rule while others in the same region failed. These explanations are as discussed in details in the essay below as deduced from the provided readings, and the developed arguments are supported with relevant examples from the readings.

The first explanation is the religious orientation of the monarchs. In connection with religion, many monarchies whose leaders and followers professed Roman Catholicism were very powerful and thus prospered in mounting absolute rule. This is so because the Roman Church had its territories that enabled it to rebuke the rulers considered crooked and who did not follow the right policies. For this reason, many leaders transformed to Catholicism to avoid scrutiny by the church. A good example of such a situation is when Bohemia ruler, the famous Rastislav, changed to a Christian in the year 863 (Legacy. Fordham). Similarly, the Germans were forced to convert by Charlemagne the King ruling the Franks after they were conquered with an aim of asserting the power and the influence of the Catholic Church. On the other hand, Duke Mieszko the found of PIAST dynasty of Poland transformed to Christianity in the year 966 (Legacy. Fordham). Some scholars suggest that the reason behind his conversion was because his wife was a Christian. However, the chief reason for transforming was to obtain the support of the Pope against the Lords of Germany who was getting into his territory on the excuse of transforming pagans (Sherman and Joyce, 224).

The second explanation of the success of some monarchs and failure of others in evolving absolute rule is their aggression, toughness, mercilessness and pronounced ambitions. The monarchs who possessed these qualities were able to evolve absolute rule over their monarchies. A good example of the readings is reflected through the life of Peter the Great. He is portrayed as overly ambitious, aggressive, tough and merciless (Legacy. Fordham). This can be seen from the way he punished the insurgents of his monarchy where he ordered the hanging of two hundred and fifty insurgents. This was geared, as he said, to ascertain to all individuals about the holiness and inviolable nature of the walls that surrounded the city that the insurgents were for invasion attempt. The same character is evident from Catherine the Great who is presented as being ambitious because of the way she pursued her undertakings with stubbornness.

The third explanation for successful monarchs was the tendency of these leaders to reform the existing laws and establishing new codes. They made sure that the established law codes are in line with their character and conviction. A good example of such a monarch is Catherine the Great. She reformed the process of justice administration and fortified the laws (Legacy. Fordham). She then adopted policies that were established on Machiavellianism, which suited her leadership style (Legacy. Fordham). Through the establishment of new rules, these leaders were able to pursue their absolute rule successfully by bringing all the subjects into one page and enabling them to judge each other in accordance with the law. To further maintain her absolute rule, Catherine encouraged the flourishing of arts and science within the empire, and she facilitated the undertaking of vital projects for domestic economy growth (Legacy. Fordham). This way, she was able to ensure the success of an absolute rule in her empire.

The fourth explanation is the presence of a strong army and troops. A strong army and well-trained troops were vital in holding back any invasion as well as conquering many new territories. A good example of this scenario from the readings is the Prussian troops in Frederick William’s monarchy who have been portrayed as being clean, orderly and very effective in executing their missions. These soldiers were large in number and were directed to combat by the king himself in person, and nobody else could direct. Through this, the monarch was able to evolve his absolute rule successfully. As a result of well-organized troops of Prussia, Frederick II was able to expand his dominions the major one being the seizure of Silesia, which was under Austria (Legacy. Fordham). This too was a way of ensuring that his development of absolute rule succeeded.

The fifth way in which monarchs developed their absolute rule successfully was demanding for a total subordination of the civil servants to monarch. Ranging from the highest to the lowest, the civil servants had to proclaim their loyalty to the monarch. They also had to obey the king unquestionably with uniformity, a situation that promoted professionalism and solidarity hence the success in evolving absolute power. A good example is in Isaac Isaacson monarchy of Prussia where the servants had a uniform that they wore whenever at service as a reminder that they are subject to the king (Legacy. Fordham).

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are several explanations that can be put forward to explain why the development of absolute rule of some monarchs of the seventeenth century succeeded while others failed. Some of these explanations are; the religious orientation, personal character, the tendency of reforming laws, the presence of strong army troops and demand for total subordination of the servants. All these explanations and their supporting examples are extensively discussed in the above essay.

References

Legacy.fordham.edu. ‘Modern History Sourcebook: Catherine the Great’. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Feb. 2015.

Legacy.fordham.edu. ‘Modern History Sourcebook: Luise Gottsched: Description of the Empress Maria Theresa, 1749’. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Feb. 2015.

Legacy.fordham.edu. ‘Modern History Sourcebook: Peter the Great and the Rise of Russia, 1682-1725’. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Feb. 2015.

Legacy.fordham.edu. ‘Modern History Sourcebook: The Decline of the Holy Roman Empire and the Rise of Prussia, 1700-1786’. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Feb. 2015.

Legacy.fordham.edu. ‘Modern History Sourcebook: The Division of Poland, 1772, 1793, 1795’. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 Feb. 2015.

Sherman, Dennis, and Joyce E Salisbury. The West in the World. New York: McGraw Hill, 2014. Print.

 

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