The Dimension of the King in the XVII century
The 17th century was one of the most tumultuous periods in British history-years of Civil war, assassination attempts, usurpations, national disaster and revolution. Moreover, major changes could be noticed in political, religious and economic aspect. And we are going to relate important events to you, which have really influenced the British Empireand France.
At the beginning of the 17th century, kings were considered as a representation of godly authority. They exercised a manner of divine power on earth: “The state of monarchy. . . is the supremest thing upon earth: for Kings are not only God’s lieutenants upon earth, and sit upon throne, but even by God himself they are called Gods.” - King James I
To dispute what God might do isblasphemy, so it is sedition for subjects to dispute what a king might do. At that time, the political system was therefore the absolutism. However the deeply figure of the king changed over the 17th century in England and later in France.
In the first half of the seventeenth century, the kings of England sought to impose an absolute monarchy, while the parliament was traditionally associated withthe country's government since the creation of the Magna Carta Libertum which gave to the English people liberties. This caused a civil war between royalists and parliamentarians, which ended with Charles I’s execution in 1649.(It was the first execution of a King in Europe).
Cromwell was a key player of the civil war which had shaped modern British government .The struggle between a king whoclaimed to rule by divine right and the Parliament who claimed the right to govern the nation in behalf of the people lasted from 1642 to 1651. On May 1649, Cromwell proclaimed the Republic: Monarchy was abolished. But, as a matter of fact, relations deteriorated between the Parliament and the army. Cromwell returned parliamentarians and established a new Council of State of his party and a newParliament, but his members were this time appointed by the State Council and Cromwell became the lord protector of the state. He established a military dictatorship; he had as much power as kings had in the past. He dissolved himself the Parliament many times: "Well, I, or rather the Lord, we have had it. I will end your speech. It suits neither the interests of these nations, nor the public good,that you were on here longer. I therefore declare that I dissolved Parliament.” -Cromwell.
On the death of Cromwell, monarchy was restored by Charles II in 1630. He was also an adept of the absolute monarchy and believed to the divine right. So, in 1679, Parliament passed the Habeas Corpus Act, which guaranteed individual freedom and protected against arbitrary arrests and detentions. In 1685, theKing James II tried again to restore the absolute monarchy. Before becoming king, he announced that he wanted to govern without Parliament. He harshly repressed the uprisings caused by his coronation, and once in power, he sought to control the army. The restoration of a hereditary monarchy on English soil became reality after the birth of son James. The Parliament was still opposed and forced toleave the country. It was the beginning of the Glorious Revolution.
Later William of Orange was crowned. He accepted the Bill of Rights which defined the new constitutional system of England. It severely limited the powers of the king and increased those of Parliament. Royal authority was then controlled by the Parliament and bounded by an Act of people. So, the figure of the king evolved from aholy character to a simple human being who could be judged and executed like any other man the seventeenth century, the political power of the Parliament in England, and the Monarchy in France increased greatly.
First of all, what is quite certain is that, the 17th century was eventful from beginning to end, as religious conflicts often occurred.
In the British Empire, an Anglican: A member...
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