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The Rise Of The Sovereignty Of The Peoples Of Europe And The Americas

1921 words - 8 pages

From the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, Europe went through a period of intense thorough transformation. Even though religious wars in Europe had ended by the end of the seventeenth century through the Treaty of Westphalia, Religion was not the only matter that generated conflict among Europeans. The intellectual atmosphere generated by the age of Enlightenment generated conflict with the Roman Catholic Church as well as with the Monarchial authorities because many European and Euro-American thinkers made use of reason to study the natural world as well as human behavior, doubting the fairness of their religious, economic, social, and political systems. As a result, many enlighten ...view middle of the document...

Jacques-Benigne Bossuet, one of the greatest preachers of the seventeenth century, claimed that royal authority, which is given by God, is paternal, absolute, and invincible. During the heyday of this theory, most people believed in a supreme God who had created the universe, and thus, seeing kings as divine creatures chosen by God to rule over His earth seemed logical. Jacques-Benigne Bossuet claimed that "the royal throne [was] not the throne of man, but the throne of God himself" (document 30, page 147). As a result, many people feared standing against the authority of the kings because they feared to be standing against the direct authority of God. Bossuet stated that “[kings did not need to] render account to anyone or the orders he gives" (document 30, page 148). Such idea strongly attracted the tsar Peter the Great, who in 25 years issued more than 3,000 decrees to westernize Russia. Even though Peter the Great gave some kind of autonomy to his subjects, such as allowing them to gain knowledge and freely exercise their religions, his decrees were absolute (document 31, page 151-152). Under the theory of Divine Right, kings could not be questioned and had to be obeyed. However, during the era where the human ability to reason was glorified, many people began to question God as the creator of the universe and developed and distributed ideas of autonomy and progress that threaten the traditional systems.
By the seventeenth century, the French and English monarchies were already facing challenges due to the cognizance of people who began to protest against the injustices of royal absolutism. All throughout the seventeenth century, England was in constant internal conflict “over religion, economic policies, foreign relations, and political issues that all centered on the fundamental question of Parliament’s place in England’s government” (preface document 32, page 153). The internal conflicts in England resulted in the formation of a new type of government known as Constitutionalism, which allowed authority to be shared with representative institutions such as the Parliament. In 1689, the English Bill of Rights was accepted, and in the document, the authors expressed their concern with political, economic, and mostly religious issues by exposing the injustices of the government regarding corruption, the standing army in time of peace, punishments, penalties, and other constraints (document 32, page 154-155). Just as in England, injustices were being made visible by other French philosophes such as Voltaire, who stated that the Roman Catholic Church should be separated from the government, and Jean Jacques Rousseau, who claimed that the relation between government and people had to be like a contract in which the government promises to protect the rights of people. Ideas like these and political revolutions in other areas of the world lead to the French Revolution, in which the revolutionary French fought to have their voices heard in a...

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