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Account for the introduction of Absolutism as a form of Government in Scandinavia in the mid-to-late Seventeenth Century.

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Introduction

Account for the introduction of Absolutism as a form of Government in Scandinavia in the mid-to-late Seventeenth Century. Euan MacRae 199827439 Early Modern Europe 1600-1714 30 234 Dr John Young Account for the introduction of Absolutism as a form of Government in Scandinavia in the mid-to-late Seventeenth Century. The Scandinavian period between 1650 and 1720 saw many changes. From the 1600 period onwards a trade crisis set in. The crisis deepened during the following decades and became a long-term slump, which only began to lessen around 1740. Absolutism in Denmark was a result of the lengthy political crisis and the state of emergency, which resulted from the last of the Karl Gustav wars against Sweden in 1657-60. In Sweden, Absolutism was to a certain extent, a natural development. This is through its Diet, the support that King Charles XI received from the public at that time and the King's own personality. This essay shall look to Sweden and Denmark in the Seventeenth Century and aim to show that while absolutism did exist in Scandinavia it did so through acceptance rather than force to a major extent. The structure of Society can account for the introduction of absolutism, as can the personality and beliefs of the respective Monarchs. The rulers of Denmark and Sweden during the latter half of the seventeenth Century had an integral role in absolutism forming in Scandinavia. ...read more.

Middle

After the introduction of Hereditary Monarchy we see another of Christopher Gabel's colleagues becoming very influential in the introduction of absolutism. Bishop Hans Svane, together with Hans Nansen put forward the renouncement of privileges that would mean the nobility would also have to do the same, thus decreasing the power of the nobility further. The influence of Gabel, Nansen and Svane was instrumental to the events that led to the King's law in 1665 and subsequently, the most important statement of Absolutism in early modern Europe. 5 The introduction of Absolutism in Sweden in the second half of the Seventeenth Century is significant in that it created a hugely successful and organised state in Europe, and allowed efficiency in areas of bureaucracy and the military. To examine absolutism in Sweden it is essential to look at the structure of representation at that time. In the 'Diet,' there existed four estates, each with distinct functions and rewards. Looking at the Diet from the highest to the lowest we start with the 'first estate of the nobility' that were the titled counts and barons within nobility, exempt from taxation and rich in crown lands. Just beneath existed the 'estate of the clergy', which were predominately University teachers, Bishops and Priests. The role of the Clergy was to educate and preach to Society, remaining secular and loyal to the King. ...read more.

Conclusion

His reign as an absolute monarch did not bring the stability that occurred in Sweden, nor did it totally address the financial crisis that had been one of the reasons for hereditary monarchy. Frederik seemed to stabilise absolutism through careful planning and the alienation of those who were in a position to challenge his authority. In Sweden it appears that absolutism was different in that Charles XI addressed the problems facing Sweden while ruling as an absolute monarch. The Diets in Sweden existed after the introduction of hereditary monarchy and it seemed more of a natural progression than forced absolutism. This can be seen by the repeal of the Form of Government, which had previously curtailed the King's power. The King's bureaucratic and military involvement allowed the economy to improve in Sweden, and the penalties imposed on the regency and the elite nobles showed that while fair, Charles would be ruthless if necessary for the promotion of his Country. It is however worth noting that some historians believe such a natural progression occurred in Sweden as the King already regarded himself as absolute and thus had little to prove to the masses when this came around formally. Scandinavian Absolutism in the Seventeenth Century occurred due to the Wars between both Countries, the criticisms that resulted from the effects of this and the seizing of opportunity by the respective King's that the burghers and clergy had offered them. ...read more.

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