“Apology” - James I, King of England (1603-25), ignored Parliament and believed that he was above the law. Parliament issued "The Apology" (1611) which praised the King on the surface (to appeal to his belief that the King was above all law), but it had undertones that indicated the wide gap between the Parl and James. Fundamentally it was a lecture to James on the role of Parl, because he had been ignoring them so much. Sarah Shea
Because James I was Scottish he was not familiar with the balance of power between the king and Parliament. As a result he acted as if he was not bound by the law and claimed to Parliament that his words are equivalent to the words of God and they could not tell him what to do. This led them to issue The Apology in order to inform James I on the traditions and customs of Parliament and how their role in England is important. (Kavitha)
Blue Laws – Cromwell - During the Interregnum period in England, Cromwell took over. One of the actions he took during his period in power was to enforce Blue Laws. These laws abolished drinking, dancing, and things of the sort. Sarah Shea
In addition to these restrictions, Cromwell also went on to shut down many inns and close all the theaters. Many sports were banned and swearing was punishable by a fine or even by time in jail. Christmas was to be turned back into a solely religious observance and he instituted a very severe dress code. Instead of forcing people to wear scrubs, he sent Puritan leaders and soldiers to roam the streets and scrub off make up from any women daring to wear it. (Shredder)
Bishop Bossuet - Bossuet wrote the "Divine Right of Kings". He was the tutor of Louis XIV's son. He believed that the only check on royal authority was God. Beyond that, the King had arbitrary power. Sarah Shea
Bossuet held the power of the King on an equal standing as God. He also ordered to "obey princes as justice itself", implying that the prince is the only one who can bring justice so what he believes is what is fair. (Kavitha)
Surprisingly Bishop Bossuet did not write any text titled "Divine Right of Kings" but did write one called "Politics drawn from the Holy Scriptures" where he uses verses from the Bible to define and outline the role of a "Prince" and his subjects and the relationship they have. (MDog)
Cardinal Mazarin - Cardinal Mazarin was the regent, representative for Louis XIV, when he was too young to rule for himself. Mazarin was very corrupt which angered the nobles and led to the Fronde. The Fronde was a civil war in France between the nobles and Mazarin. It was the nobles’ last attempt to stop absolutism, but they failed. As a result of this war, Louis XIV is emotionally scarred from the nobles trying to kill him and he will subsequently remain very untrusting of them for the rest of his life. (Laura)
Mazarin was in power during and at the end of the Thirty Years war and even though he was Catholic helped fight a more politically beneficial war for the country which allowed them more bargaining power at the Treaty of Westphalia. (MDog)
Catherine the Great - Catherine the Great (r. 1762-1796) was Empress of Russia, and was the most well-known female ruler of Russia. She is known for a number of reasons, but by far, one of her most renown achievements was her experiment with representative government, a contrast to the absolutism of the time period. In 1762, she announced this experiment, and later on, she convened a Legislative Commission. This was just a body of delegates from various parts of Russia. This move, however, has struck historians as more of a publicity stunt. Why this opinion? Because Catherine the Great sent these delegates home on account of a war with Turkey. Following this, she publicized a Charter of Nobility, which was designed to increase the control the nobility had over their serfs. (Ricky)
Charles I of England - Charles I of England (r. 1625-1649), son of King James I of England, was a British monarch famous for increasing the conflict between Parliament and the monarchy, and personifying arbitrary power. The conflict between Charles I and Parliament first hit a climax with the Petition of Right (1628). The “Petition of Right,” drafted by Parliament, entailed that there would be no forced loans by the King, no billeting troops with civilians, no martial law in peacetime, the reaffirmation of habeas corpus, and no taxation without parliamentary consent. Charles I responds to this petition by agreeing to the terms, receiving a sum of money, then dismissing Parliament for an extended period of time (1629). By doing this, Charles I basically ignores Parliament. During this time, it is also important to note that tensions with Scotland are growing significantly. Which is why war breaks out in 1639 against the Calvinist Scots. It because of the sheer cost of this war that Charles I is forced to call Parliament to receive funding for the war. Because of the presence of the “Long Parliament,” Parliament passes the “Grand Remonstrance,” which was basically a list of grievances by the Charles I. It is because of this act against his power that Charles I sends troops into Parliament, to arrest 5 Puritan leaders. However, these leaders escape into London, and are harbored by the citizenry. It is because of this that a war between the monarch and Parliament erupts.
