• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess the view that Philip II as king of Spain was Absolute in Theory but Limited in practice

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Kirck Allen Using these four Passages and your own knowledge, Asses the view that Philip II as king of Spain was Absolute in Theory but Limited in practice There is an unsurprising debate amongst historians over the concept of labelling Philip as an absolutist ruler. Also whether he was more absolute on theoretical context only or if he also displayed this in practice. Absolutism is defined as a monarch who has the power to rule freely with no opposition; a ruler who acts above the law, even as a tyrant, with lack of effective restraint. A good example is during the 1550's when battled against the Turks even when Spain was in Bankruptcy. Overall, there are strong evidences of Philip practicing absolute behaviour on several occasions however; it was limited due to a number of factors. An area in which Philip II could be seen as absolute was his position as a monarch above the Law. According to Antonio Ortiz in Interpretation A, implied that "the kings who made the laws were above the laws, however not in the case of divine laws..." This shows that . Henry Kamen in Interpretation C would agree with what Ortiz implies as Kamen states that "Kings and Princes where instituted to govern" therefore have the power to change laws or make them. Geoffrey Parker in Interpretation D also agrees with Ortiz as quoted from the wife of a Courtier "These are the miracles that the king now wishes to perform, and they seem very like ...read more.

Middle

As argued by Lynch, Philip "never entirely succeeded in overcoming the obstacles of distance involved in governing Spain and to apply decisions over the length and breadth of the country" therefore he could not administer an effective government which limits him in controlling his monarchy. Although this is true to an extent, Philip possessed a strong sense of his personal responsibility for the empire and its people. This also ties in to Kamen's description about Philip's Political theory in which recognizes the Kings duty to "govern to administration to their subjects and to defend them enemies" no matter what the cost. This is agreed by Ortiz as he believed that Philip followed "the privileges and liberties of his kingdom in accordance with oaths he took at the beginning of his reign" therefore he abides by doing the greater good for his country and the state. However Overall, Kamen shows more evidence in terms of Philip's administration in government and political theory than the other sources and he concludes that the idea of Philip as an Absolutist in anyway whether in practice or in theory would should be judged according to the situation of the country as Philip is acting the best way possible for his country. Philip's decision making capabilities are strong evidence of Philip's limitations of practicing absolutism during his reign. Under his direct rule, Spain reached the epoch of its power and influence, expanding its borders through the exploration and colonization of distant territories. ...read more.

Conclusion

However this was still not enough money and the Cortes had to be persuaded to grant the millones tax in 1590. The end result of all this taxation resulted in a tax increase of 430%. Furthermore, Ortiz believed that Philip was "exercising his own complete and unrestricted power over government" which explains how he could manipulate his empire to fix his foreign policy. However, Kamen suggests that "the king avoided any theoretical discussion of his powers" which explains that Philip often acted with a degree of diplomacy and even democracy in foreign policy implementation. An example of this is in 1578, when internal weaknesses within the Portuguese hierarchy led to an opportunity for Spain to take over Portugal. Rather than wage outright war, he preferred 'absolute' strategy, which was to first dispatch ministers to Portugal to garner support for him to be king, and to pay for the release of Portuguese noblemen held in Morocco following the Portuguese-Moroccan war. Overall, In conclusion, Lynch showed the most accurate evidence because it talks a lot about the limitations of his practices as an absolute monarch despite saying little about Philip's royal and divine rights. However, Kamen also creates powerful points about Philip's limited control of his government and decision making, as he had many advisors which influenced him. Overall Both Kamen and Lynch opinions together offers the most realistic debate that Philip was capable however limited in Absolute practices, and that it is more probable to see Philip as an Absolutist in theory due to his limitations. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Historical Periods section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Historical Periods essays

  1. How successful was Philip II in implementing his religious policies?

    reign; political clashes over Italy caused problems between them, making it hard for Philip to influence changes within the Church. The Pope even tried to play Philip off against France. However both need each other; The Church relied on Philip for protection against the Turks and Protestants threats and Philip

  2. Explain Philip IIs relationship with the Papacy. How far was Philip II responsible ...

    This was his first wise strategy and eventually brought the revolt to an end. However if the Moriscos Revolt can be seen as less of Philip's personal fault and more because of tension building through the years, the Aragon was much more to do with Philip's personal actions.

  1. The First English Civil War

    When Cromwell's second opportunity came at Gainsborough on 28 July, the "Lincolneer" horse who were under his orders were fired by the example of Cromwell's own regiment. Cromwell, directing the whole with skill, and above all with energy, utterly routed the Royalist horse and killed their general, Charles Cavendish.

  2. How successful was Philip II's foreign policy?

    Since the early 16th century the Turks had been attempting to expand their empire into Europe, forcing Philip to react. However despite later success, at first Philip was very unsuccessful against the Turks due to surprise assaults from the Turkish fleet along with blockades and poor weather.

  1. To what extent is it true to say the Provisional Government faced an impossible ...

    had to earn the support, the respect and the cooperation of the Russia people rather than them being legally entitled to it, therefore increasing the pressure and expectation which was upon them. It also meant that the Provisional Government had to be careful in their decision making, as any brash

  2. How valid is the view that short term causes were more important than long ...

    During this time the Weimar Government made a superficial recovery because of the restoring of the German economy which was helped by the grant of American loans such as the Dawes plan, they were however then proved to be superficial after the Wall Street Crash.

  1. How effectively did the design and decoration of the Parthenon suit its function?

    A large proportion of the temple was based around the festivals that happened every year. There were two kinds of festival that revolved around the Parthenon, there was the panathenaic festival annually and every 4 years there was the great panathenaia at which 100 heifers were sacrificed.

  2. To what extent could the Crusades be described as failure within the years 1095-1195?

    When the army of the Cross-passed through Anatolia, it was attacked by the Seljuks and it lead to heavy losses amongst Germans. King Conrad managed to save and get into the Holy Land only by the Byzantine fleet. The French, too, had problems on their way.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work