Age of Absolutism English Civil War 1st Period
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“Apology” - In 1611, Parliament issued the “Apology” in response to James I’s lack of respect for the traditional power of Parliament. Apology in this context comes from the Greek, meaning “a defense of something” (not “I’m sorry”). The “Apology” was a lecture to the king on the traditional role of Parliament. Its tone was polite, but it directly ignored James’s 1610 speech before Parliament when he said “I must not be taught my office.” The “Apology” is definitely an effort by Parliament to teach this Scottish interloper king about the limits of his English office. The “Apology” had little lasting effect. Parliament would continue to struggle to make the monarch realize the limits of his power all through the reigns of James I and Charles I. (Jane Wester)

Blue Laws –
During the interregnum, the time after the English civil war when England was ruled by Cromwell, England was subject to a set of laws called “Blue Laws.” These laws dictated morality, social behavior, and many minute aspects of life as an Englishman. Based off puritan codes of morality, these laws were later carried over to the America by the puritans. –Caroline Beuley

The Blue Laws, as imposed under Cromwell, created an era of little happiness and creativity. These strict laws were restrictions against drinking, gambling, and attending the theater. This was an undertone of the strict Puritan nature that guided Cromwell and many of his revolutionary peers; in their religion, frivolous enjoyment was certainly not a necessity of society. (KT Mayo)

The Blue Laws also serve to complicate Cromwell's legacy. If the rebellion against the King was, at least partially, to stop the arbitrary usage of regal power, then, through instituting the Blue Laws, Cromwell is contradicting himself. The Blue Laws are, in themselves, an arbitrary usage of power, the only difference now being power derives from Puritanism as opposed to Catholicism (from Charles I). What the contradiction therefore illustrates is the importance of religion within Cromwell’s rule. Although claiming to be searching for the common good and representative government, Cromwell allowed his puritan ideologies to take over and dictate his policy decisions.-David Farrow

Bishop Bossuet- Bishop Bossuet was involved with the reign of Louis XIV of France from 1652- 1725. Bossuet initiates the Divine Right Theory of Kings that states that God has appointed a Divine Right King to have absolute power. Although this absolute power is a gift from God, concentrating power into the hands of just one man can often lead arbitrary power. Bishop Bossuet also states that there are no checks on royal authority because the only limit to the power is God. (Lauren Burton)

Bishop Bossuet's argument regarding absolute monarchy is very well structured and organized, divided up into four main categories which he then expands into arguments around a thesis. Bossuet first believes that "all power comes from God" and that "princes act then as ministers of God, his lieutenants on earth." Secondly, Bossuet remarks that absolutely power is paternal, or carries through a family from father to son. Thirdly, "the royal authority is absolute" and "we must obey princes as justice itself." However, despite the hierarchy established in the first points of Bossuet, he ends his thesis with the idea that power must also submit to reason, still reminding that "let authority cease in the kingdom, and everything will be in confusion." (Rory Keeley)

English Bill of Rights - the English Bill of Rights was drafted by the King and Queen of England, William and Mary, in 1688. This document limits the monarchial power in England, while simultaneously clearly defining the power of Parliament. This sets in motion a very slow shift of power away from the English monarch towards Parliament, all the way up to today, where the monarch is only a figurehead, and Parliament runs the show. (CarterW)

Cardinal Mazarin: Cardinal Mazarin (1602-1661) was the successor of Cardinal Richelieu. A reagent for Louis VIV, Mazarin’s corruption angered the nobles, leading to the Fronde. Winning this war between nobles and king, the threat of resistance to absolutism was extinguished. Thus, Mazarin paved the way for the absolute power of Louis XIV. (Meg)

Catherine the Great - Catherine II ruled Russia from 1762 – 1796. She is the most well-known and longest reigning female ruler of Russia. She continued to extend Russia’s territory, ensuring that Russia was one of the superpowers of Europe. She also continued to Europeanize Russia, however Russia’s reliance on serfs and autocratic rule continued. On an unrelated note, Catherine the Great is also remembered for her many lovers. (Connor Haines)

