We try to answer this question by following one of the central chapters of Fontana’s book, Josep (2005). The construction of identity: reflections on the past and the present. Barcelona. Base CA. (Col. Historical Base Collection, 11). 144 pages. There are two paths that, since the 16th century, have led Europe towards the formation of states : that of the absolute monarchy and that of parliamentary representation . Its paradigms are the French state and the English state. When we think of an absolutist state, we quickly imagine a strong, centralized power, but a deeper analysis shows the weakness that lurks beneath the absolutist ceremonial.

The  Old Regime functioned within structures of power that overlapped and intersected, and that regulated the lives of the people not so much by force as by collective consent, by the acceptance of an order of things that referred not only to the relationship between rulers and ruled, but to subordination within the family (between men and women, parents and children), to the community rules of peasant society, to the l ‘organization of work within guilds. It is simplistic to say, simply, that authority emanates from the king.

European Societies Of The

In other words, if there can be an absolutist regime in a given society, Absolute monarchies had to accommodate to the existence of an intermediate plan between the sovereign and Bahamas Phone Number the subjects, made up of an oligarchy of magnates and an inferior group of wealthy owners, noble or not. To these two strata was added the Church, which mediated the sovereign’s capacity for action, and between. The three controlled local life. Pierre Goubert describes the remoteness and. Weakness of the supposedly absolute power of Louis XIV as follows: to know. His subjects in the language of the place, which in two cases out of three was not French.


The people, moreover (…), from the moment they felt threatened by a new charge, sought the most skillful means to save themselves: Louis XIV’s France, a model of absolute state, did not have a unitary government, but was a mosaic of institutions and laws, and was far from having an effective administration. The great social upheavals of the late medieval demographic crisis and the wars of religion made the ruling classes feel the need for a stronger central power. It was in the 16th and 17th centuries that absolutism took off.

Remember The Limitations Of

We must, however,the absolute state, which had, in fact, little effective power, as there were, inside, stratified areas of power. On the one hand, the extensive lordly jurisdiction, on the other, the autonomous jurisdictions: estates, cities, brotherhoods of trades…; finally, there was the prince’s level of power. Therefore, we could speak as Joel Cornette did, of a division of sovereignty to infinity. No matter how much the monarchs proclaimed their absolute power – and legislated in this regard – in practice they were limited in enforcing it.

That is why today we speak of imperfect absolutism. It is clear that, if the king did not find solid impediments that would limit his margin of action. He tended to widen it: this was what happened in Castile, after the defeat of. The Comuneros in Villalar (1520). One of the most serious consequences of the weakness of the state power of absolute monarchies, as analyzed by. Josep Fontana, is the permanent crisis of finance . From 1685 to 1815 there were frequent armed conflicts between European countries (this period has been called the “Second Hundred Years’ War”).

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