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SP CH.15 PT3 Pg.

Absolutism in Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe
I. During the 17thc Prussia, Austria, and Russia appeared as growing powers in
Eastern Europe
The German States
I. The Peace of Westphalia, which ended the 30 Years’ War in 1648, left each of
the states in the HRE virtually autonomous and sovereign. There was no longer a
German Empire but 300 little Germanies.
The Rise of Brandenburg-Prussia
I. The evolution of Brandenburg into a powerful state was largely the work of
Hohenzollern dynasty, which in 1415 had come to rule the principality in
northeastern Germany.
A. In 1609, the H inherited some lands in the Rhine valley in western
Germany, 9 years later they received the duchy of Prussia.
B. By the 17thc, the dominions of the house of H, now called B-P,
consisted of 3 disconnected masses in western, central, and eastern
Germany; only the H ruler connected them
II. The foundation for the P state was laid by Frederick William the Great Elector,
who came to power in the midst of the 30YW. Realizing that B-P was small, open
territory with no natural defense, FW built a standing army.
A. By 1678, he possessed a force of 40thou men that took over 50% of the
state’s revenues.
B. To sustain the army and his own power, FW established the General
War Commissariat to levy taxes for the army and oversea its growth and
training. The GWC evolved into an agency for civil government as well.
C. Directly responsible to the elector, the new bureaucratic machine
became his chief instrument for governing the state. Many of its officials
were members of the Prussian landed aristocracy, the Junkers, who also
served as officers in the army
III. The nobles’ support of FW’s policies derived from the tacit agreement that he
made with them to eliminate their power in their Estates-General.
A. In return for a free hand in running the government, he gave the nobles
almost unlimited power over their peasants, exempted nobles from
taxation, and awarded them the highest ranks in the army and the GWC
w/the understanding that they would not challenge his political control.
B. The nobles were allowed to appropriate their land and bind them to the
soil as serfs. Serfdom was not new in B-P, but FW reinforced it through
his concessions to the nobles.
IV. To Build B-P economy, FW followed mercantilist policies using high tariffs,
subsidies, and monopolies for manufacturers to stimulate domestic industry and
the construction of roads and canals. At the same time however, he continued to
favor the interests of the nobility at the expense of the commercial and industrial
middle class in towns.
V. FW laid the groundwork for the P state; his son Frederick III made one further
contribution: in return for aiding the HRE in the War of the Spanish Succession,
he was officially granted the title of king-in-Prussia.
A. Thus was Elector FIII transformed into King FI
The Emergence of Austria
I. The Austrian Habsburgs had long played a significant role in E politics as HR
Emperors, but by the end of the 30YW, the Hab hopes of creating an empire in
Germany had been dashed.
II. In the 17thc, the house of Austria had made an important transition; the G
empire was lost, but a new empire was created in east and southeast E
III. The nucleus of the new A empire remained the traditional A hereditary
possessions: Lower and Upper A, Cartinthia, Carniola, Styria, and Tyrol.
A. To these had been added the kingdom of Bohemia and parts of
northwest Hungary in the 16thc
IV. In the 17thc, Leopold I encouraged the eastward movement of the A Empire,
but he was sorely challenged by the revival of the Ottoman Empire in the 17thc.
A. Having moved into Transylvania, the O eventually pushed westward
and laid siege to Vienna in 1683.
B. A E army, led by the A, counterattacked and decisively defeated the O
in 1687.
C. By the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699, A took control of Hungary,
Transylvania, Croatia, and Slovenia, thus establishing an AE in
southeastern E.
V. At the end of the War of the Spanish Succession, A gained possession of the
Spanish Netherlands and received formal recognition of its occupation of the S
possessions in Italy (Milan, Mantua, Sardinia, Naples)
A. By the beginning of the 18thc, the house of A had acquired an empire
of considerable size
VI. The A monarchy, never became a highly centralized state, primarily b/c it
included so many national groups.
A. The AE remained a collection of territories held together by a personal
B. The H emperor was archduke of A, king of Bohemia, and king of
Hungary. Each of these areas had their own laws, Estates-General, and
political life.
C. The landed aristocrats throughout the empire were connected by a
common bond of service to the house of H, as military officers or
government bureaucrats, but no other common sentiment tied the regions
Italy: From Spanish to Austrian Rule
I. By 1530, Emperor Charles V had managed to defeat the French armies in Italy
and become the arbiter of Italy.
A. Initially, he was content to establish close ties w/many native Italian
rulers and allow them to rule, provided that they recognize his dominant
B. In 1540, he gave the duchy of Milan to his son Philip II and transferred
all imperial rights over Italy to the S monarchy
II. From the beginning of PII reign in 1559 until 1713, the S presence was felt
everywhere in Italy.
A. Only Florence, the Papal States, and Venice managed to maintain
relatively independent policies.