Catherine the Great gained her title as Tsarina of Russia through marriage to the Grand Duke Peter of Holstein, grandson to Peter the Great. She is known to be a very calculating and manipulative power, playing a prominent hand in the removal of her own husband from power. During her rule, she expanded Russian borders to reach the Black Sea and promoted education through the sponsorship of and correspondence with many figures of the European Enlightenment. Her son, Paul, succeeded the throne upon her death but never reacher out of the shadow of her rule. (Rory Keeley)

Charles I of England - (reigned England from 1625-1649) No one thought that England could have a worse monarch than James I, but then Charles I proceeds him. He was a complete symbol of arbitrary Power and actually challenged Parliament more. Although officially Arminian (a branch of Protestantism close to Catholicism) he was outwardly Anglican, but this did not keep the English from feeling as though everything he did was just a "Pope-ish Plot". At first he was angry at Parliament for proposing the 1628 Petition of Rights, but he signed it to be able to get his tax money. Charles was smart in that he knowingly dismissed Parliament from 1629 to 1640 in order to assert his authority without opposition. in 1942 When Charles sends troops into Parliament and tries to arest the Puritan leaders, it is the breaking point and the Cavialers and Roundheads divide, thus the English Civil War started on Charles I's hands. (Ellie Sheild)

Colbert, Jean-Baptiste: Colbert was one of Louis XIV's two chief advisers and a financial expert who vouched for a mercantilist policy in France. He promoted the establishment of colonies (such as Louisiana, named after Louis)and streamlined the collection of taxes so that a larger percentage of royal revenue would end up in royal coffers. He relied on the Entende and made the ministers more loyal to him. Emphasizing the importance of France's trade and wealth, he urged Louis into a war with the Dutch, a trade rival (1672-1678). -DavisHeniford

Corvee - This policy was one of indisputable unpaid labor toward a government without the consent of the workers. If someone could not pay taxes or if the government did not need money, they would turn to the corvee system. The burden of these tasks took its toll on citizens, especially in France, and helped lead into the French Revolution. (Robert Jessell)

Cromwell, Oliver - (1599-1658) Cromwell joined Parliament and supported the civil war efforts on the side of the Roundheads, being that he was a devout Puritan. He created this New Model Army and believed that the Parliamentarian Puritans are fighting for a self-rightous vengance through the Bible and the Sword. This religious and militaristic combination gives his side a zest and zelotry that was unmatched, thus winning himself the English Civil War. He ruled from 1649 to 1659 as essentially a military dictator although he passionately believed in a representative government. Some of the major events in his life include Abolishing the monarchy, House of Lords, and Anglican Church, the Invasion of Ireland in 1649, passing taxes without Parliament's approval, Tolerating Religious Dissidents, and passing the Blue Laws (social restrictions). He dies in 1659, thus passing power unto his son Richard who losses power in 1660 to Charles II. (Ellie Sheild)

Divine Right of Kings - The Divine Right of Kings is essentially the belief that kings only need to justify their actions to God alone. Bishop Bossuet touched on this policy in his description of absolutism. He believed that absolute monarchs like Louis IX had to answer to nobody except for God, and since God put them in the position they are in, the people should accept whatever they say as law. Nobody should be able to challenge monarchial decisions because to do so would be to challenge God by extension. (Robert Jessell)

The concept of divine right of kings was a principal that was applied less and less as society modernized. In England, for example, parliament is a prime example of how the monarch derives his power, not from god, but from the people. However, this principal, where it did exist, stated that the monarch derived his power from God, and that since he was monarch, it must be god’s will that he be monarch. It was a tactic to inspire further fear and respect for the king amongst the god-fearing people of society at this time. –Caroline Beuley

