• 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. Why Was King Alfred So Great?

    the fyrd, by splitting it into two shifts 'so that there was always half at home and half out'4 This allowed Alfred to constantly have a fresh army prepared to fight, thus reducing the speed and effectiveness of any invasion, were it to occur.

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

    being that of an aggressive imperialist, this appeared to be due to the fact that he spread his armies to thinly, fighting on three fronts at once in the 1590's. Problems with England began through Elizabeth's fears of England being turned Catholic as she could see what was happening in the Netherlands.

  1. The First English Civil War

    In January 1643, he had gone to his own county to "raise such men as had the fear of God before them, and made some conscience of what they did". These men, once found, were willing, for the cause, to submit to a rigorous training and an iron discipline such

  2. Explain the external problems Spain faced on the accession of Philip II in 1556 ...

    However the negative side was that the information he received was often fragmented and so his knowledge was sometime inaccurate. The councils also sometime interfered in each other's works, but Philip was always in control and had power over all the councils.

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

    Rather than being elected, the government had in fact come into being as a rebellious committee of the old Duma, who had refused to dissolve at the tsar's orders, meaning that it lacked legitimate authority. It also had no constitutional claim to the loyalty of the Russian people and, as

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

    However the Munich Beer Hall Putsch failed, it failed even though Hitler believed Kahr, the state Governer, and Lossow, the local army commander, would support him they did not. After Hitler's coup he got a nine month jail sentence, whilst in jail he wrote the propaganda book Mein Kampf.

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