B. At the same time, the influence of the papacy became oppressive in
Italy as the machinery of the Catholic Counter-Reformation—the
Inquisition, the Index, and Jesuits—was used to stifle all resistance to the
Catholic orthodoxy created by the Council of Trent
III. At the beginning of the 18thc, Italy suffered further from the struggles b/w
France and Spain.
A. It was A, not France, that benefited most from the WOFTSS. By
gaining Milan, Mantua, Sardinia, and Naples, A supplanted S as the
dominate power in Italy
Russia: From Fledgling Principality to Major Power
I. A new Russian state had emerged in the 15thc under the leadership of the
principality of Moscow and its grand dukes. In the 16thc, Ivan IV the Terrible
expanded the territories of R eastward after finding westward expansion blocked
by Swedish and Polish states.
A. Ivan also extended the autocracy of the tsar by crushing the power of
the R nobility, known as the boyars
B. Ivan’s dynasty came to an end in 1598 and was followed by a
resurgence of aristocratic power in a period of anarchy known as the Time
of Troubles. It did not end until the Zemsky Sobor, or national assembly,
chose Michael Romanov as the new tsar, beginning a dynasty that would
last until 1917.
II. In the 17thc, Muscovite society was high stratified. At the top was the tsar,
who claimed to be divinely ordained autocratic ruler.
A. R society was dominated by an upper class of landed aristocrats who,
in the course of the 17thc, managed to bind their peasants to the land. An
abundance of land and a shortage of peasants made serfdom desirable to
the landowners. Townspeople were also controlled.
B. Many merchants were not allowed to move from their cities w/o
government permission or to sell their businesses to anyone outside their
C. In the 17thc, merchant and peasant revolts as well as a schism in the R
Orthodox church created very unsettled conditions.
D. In the midst of these political and religious upheavals, 17thc Moscow
was experiencing more frequent contacts w/the west, and western ideas
were beginning to penetrate a few R circles.
The Reign of Peter the Great (1689-1725)
I. Peter gained a firsthand account of the west when he made a trip there in 1697-
1698 and returned to R w/a firm determination to westernize.
A. Peter’s policy of Europeanization was largely technical. He admired E
technology and desired to transplant it to R. Only this kind of
modernization could give him the army and navy he needed to make R a
great power.
II. One of his 1st priorities was the reorganization of the army and creating a navy.
A. He conscripted peasants for 25-year stints of service to build a standing
army of 210,000 men. He created the 1st R navy.
III. Peter reorganized the central government, partly along western lines.
A. In 1711, he created the Senate to supervise the administrative
machinery of the state while he was away on military campaigns. The
Senate became a ruling council, but its ineffectiveness caused Peter to
borrow the western institution of boards of administrators entrusted
w/specific functions, such as foreign affairs, war, and justice.
B. To impose the rule of the central government more effectively
throughout the land, Peter divided R into 8 provinces and later, in 1719,
into 50.
C. Although he hoped to create a well-ordered community governed in
accordance w/law, few of his bureaucrats shared his concept of honest
service and duty to the state. Peter hoped for a sense of civic duty, but his
own forceful personality created an atmosphere that prevented it.
IV. To further his administrative aims, Peter demanded that all members of the
landholding class serve in either military or civil offices.
V. In 1722, Peter instituted the Table of Ranks to create opportunities for
nonnobles to serve the state and join the nobility.
A. All noble offices were according to 14 levels; a parallel list of 14 grades
were also created for military offices. Every official was then required to
begin at level 1 and work his way up his way up the ranks. When a
nonnoble reached level 8, he attained noble status.
B. This attempt by Peter to create a new nobility based on merit was not
carried on by his successors.
VI. In order to pay for army and navy, Peter adopted mercantilist policies to
stimulate economic growth. He tried to increase exports and develop new
industries while exploiting domestic resources like the iron mines in the Urals.
A. But his military spending was so high that he reverted back to the old
way of raising taxes, imposing additional burdens on the peasants, who
were becoming increasingly oppressed.
VII. Peter also tried to gain control of the R Orthodox Church.
A. In 1721, he abolished the position of patriarch and created a body
called the Holy Synod to make decisions for the church. At its head stood
a procurator, a layman who represented the interests of the tsar and
assured Peter of effective domination of the church
VIII. One group of people benefited from Peter’s cultural reforms—women. Peter
shattered the seclusion of upper-class R women and demanded that they remove
the traditional veils that covered their faces.
A. He decreed that social gatherings be held 3 times/week where men and
women could mix for conversation, card games, and dancing. He also
insisted that women could marry of their own free will.
Russia as a Military Power
I. The object of Peter’s domestic reforms was to make R into a great state and
military power. He wanted to create a port to the rest of E. This could only be
achieved through the Baltic, which was controlled by Sweden at the time.
A. W/the support of Poland and Denmark, Peter attacked Sweden in 1700
believing that the king, Charles XII, could be defeated.