English Bill of Rights, 1689 - The English Bill of Rights was presented by Parliament and signed by William and Mary in 1689. The Bill of Rights reacted to the instability of the English Civil War and Interregnum by limiting and formally defining the power of the monarchs. It also recognized the checks and balances between Parliament and the monarch. Previously, the power of the monarch had been limited only by tradition. When monarchs, namely James I and Charles I, ignored that precedent, there was no document defining what the king could and could not do for Parliament and the people to fall back upon. The English Bill of Rights filled that void. (Jane Wester)

English Civil War – Cavaliers v. Roundheads - Led by Oliver Cromwell, the Roundheads were those who supported Parliamentary authority in England. On the other hand, the Cavaliers, also known as Royalists, supported Charles I since they liked the traditional monarchial system. Puritans were the driving force behind the Roundhead campaign, and they helped to effectively defeated the Cavaliers. Charles I was executed on January 30, 1949, which gave Cromwell the control that some claim he abused. (Robert Jessell)

Frederick William, the Great Elector of Prussia- (r.1640-1688) At the end of the 30-years war, Frederick William saw a vacuum of power in central Europe, and thus starts to build an army (and a country built around the army) to take advantage of the weak Holy Roman Empire. He allows the nobles total control over peasants (many become serfs) in exchange for taxes and military support. Once he had firmly established the army, he could easily crush resistance to taxation. The Diet of Brandenburg even renounced its ability to check taxation, and was forever dissolved. The Junkers became the backbone of his military state, and a meritocracy of sorts created an outlet of the nobles ambitions. He created the War Chest, which eventually became the General Directory over Finance, War, and Royal Dominions (essentially all the power is concentrated here). He even makes education mandatory! In 1685, when the Edict of Nantes was revoked, he invited the Huguenots into his country, which gave Prussia a huge financial boost. Finally, in 1701, he earned the title of king of Prussia from Leopold for helping him in the War of Spanish Succession -DavisHeniford

Frederick the Great (1740-1786) of Prussia- Frederick the Great of Pussia was a man heavily influenced by culture as a young boy. This passion for culture is evident in his reign beginning in 1740 when he constructs the San Soucy Palace. Frederick was also a military man once he became ruler of Prussia. He proved the power of Prussia during the War of Austrian Succession when his army took Silesia. Also during the Seven Year’s war, he led Prussia to a draw in a war against several dominant European powers.(Lauren Burton)

Fronde: The Fronde (1648-1649) was a war between the French nobles and the French King Louis VIV and his reagent Cardinal Mazarin. Ending with the Peace of Rueil, the King won, crushing the last possibility of resistance against the monarchy. The Fronde and the King’s victory solidified absolutism in France, paving the way for Louis XIV’s absolute power. (Meg)

The lasting impact of the Fronde is that it instills a distrust of the nobility within Louie XiV. Although he was only a child when the Fronde took place, the memory had a lasting impact on his rule as he took great efforts to centralize power totally with the monarch. One example is Versailles. By having the nobility live in Versailles, Louie was able to keep tabbes on them for an extended period of time and make sure that they weren't conspiring against him. This fear of conspiracy derived from the Fronde. In addition to this, the demeaning roles given to the nobility by Louie in Versailles also emphasize Louie's attempt to strip the nobility of power and prestige so that he would have no fear of rebellion.-David Farrow

Landed Gentry (England): The landed gentry, one social class below the nobles, were wealthy in money and property. Some held offices, others made gains through agriculture, and many participated in commerce and trade. Well-off members of Europe’s society had a long history of shying away from business, a task viewed as below their greatness; however, England’s gentry proved the success and savvy of England in the business realm. This group, vocal and opinionated, also dominated the House of Commons in Parliament, leading the fight against overbearing monarchs. (KT Mayo)

