Compare the English Monarchy of the 1600s with its contemporaries in Europe.
Explain how the evolution of governmental power differed (using examples from France, Prussia, Austria, and/or Russia for comparison). Hint: Examine theories on the philosophical sources of power, the role of religion in government, not just the final outcomes.
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In the 1600s, and particularly after the English Civil War, the English monarchy was much weaker than its counterparts on the continent. This came about largely because the English did not subscribe as much to the theory of divine right of kings. It also came about because of religious differences in England.
In much of Europe, the idea that monarchs ruled by divine right continued to be held in the 1600s. This was the era when Jacques Bossuet, for example, was arguing that kings were responsible to no one but God. By contrast, the English had a long history of holding monarchs responsible, at the very least, to their nobles. This idea of a limited monarchy had been around at least since the Magna Carta in 1215.
The monarchy was further limited by politics and religion. There were many Puritans in England at the time. They had a great deal of power in the House of Commons. They disagreed strongly with the religious policies of James I. This, too, helped to weaken the English monarchy.
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