Absolutism & Constitutionalism in Europe
Home Page - 10 Most Important Events

Outline of Topic

Important People Picture Gallery

Guestbook Page

Timeline of 30 Most Important Events

Our Links

Ten Most Important People 1-7

Ten Most Important People 8-10



Rise of ...

Welcome To Our Project Website for World History Class.
The purpose of this website is to inform all people on the era of Absolutism & Constitutionalism in Europe. This site has been set up by two sophomore students at Springboro High School (OH). We are Zach Lewis & Matt Kowaleski. Hopefully you like the site and can use all of the information available. Thank You.

To the left you see famed King Louis XIV of France. One of the most influencial people of this time
Top Ten Events During the Time Period

1)Seven Years' War -
When Frederick the Great inherited the throne of Prussia, his country began to emerge as a threat to other countries. The emergence of Prussia as a major world power began to change the balance of power throughout Europe beginning rivalries among the nations. Frederick's first obligation on the throne of Prussia was to expand the country's territory. This expansion came at the expense of Austria. Frederick captured the province of Silesia. This began the War of the Austrian Succession. Prussia gained victory in this war which intensified the rivalries among the nations all leading to a standoff between them, the Seven Years' War. During this war Great Britain supported Prussia, and the countries of Russia and France supported Austria. Frederick's forces won battles in Saxony in 1757, which prevented the Austrians from taking Silesia. Fighting erupted in North America after Frederick's army was defeated by Austrian and Russian forces. These battles fought in North America were called The French the Indian War. The British forces, however, defeated the French in America. Fighting between the British and France then moved to India. The leadership of William Pitt the Elder, secretary of state, and British commander, Robert Clive helped Britain gain victory in India and establish Britain as the greatest sea power in the world. King George had little desire to continue and The Seven Year's War ended with the Treaty of Paris of 1763 with no clear victor.

2)The Glorious Revolution -
Charles II learned a lesson from his father, Charles I, about having to accept Parliament as a part of decision making in the government, but his brother, James II, never did. James II was a strong believer in absolutism and had little use for Parliament. James had two daughters, Mary and Anne, with his first wife who were both raised as Protestants under the decision making of Charles II. Both of his daughters married Protestant princes as well. James' first wife died and James married again. His new wife, Mary of Modena, and he were both Catholic and their decisions were put forth in order to ease the life for the Catholics. Many in Parliament feared a long line of Catholic rule on the English throne when James and his wife had a son in 1688. After this had occurred, a group of nobles and Parliamentary leaders deposed James II in what was known as the Glorious Revolution. Whigs and Tories united with their fear of Catholicism and agreed that James II must abdicate the throne. The leader of the nobles then invited James daughter, Mary, and her husband William of Orange to head the throne.

3)William of Orange and Mary: Their acceptance of the English Bill of Rights -
Before William and Mary could ascend to the throne of England they had to accept the English Bill of Rights. This acceptance of this bill gave the peoples certain fundamental rights that could not be taken away by the king. Such rights included the right to complain to the king without the fear of being punished among other freedoms. This was the first major step towards making Parliament and the king work together to lead the nation of England in a new governmental philosophy of constitutional monarchy. The establishment of this also put Parliament's say over the monarch greater so Parliament could have some control over how powerful the king would become. As Parliament began to establish itself as a representative body, it eventually prevented the establishment of absolute rule in England.

4)The Edict of Nantes Revocation -
The problems that had arisen with the Huguenots have gone all the way back to the reign of Richelieu. During this time period, Richelieu believed that the provisions of the Edict of Nantes which allowed the Huguenots to control fortified cities were politically dangerous. With these cities occupied with the Huguenots, it made a strong centralized government virtually impossible. Richelieu took away certain rights of the Huguenots not allowing them to run fortified cities. Richelieu did, however, give the Huguenots some rights such as to hold public office, attend schools, and to worship freely. However, when Louis XIV took over power in France these rights would not be recognized. Louis XIV was concerned about the fact that France had no religious unity and wanted to control this in his country so his government could be more unified. So, consequently, in 1685, Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes. This ended the policy of having to tolerate the Protestants in France. As a result of this revocation, over 200,000 Huguenots, or Protestants, fled France taking their wealth and skills with them. This fleeing would inevitably hurt France in the long run.