Glorious Revolution, 1688: With an heir on the way for James II (r. 1685-1688), the Catholic Stuart on the English throne, England’s future was looking uncomfortably Catholic. His brother Charles I was secretly Catholic and made a pact with staunchly Catholic Louis XIV of France. That in combination with James’ openness in practicing Catholicism and how he allowed Catholics to hold posts in the government, made both English subjects and Parliament nervous about England’s future as an Anglican nation; therefore, Parliament began to conspire with Protestants William of Orange, an enemy of Louis XIV, and his wife Mary, James’ daughter in the hope that they would take the throne of England. In 1688, William and Mary arrived in England with their army, which proved to be unnecessary, as James II fled due to lack of support. The ordeal put Parliament on the tract to having more authority than future monarchs, because the English felt it a key check and balance to the power of the king. —-TB

Guy Fawkes (Gunpowder Plot): Showing the resentment of Catholics toward King James I (r. 1603-1625 in England) due to his repression of Catholics, Guy Fawkes tries to blow up—therefore killing—Parliament in his Gunpowder Plot on November 5, 1605. Although the plot was foiled and Parliament survived, Guy Fawkes and his Gunpowder Plot just proved the growing dissention that would eventually cause the English Civil War. (Meg)

Hanoverian Kings (England) - The Hanover Family succeeded the Stuarts as rulers of England in 1714. They remained the ruling family of England until 1901 (the death of Queen Victoria). Six British monarchs came from House Hanover (George I-IV, William IV, and Vicotria). (Connor Haines)

James I of England: The son of Mary, Queen of Scots who succeeded Elizabeth I in 1603 and ruled until 1625. He was very unpopular with the English people, not only because he believed in the Divine Right of Kings and continually challenged Parliament’s role, but also because he was king of both England and Scotland and tried to unite their thrones. He refused to obey Parliament although they issued "The Apology" in 1611, defending their traditional role and "The Great Proclamation" in 1621, in which they granted James money to pay of debt in exchange for ten favors; he refused the proclamation and continued to disobey Parliament. James bears some of the blame for the English Civil War which broke out in 1642, as he started a legacy of defying Parliament that his son Charles I continued. —-TB

Joseph II of Austria: As a Hapsburg ruler who inherited the Holy Roman Empire in 1765, Joseph II had the responsibility of succeeding Maria Theresa, who had varying amounts of success. He was a devout Catholic and considered himself to be the defender of Catholicism, so he struck at the pope and Catholic Church of Rome in general. Joseph was a man who believed in expanding his territory and by extent, his absolutist rule. A leader of the Enlightenment, he also backed Marie Antoinette in France at the outbreak of the French Revolution. (Robert Jessell)

Junkers: The junkers were the Noble class of Prussia. Contrary to the nobles of France, the nobles in Prussia had real responsibilities. As Prussia became increasingly militaristic, the Junkers became the military elite. They earned their promotions by merit and thus there was much honor associated with the positions of high rank the junkers held in the military. While the transition away from a representative government in Prussia did reduce the power of nobles, they felt they were compensated by the important role they played in the military. –Caroline Beuley

the junkers were the noble class in Prussia. Frederick William, The Great Elector, agreed to give the junkers freedom to rule over their peasants, but only if they would also agree to pay taxes the the Prussian crown. This set in motion a very different relationship between the nobles and the monarch in Prussia than in anywhere else in Europe. Also, the junkers were considered to be the military elite of Prussia, however Frederick pushed the military even more in Prussia by making it a system of merit promotion, where your lastname didn't give you any special privileges in the army. (CarterW)

Long Parliament: In 1939 War breaks out with the Calvinist and the anti-Charles followers in Scotland. Charles fights back, but this war is super expensive so in 1940 he eventually has to call Parliament back in session, thus beginning the Long Parliament. In 1641 Parliament passes the Grand Remonstrance, which is a list of grievances against the King, not wanting their hatred of him to erupt the country into a Civil War. The Long Parliament sat until Cromwell’s New Model Army purged it in 1648. (Ellie Sheild)

Maria Theresa of Austria: Maria Theresa of Austria (r. 1740-1780) was the daughter of Charles VI. In an effort to prevent neighboring countries from attacking after his death, Charles VI arranged the Pragmatic Sanction (completed in 1738), a series of treaties with neighbors allowing for resolution of any current conflict given that they will not attack Austria under Maria Theresa. A devout Catholic, Maria Theresa held her own when the War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748) breaks out. Although losing Silesia to Prussia at the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748), ending the War, Maria Theresa establishes herself as a respectable ruler. (Meg)

