Absolutism in Central Europe (Historical Connections) by Peter Wilson

By Peter Wilson

Absolutism in critical Europe is set the shape of eu monarchy referred to as absolutism, the way it was once outlined by means of contemporaries, the way it emerged and constructed, and the way it has been interpreted by way of historians, political and social scientists. This e-book investigates how students from a spread of disciplines have outlined and defined political improvement throughout what used to be previously referred to as the 'age of absolutism'. It assesses even if the time period nonetheless has application as a device of study and it explores the broader ramifications of the method of state-formation from the adventure of relevant Europe from the early 17th century to the beginning of the 19th.

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Sample text

The critique concentrates on the two fundamental elements of supposed class solidarity and the consolidation of noble power. Though they did grant their ruler new taxes in 1653, the Brandenburg nobility remained opposed to the idea of a standing army and state service. Long after the permanence of both the army and its funding arrangements had become established, many Brandenburg nobles refused to serve in it or assist in its recruitment. Frederick William and his three immediate successors relied heavily on nobles born outside their domains to provide essential expertise, particularly while absolutism was being established during the later seventeenth century: French Huguenot refugees accounted for fully onethird of all army officers in 1689.

The constant interaction of these pressures is best understood as a bargaining process, as different forces, states, groups and individuals collaborated and competed with one another. Bargain-ing too needs to be considered in its widest sense, involving not only formal channels like the territorial estates or courts of law, but active and passive informal pressure, such as popular protest, revolts and religious nonconformity. The language of the bargaining process could also be cryptic and opaque, as both the next chapter and the later section on the absolutist court will illustrate.

Where prices were high and peasants had access to markets, small-scale commercial farming could develop. Brenner regarded this ‘petty commodity production’ as crucial to capitalism’s development, because the emergence of a ‘middling sort’ of yeoman farmers caused tensions within peasant communities. As village solidarity broke down, enterprising lords were able to consolidate their estates at the expense of the marginalised, weaker peasants and engage in large-scale commercial farming. This took off in 28 Emergence Britain, but remained stalled in France and elsewhere due to the nature of political developments, including absolutism.

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