5)War of the Austrian Succession -
One of Frederick the Great's first obligation as the King of Prussia was to expand Prussia's borders. This came at the expense of Maria Theresa and her country of Austria. Frederick seized the province of Silesia once occupied by Austria. He offered Empress Mary Theresa and alliance with Prussia. He also offered to vote her husband William of Orange in the upcoming election for the office of the Holy Roman Emperor. With Maria’s rejection to this offer began the War of the Austrian Succession. Soon after this was established, Bavaria, Spain, Saxony, and France joined Prussia in the war against Austria. This alliance of nations was too much for Austria to bear, so Maria Theresa was forced to sign a peace treaty with Frederick, giving him the province of Silesia. After this had occurred, this made Prussia a powerful nation disrupting the balance of power in Europe eventually leading to the Severn Years' War.

6)Peter the Great (Westernization) -
In 1682, Peter the Great ascended to the throne. His all-time goal was to make Russia great and powerful. The only way to accomplish this in his mind was to travel to Europe and learn the ways of the western people. He left for Europe in 1697 and disguised himself as a private citizen. He traveled throughout Europe learning and buying whatever he could to make Russia great. Working in a Dutch shipyard, Peter learned of shipbuilding. He also talked to people about their tax system. When Peter returned to his country, he brought back many western artisans and experts and began a program of "Westernization." By reforming his military he was able to defeat Sweden in 1709 and by 1721, Peter had gained access to the Baltic Sea. The Baltic is where Peter built his new capital of St. Petersburg. Peter also defeated the Turks opening his way to the Black Sea. As popular as Peter was with foreign affairs, he wasn't as popular with his internal reforms. The nobility rejected the reconstructing of the government and the Russian Orthodox Church objected to his interference with religious affairs. These reforms continued under his daughters, Elizabeth and Catherine the Great. Through the use of "Westernization" and absolutism, Peter the Great was able to make Russia a powerful nation.

7)The Thirty Years' War -
The Thirty Years' War began in 1618 as a result of conflicts between Protestants and Catholics following the Peace of Augsburg in 1555. These conflicts had never died down since the treaty in Germany. The war began in Prague when Protestant rebels threw two emissaries of the Holy Roman Empire out a castle window. This ended up in a rebellion and the emperor sent troops to suppress. The emperor defeated the King of Denmark. Sweden then became alarmed and took up their arms. Cardinal Richelieu favored the Swedes and was reluctant to join the war until other countries became weaker as a result of disease, fire, and plundering of soldiers. Many of the battles during the Thirty Years' War took place in Germany. France eventually joined and accomplished many of their aims by 1648. The war ended with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. The Austrian Habsburgs no longer paid attention in Germany and exercised their interests eastward.

8)War of the Spanish Succession -
The war of the Spanish Succession was Louis' last war he fought. This war was over which emperor would head the Spanish throne. In 1700, Louis tried to get his grandson Phillip of Anjou on the Spanish throne. Other European nations feared the possibility of Bourbon rulers in both Spain and France and went to war with Louis. The French were defeated around the world and Louis finally agreed to a settlement in 1713. Louis was forced to accept the Treaty of Utrecht and his grandson did not get the Spanish throne. Louis was also forced to give up much of his territory he had taken in Europe.

9)Establishment of St. Petersburg -
After the establishment of "Westernization" throughout the country of Russia, new policies began to be formed. These policies included the reform of the military. Once these reforms occurred, the military began to win battles against Sweden and the Turks. The win against Sweden enabled Russia to gain access to the Baltic Sea. On the Baltic Peter built the new capital of St. Petersburg. He called this newly found capital "the window to the west."

10)Division of Poland (Catherine the Great)-
Catherine the Great made great territorial gains in the west. These gains were largely at Poland's expense because Poland was large but weak. After the Seven Years' War, a period of peace descended across Europe. This period would not last long, however, and many European monarchs became eager to expand their territories. Catherine the Great was one of these monarchs. In 1772, the three nations of Prussia, Austria, and Russia began to take advantage of Poland and seize slices of the territory for themselves. This action was known as the First Partition of Poland. In the Second Partition of Poland in 1793, both Russia and Prussia took another part. Finally, in 1795 the Third Partition of Poland took place in which Poland completely disappeared from the map. Poland didn't reappear until the year of 1919.