Mary II, Queen of England - (r.1689-94) - The gentry of England conspired against James II’s son in 1687 and choose to look toward his daughter, Mary, who was married to her first cousin William of Orange in the Netherlands. William and Mary stormed into England with an army, her father, James II, fled and in 1688 she was named Mary II as a joint Stuart monarch (This is known as the Glorious Revolution). When Parliament asked William and Mary to rule, the ill-defined relationship between Parliament and the Monarchy was cured. The Bill of Rights in 1689 clearly defined the power of Parliament while the royals slowly shift toward becoming figureheads. She had family ties to being Catholic despite the public pressure to remain Anglican. Although allowing her Husband to assume most of the power, she still proved herself to be an effective ruler.(Ellie Sheild)

Partitions of Poland - the partition of Poland occurred in three different years, 1793, 1772, and 1795, and it happened because the Polish nobles were fed up with the Polish king (who they elected) and wanted him off the throne, so they asked Russia to come in and help. Well Russia came into Poland, but it never really left, and basically took over the northern half of the country. Russia then made the tactical decision to invite Prussia and Austria to come share in some of Poland's land, to prevent any qualms of potential wars between the countries. By 1795, the area that was once Poland had now been divided between Austria, Prussia, and Russia, and won't be seen again until after World War I. (CarterW)

Peace of Utrecht: Concluded the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714) between Charles II, Hapsburg king of Spain, and allies Bavaria and Louis XIV of France (the sun king), and the Grand Alliance (England, Netherlands, Austria, Hapsburgs, Sweden, Denmark, and Portugal). Louis’ side wins and his Bourbon grandson Philip V gets to succeed Charles II; however, the Peace set limitations on power: concept of balance of power emerges, and Spanish and French thrones can never unite. —-TB

Peter the Great- Peter the Great was the grandson of Michael Romanov, the first Romanov leader. After Peter takes full control as tsar in 1696, he went on a trip across Europe. The purpose of his trip was to absorb the culture in the west and bring it back to Russia. He longed to make Russia less barbaric and more like the Western European powers. While Peter aimed at modernizing Russia, he was also a brutal ruler that often went through streaks of inhumane treatment.(Lauren Burton)

Before Peter took complete control, his half-sister (Sofia) ruled in his place. As power was given to him when he was only eight years old, Sofia would feed him lines and policy strategies through a hole cut in the back of the imperial throne. This was the nature of Peter's rule until he was eighteen. Peter's quest around Europe came from a desire to modernize Russia, as Russia was then viewed as backwards and barbaric. Thus, when he returned to Russia, he instituted a number of laws to make Russia more like Europe. These included banning beards (a tradition for Russian men), requiring European dress, changing the calendar, and creating a set of standards for Russian students studying abroad. All these initiatives attempted to change Russia from a backwards country to a modern power.-David Farrow

Petition of Right: In 1628, Parliament forced Charles to sign the Petition of Right, and threatened him with receiving no new taxes if he did not. King Charles, being desperate for money, signed this five-step list of grievances and guidelines. First, Parliament established that Charles cannot force loans, a situation where the government can borrow citizens' money whenever. Second, no quartering of troops in civilian homes. Next, no martial law in peace time. Parliament also asked for a reaffirmation of habeus corpus, which solidified that no arrest without cause shown is allowed. Finally, no taxation is allowed without Parliament's consent. This Petition of Right did not quell the tension and animosity between Parliament and the monarch, but at least now Parliament had a victory on its record. (KT Mayo)

Pragmatic Sanction: Charles VI, the HRE from 1711-1748, believed that he had an obvious weakness in his heir, who was his daughter, not a son. So naturally, to make this weakness more obvious, he went around to all his neighboring nations in 1738 declaring his problem, and asking them to sign the Pragmatic Sanction, which said that they wouldn't attack the HRE in its time of weakness. All neighboring nations signed it, but naturally, once Charles VI died, they all attacked the HRE, starting the War of Austrian Succession. (CarterW)