Colbert, Jean-Baptiste - He was the Finance Minister for Louis XIV. He was also an advocate of mercantilism (example - Colony of Louisiana). He also was very efficient with tax collection. Prior to Colbert, only 1/4 of royal revenue went to the royal treasury. After him, it was up to 4/5. Sarah Shea
It is also important to note about the beliefs of Jean-Baptiste Colbert in the economic sector that he believed that the government should focus the majority of its attention on increasing the wealth of France. In addition to this, Colbert believed adamantly that the greatest threat to France’s well-being were the United Provinces and that royal resources should be invested primarily in the building up a navy to rival the naval leaders of the time period (England, the Netherlands), manufacturing, and shipping. (Ricky)
corvee - The corvee was a form of tax imposed on the peasants and serfs of some countries which required of them unpaid, compulsory labor benefitting the state on such projects as roads. The corvee was used in France and greatly resented by the peasants until it was abolished during the French Revolution. (Shredder)
The corvee would receive larger support under the Seigneurial system since it tightened noble/landowner control over the local inhabitants/peasants. (MDog)
Cromwell, Oliver - He was the most important leader of the Independents in Parliament (a sect of the Puritans in Parliament who wanted the Anglican Church replaced by a congregational system that would allow more local control). His deep love for representative government and egalitarian ideals was reflected by his New Model Army, which was characterized by the ideas of social advancement and anti-monarchy sentiment. Cromwell takes power in England in 1649 after the execution of Charles I (at the conclusion of the civil war). He presided over the Interregnum period (1649-60) as “Lord Protector” (a military dictator, but doesn’t have the title “king”). Because of the chaos of the Interregnum and the lingering mutual distrust between the head of England and Parliament, Cromwell was forced to compromise many of his egalitarian ideals and resort to episodes of brutal violence in order to maintain peace and social order. (Chuma)
Divine Right of Kings - Written by Bishop Bossuet, the Divine Right of Kings sought to define the role of the monarchy in France. First it stated that royal authority is sacred as well as absolute and should never be questioned by anyone other than the royal authority. The second point draws on this and says that royal authority is subject to reason meaning justice will be determined by one man, the prince. Lastly, royal power is to be passed down to a son, paternally. All of these declarations of power had one force that was above their own, and that was God. But in a practical sense, this could never truly be followed, because God’s will could vary from person to person, leaving it in the hands of the arbitrary ruler. These ideas of power and their role in a monarchy controlled France during Louis XIV’s rule. Sarah Tomlin
English Bill of Rights, 1689 - Defines parliament's power and limits the power of the monarchy. William and Mary sign it no problem, contrary to previous monarchs who make scenes of refusing to sign similar documents. This shows how parliament now holds the upper hand, and also how the monarch's power is beginning its slow decline. (Laura)
English Civil War – Cavaliers v. Roundheads - 1642-1649 – This war started because when Charles I of England sent troops into Parliament to arrest 5 Puritan leaders (most important was John Pym), the people of London aided them in escaping the royal troops. This finally snapped the long-standing tension between Charles and Parliament over the role of the king, Charles believing he had every right to declare war after being openly defied, and the forces of Parliament believing Charles’s actions were worthy of rebellion. The forces of the Monarchy, aka the Cavaliers, were made up of Anglicans, Catholics, peasants and nobility, while the forces of Parliament, aka the roundheads, included Puritans, gentry, urban dwellers, and merchants. The Roundheads were characterized by their New Model Army, which was both egalitarian and religiously passionate. During the war, the forces of Parliament split into Presbyterians and Independents, and the Independents were led by Cromwell. With Pride’s Purge in 1648, the Presbyterians were openly denied a voice and replaced with Rump Parliament. In 1649, Charles I was captured and voted to execution by Parliament, after which Cromwell took control of the “Commonwealth of England” as “Lord Protector.” Jordan
Frederick William, the Great Elector of Prussia - r.1640-1688 – A Hohenzollern, Fred took advantage of the weak Holy Roman Empire and built up an army using funds from nobles, to which he gave free reign over their peasants (whose lives were getting worse). Fred had the power to crush peasant uprisings anyways, and the Diet of Brandenburg even voted itself out of power in an attempt to check taxation. Terrible idea, now Prussia has a powerful army and a leader with absolute authority. Fred set Prussia up for great success in the future. Jordan
It is also important to note the extent to which Freddy set Prussia up to be a militarized, absolutist power. With the help of powerful and loyal Prussian nobles (junkers), he extended the military’s influence into nearly all aspects of Prussian society. For example, The War Chest, originally responsible only for funding wars, now became the “General Directory over Finance, War, and Dominions” and controlled everything except education, justice, and religion. He gave war commissars whom originally had only military duties, the responsibility of enforcing government policies in the localities. He also greatly expanded the size of the army. Freddy and the nobles worked hand-in-hand to centralize power, create an expanded and efficient bureaucracy, and turn Prussia into an absolutist state with an elector who faced no restrictions. (Chuma)
Frederick the Great (1740-1786) of Prussia - (1740-86) Freddy the Great differed from all previous Prussian leaders in that he was much more cultured and arts-oriented, characteristics that made him an Enlightened Despot. As such, he played the flute and composed music and poetry and attempted to bring culture to a purely militaristic Prussia. He focused on French culture, bringing Voltaire to his court until eventually kicking him out for speaking out against his rule. He also built the Saus Soucy, a palace designed to be a haven for culture. It’s also important to see that what made him an Enlightened Despot was not just his artistic talents but also his political philosophy, which justified absolute power not as divine right but as the most efficient and effective form of kingship. During his rule, he won the War of Austrian Succession, as well as ended the Seven Years War, fighting the Austrians, French, Swedes, and Russians, in a draw. His victory in the Seven Years War helped establish Prussia as a true European power.