B. Charles defeated the Danes and Poles, and routed the R army of 40,000
at the Battle of Narva. The Great Northern War soon began.
C. Peter reorganized his army along western lines at the Battle of Poltava
in 1709 and defeated Charles’s army.
D. The Peace of Nystadt in 1721 gave formal recognition to what Peter
had already achieved, the acquisition of Estonia, Livonia, and Karelina.
E. Sweden became a 2nd rate power, and R was now the great E state that
Peter wanted
II. Early in the war, in the northern marshlands along the Baltic, Peter began to
construct a new city, Saint Petersburg.
A. Its construction cost the lives of thousands of peasants, but it was
completed in Peter’s lifetime.
B. It remained the R capital until 1917
III. Peter modernized and westernized R to the extent that it became a great
military power, and by the time of his death, an important member of the E state
system. But his policies were also detrimental to R.
A. Westernization only reached the upper classes, and the real object of the
reforms, the creation of a strong military, only added more burdens to the
R people.
B. The forceful way Peter imposed western civilization on his people led
them to accept westernization but distrust it.
The Great Northern States
I. The Baltic Sea bestowed special importance on the lands surrounding it.
II. In the 16thc, Sweden had broken its ties w/Denmark and emerged as an
independent state.
III. Despite their common religion, D and S territorial ambitions in northern E
kept them in almost constant rivalry in the 17thc
I. Under Christian IV, D seemed a likely candidate for expansion, but it met
w/little success.
A. The system of electing monarchs forced the kings to share power
w/nobility, who exercised strict control over the peasants who worked
their lands.
B. D ambitions for ruling the B were curtailed by the loses sustained in the
30YW and the later Northern War w/Sweden
C. Military loses led to a constitutional crisis in which a meeting of D
Estates brought to pass a bloodless revolution in 1660.
D. The power of the nobility was curtailed, a hereditary monarchy was
established, and a new absolutist constitution was proclaimed in 1665.
II. Under Christian V, a centralized administration was instituted w/nobility as the
chief officeholders.
I. S economy was weak, and the monarchy was still locked in conflict w/powerful
II. During the reign of Gustavus Adolphus, his chief minister, Axel Oxenstierna,
persuaded him to adopt a new policy in which the nobility formed a “First Estate”
occupying the bureaucratic positions of an expanded central government.
A. This created a stable monarchy and freed the king to raise an army and
participate in the 30YW
III. S entered a period of political crisis after the death of GA. His daughter’s
tendency to favor the interests of the nobility led the other estates of the Riksdag,
S parliament—the burghers, clergy, and peasants—to protest.
A. In 1654, tired of ruling and wishing to become Cath, Christina
abdicated and gave the throne to her cousin, King Charles X. His
accession to the throne defused a peasant revolt against the nobility.
IV. Charles X reestablished domestic order, but it was Charles XI who build the S
monarchy along the lines of absolute monarchy.
A. By resuming control of the crown lands and the revenues attached to
them from the nobility, Charles managed to weaken the independent
power of the nobility.
B. He built up bureaucracy, subdued both the Riksdag and the church,
improved the army and the navy, and left his son, Charles XII, a well-
organized S state that dominated northern E.
V. Charles XII was primarily interested in military affairs.
A. By the time he died in 1718, S had lost much of its empire to northern
The Ottoman Empire
I. From 1480 to 1520, internal problems and the need to consolidate their eastern
frontiers kept the OE from invading E
II. The reign of Sultan Suleiman I the Magnificent brought the Turk’s back to E
attention. Advancing up the Danube, they seized Belgrade in 1521 and Hungary in
1526. At the same time, they extended their power over the Med.
III. By the beginning of the 17thc, the OE was treated just like any other E power.
A. It possessed a highly effective governmental system
B. Ottoman politics periodically degenerated into bloody intrigues as
factions fought each other for influence and the throne. Despite the
periodic bouts of civil chaos, a well-trained bureaucracy of civil servants
continued to administer state affairs efficiently.
C. A well-organized military system also added to the strength of the OE.
Especially outstanding were the Janissaries, composed of Christian boys
who had been taken from their parents, converted to Islam, and subjected
to military discipline to form an elite core of troops personally loyal to the
IV. By 1683, the OE had marched through the Hungarian plain and laid siege to
Vienna, they retreated and were pushed out of Hungary by a new European
coalition. They would never again be a threat to E
The Limits of Absolutism
I. There power was far from absolute, and they didn’t control the lives of their
subjects. In 1700, government for most people still meant the local institutions
that affected their lives: local courts, local tax collectors, and local organizers of
armed forces.
A. Kings and ministers might determine policies and issue guidelines, but
they still had to function through local agents and had no guarantee that
their wishes would be carried out. Many groups limited what they could
B. The most successful rulers were not those who tried to destroy the old
system but rather those like Louis XIV, who used the old system to their
C. The landed aristocracy played an important role in the E monarchical