The pragmatic sanction was a document passed by Charles VI of the Hapsburg empire that declared that all Hapbsburg dominions would pass in totality to the eldest heir. He did specify that that heir could be male or female, and he worked for most of reign to get other European powers to agree to this. He did this because he was worried other European powers would move in on the Hapsburg empire once his daughter took over because they would regard her as weak. However, by advertising her weakness through his obsession to pass this sanction, European powers simply waited until he died and then moved in. The pragmatic sanction was possibly one of the largest diplomatic failures of all time. –Caroline Beuley

Puritans: The Puritans believed that Anglicanism was still too close to the corruption of Catholicism. They aimed to cleanse, or purify, their Christian faith of all ties to the Catholic Church. The Puritans held power in Parliament because Puritanism was popular among the gentry, who held seats in the House of Commons. The Puritans especially opposed Charles I, because he was Arminian, a sect even closer to Catholicism than regular Anglicanism. The Puritans suspected Charles I of a “popish plot,” a sinister plot involving the pope in Rome. In the English Civil War, Puritans sided with the Roundheads. Oliver Cromwell was a Puritan, and during the Interregnum he abolished the Anglican Church and established “Blue Laws,” which prohibited drinking and dancing. (Jane Wester)

Puritanism is marked by political aspirations. Initially fearing a Catholic takeover by Charles I, upon assuming power by winning the English Civil War, the Puritans were able to restructure government to promote their ideologies. Drawing from John Calvin, the Puritan Parliament and Oliver Cromwell instituted the Blue Laws to place puritanical restriction on anything fun (dancing, drinking, gambling). Reformed proved essential to fulfilling the Puritan ideology as Puritans felt obliged to “purify” the society through removing any nonreligious influences. (David Farrow)

Revocation of Edict of Nantes: The Edict of Nantes, which granted French Protestants some religious tolerance, was revoked in 1685 under the supervision of Louis XIV of France. Although this action did bring about national and religious unity, the economy in France suffered. The Huguenots had been some of France's most efficient and dedicated workers, and France's economy wilted with the Huguenot's departure. Internationally France also suffered as its old Huguenot members began to join the ranks of other Protestant-friendly European nations, building up their economies and armies. (KT Mayo)

Rump Parliament: Created in 1648 under Oliver Cromwell; named rump because it was the last part of the Long Parliament. They purged Presbyterians, who had branched off from the Roundheads in favor of strict, centralized control of the Church, which Cromwell opposed in favor of local control. While they were in control, they banned the House of Lords and executed Charles I on January 30, 1649 (first case of regicide). —-TB

The Rump Parliament was started in 1648 by what is known as Pride's Purge. In Pride's Purge the army was ordered to surrounded and isolate Parliament while in session and forcibly remove Presbyterian officials. Parliament then was named Rump Parliament as it became a tool of Cromwell made up of only his supporters and Independents. Rump Parliament proved to be essentially useless to Cromwell, who acted as a military dictator for the majority of the Interregnum, but only gained significance in ordering the regicide of King Charles I. At the end of the Long Parliament the Rump Parliament was dissolved in 1653. (Rory Keeley)

Seven Years War (French-Indian War)- (1756-63) This war had the major European powers square off along the following lines: Prussia and England fought against Austria, France, Sweden, and Russia. This was significant for a number of reasons. First of all, France and the Hapsburgs have momentarily ignored their long-standing rivalry as France for the first time fears Prussia more than Austria as a regional power. Additionally, Russia makes its first big appearance in European affairs, and fights as a major player. The war began with Austria's attempt to retake Silesia from Prussia, and, despite the fact that Prussia was fighting essentially the entire continent of Europe alone (Britain could not help on the European continent as it was busy defending its colonies), Prussia kept Silesia and held off all the foreign armies to a draw. England, after the Battle of Quebec, became the dominant force in North America. -DavisHeniford