Fronde - Le Fronde (1650-53) was a conflict between French nobles and the Royal forces, and Mazarin headed the Royal Forces since Louis XIV was just child at the time. This was the (failed) last by the nobles against the consolidation of power within the monarchy, and when they lose, L14 becomes an absolute monarch with negligible resistance. When an attempt on L14’s life was made during the war, he escaped, but the memory would forever remind him of exactly how nobles should be treated. Jordan
Landed Gentry (England) - The Landed Gentry in England consisted of land-holding elite throughout England of which there were around 20,000, unlike the nobility, which consisted of only sixty. This group dominated in the House of Commons in English Parliament and also consisted of a large percentage of Puritans. This group is also one of the leading groups to join the Roundheads in the English Civil War. (Hannah)
Glorious Revolution, 1688-This occurred following the reign of James II, the English king who was openly Catholic. Parliament was absolutely tired of putting up with the Stuart monarchy and after finding out that his wife was preggers and there would be a Catholic heir to the throne, Parliament conspired to bring down James II by getting William of Orange and his wife Mary (daughter of James from previous marriage) to come to England and take the throne. This successful overthrow of the King was dubbed Glorious because not only was it a peaceful, non-violent exchange of power but also this resolved the on going power struggle between the monarchy and Parliament regarding who had control and rights to what. Because it was parliament that brought William and Mary to the thrown, they had the upper hand and power to limit the monarchy. Mary
Guy Fawkes (Gunpowder Plot) - Guy Fawkes was a Catholic conspirator who tried to blow up the English Parliament and kill King James on November 5, 1605. He and other Catholics were upset with King James because he had ordered all Catholic priests to leave England. Fawkes’s plan did not work, and he was ultimately caught, tortured, and executed. Since then, November 5th has become known as Bonfire Night in England, which commemorates the Gunpowder Plot by burning effigies of Guy Fawkes over bonfires. (Mackenzie)
Hanoverian Kings (England) - The Hanoverian Kings of England were in control of the country from 1714 until the death of Queen Victoria in 1901. The first Hanoverian King of England was George I and he ruled from 1714-1727. (Shredder)
It is also important to note the effect that these monarchs’ initial lack of interest in British politics had on English society. George I and George II, the first two Hanoverian rulers, could not even speak fluent English, and the language barrier compounded with their consuming focus on their German territory of Hanover helped Parliament grow in authority even more so than it had after the Glorious Revolution. This trend also paved the way for leaders such as Sir Robert Walpole, who was a dominant figure in Parliament, to rise to prominence in later years. (Chuma)
James I of England - r.1603-1625 - James was the son of Mary Queen of Scots, a Scot himself, an Anglican convert, and a Stuart. James disdained Parliament, used to ruling Scotland with no such institution in his way, and frequently encountered resistance from the Puritan gentry within Parliament. He put restrictions on Catholics, foiled Guy Fawkes’s Gunpowder Plot, and aimed to unite Scotland and England. In 1611, Parl. Issued “The Apology,” a lecture on the role of Parliament in the English political system. He was a victim of Elizabethan debt, and when he went to Parliament to ask for money (he couldn’t impose taxes himself), it resulted in “The Great Protestation,” where Parliament asked to discuss foreign policy in exchange for funding the King. James signs it, rips it up, signs a new copy, then dies four years later. Jordan
Joseph II of Austria - Joseph II of Austria (r. 1781-1790), aka Hapsburg emperor, was renown throughout Europe for his religious tolerance despite being a Catholic Hapsburg ruler, and for being a ruler that advocated for reform from the top. Joseph II was renown for religious tolerance, because of his acceptance of the Protestants and Jews of his territory with the Edict of Toleration (1781). In fact, this was the first time that a Catholic Hapsburg ruler had accepted Protestants and Jews. With the Edict of Toleration, Protestants and Jews would be allowed to worship freely, hold property, and hold office. In addition to his religious tolerance towards other religions, Joseph II also sought to reduce the influence of the Catholic church within his territory. He tried to accomplish this with the dissolution