St. Petersburg (Russia)- St. Petersburg was a city founded by Peter the Great in 1703 as Russia’s “window to the West”. This city is positioned in Western Russia so it has access to European influence. Peter the Great constructed buildings with European style architecture, and St. Petersburg began to thrive as a European capital throughout the 18th century.(Lauren Burton)

St. Petersburg is the outstanding legacy of Peter the Great of Russia, made the capitol in 1703. After his journeys around Europe, Peter the Great desired more than anything a warm water port, a passion he inherited from his love of sailing and his exploration of the Netherlands and England. However, obtaining the territory which now includes St. Petersburg involved a war with Sweden from 1700 to 1721 known as the Great Northern War. Peter used his standing army of 300,000 men and newly constructed navy to hold the Swedish King Charles at bay although known for his military prowess. When Russia conquers this territory at the mouth of the Neva River, it marks a beginning of even more Westernization of Russia by Peter, and predicts the slow decline of Sweden as a power in European affairs. Once St. Petersburg is established, Peter forces the nobility and influential gentry or merchants to live there and also builds Peternof, Peter's Versailles. Slowly over time, St. Petersburg becomes the center of Russian affairs and places them even closer to Europe. (Rory Keeley)

War of Austrian Succession- Charles VI was the King of Austria from 1711 to 1740, and his one perceived weakness was that he only had one heir: his daughter, Maria Theresa. He believed that, upon his death, the surrounding nations would attack Austria seeing that his daughter had the throne. His solution was the Pragmatic Sanction (1738- described in another key term) which only announced Austria's weakness. Thus, in 1740, when Charles VI died and Maria Theresa took over, the War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748) began with Prussia's (under Frederick II) invasion and conquest of Silesia, a mineral-rich area and powerful economic asset. Austria fought alongside the British and Dutch. Against them were Prussia, France, and Bavaria. In 1748, the treaty of Aix-La Chapelle ended the war, allowing Prussia to keep Silesia. Maria Theresa, against expectations, held her own in the conflict, and maintained control of her empire despite much internal unrest. Prussia and Austria were now undoubtedly the powerhouses of central Europe. -DavisHenford

War of Spanish Succession - The 1701-1714 War of Spanish Succession stemmed from the inability of Charles II, a very inbred Hapsburg, to produce an heir. Louis XIV of France’s grandson, Philip, was named heir to the Spanish throne. Because Philip was already heir to the French throne, he would in theory unite France and Spain upon becoming king of both, which made the rest of Europe very uneasy. So, the Grand Alliance (the English, the Dutch, the Austrian Hapsburgs, the Swedish, the Danish, and the Portuguese) went to war against France, Spain, and Bavaria. The war was resolved with the Peace of Utrecht, which is described above; the important thing to remember is that the War of Spanish Succession and the Peace of Utrecht introduced the Balance of Power. The Balance of Power was the idea that in order to maintain peace, one country can't become way more powerful than its neighbors. This was a new concept, and it would guide foreign policy for the next several centuries. (Jane Wester)

Walpole, Robert - Robert Walpole, 1st earl of Orford, was a British statesman during the reigns of George I and George II and is often regarded as first British prime minister (note that “Prime Minister” was not an official title at this time, however he is regarded as the first Prime Minister because of his influence within the cabinet. Also note that he is usually considered to have held this position from 1721-1742). As a little side tidbit, Robert Walpole was known to his friends as the “fat old Squire of Norfolk.” (Connor Haines)

William III (1650-1702), Stadholder of the Netherlands, King of England - William III (of Orange) was the ruler (stadtholder) of the Netherlands as well as king of England after the “Glorious Revolution.” He ruled England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1689-1702 along with his wife Mary. During his rule the English Bill of Rights was passed which started a gradual towards Parliamentary power in England. William was more concerned with his rule on the continent than his control of England, and generally stayed out of the English political system. (Connor Haines)