of useless and corrupt monasteries. Finally, Joseph II was a recognized ruler because of his belief in reform from the top. He pioneered this movement along with his mother, Maria Theresa. These two worked to provide reform with authoritarian rule in order to push legislation through with ease. Two areas where his reforms were most widely renown were in Enlightenment philosophy and agrarian reform. In the case of Enlightenment thinking, Joseph II implemented the freedom of expression, religious toleration, greater state control of the Catholic Church, and legal reform with a new criminal code. In the case of agrarian reform, Joseph II and Maria Theresa tried to improve the social and economic status of the peasantry. (Ricky)
Junkers- Prussian nobles who become the military elite under Fredrick William. The army culture called for promotions by merit, within the nobility, which meant better work ethic, and it meant the Junkers benefitted from the enhanced power of Prussia across Europe, so they were fighting with Fredrick William for power instead of against him, strengthening Prussia. (Laura)
Long Parliament - Called by Charles I in 1940, the Long Parliament remained in session for the longest time up until that date. It was called because Charles I needed money after engaging in war with the Calvinist Scots. This parliament remained in session during the civil war, up until Pride's Purge, which rids parliament of Presbyterians and of the House of Lords, as well as of any other non-Cromwell supporters. (Laura)
During the session of the Long Parliament, the Grand Remonstrance was passed which was a list of grievances against the King; however, it's important to note how this piece of legislature only passed by 11 votes. At this time the Parliament was beginning to split with those who were against the core concept of monarchy and others who respected the office but not the current king. (Kavitha)
Maria Theresa of Austria -She was the daughter of Charles VI, who, as king of Austria, travelled around Europe forcing leaders to sign his freshly drafted Pragmatic Sanction, stipulating that each signee would not invade Austria after Charles’s death out of fear that the empire would be weaker because a woman would be in power. Despite this, she ran a tight ship, and kept Austria from falling to Frederick II of Prussia in the War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748), granted they did manage to take Silesia, the richest part of the Austrian empire. Additionally, she faced three enemies in that war, not including Prussia: France, Bavaria, and Spain, further pointing to her strength as a leader.
I would like to add that Maria Theresa also did much to reform Austria from within. She was moralistic and pious, and she worked to reassert the power of Austria. As a Hapsburg, she believed in the divine mission of her dynasty. As a pious Catholic (she did not endorse religious toleration and hated atheists), she reformed the Church by abolishing the clergy’s exemption from taxes and forbidding the establishment of new monasteries. She brought important nobles to Vienna and reformed the military. (Mackenzie)
Mary II, Queen of England - Mary II was the daughter of James II and in 1688, alongside her Dutch husband William of Orange, an enemy of James, invaded England (after being asked by Parliament) in a conspiracy against James. This military invasion also known as the Glorious Revolution got rid of James and his soon to be heir, and William and Mary took the monarchy. Through their reign the power of Parliament over the monarchy is rightfully established and in 1689 they passed the Bill of Rights which further limited the power of the king and queen. (Hannah)
Partitions of Poland (1772, 1793, and 1795) - During the eighteenth century, Poland was dominated by the old landed aristocracy, which blocked attempts to centralize the government and had power over the elected king. In 1772, a Polish king challenged the nobility’s authority, and Russia came into Poland to support the nobles. Russia never really ended up leaving Poland and gained Polish land due to the weakness of the Polish government. Austria and Prussia also grabbed territory. By 1795 Poland no longer existed. (Mackenzie)
It is important to note year the beginning of Russia's extension into Western Europe. They used Poland's weak government to their advantage. No conflict arose when they conquered parts of Poland only because they offered Austria and Prussia to acquire Polish territory as well. (Kavitha)
Peace of Utrecht - The Peace of Utrecht, which was worked on from 1713 to 1714 by both sides of the War of Spanish Succession. It declared Phillip II, the 1st of the Bourbon dynasty to, become the King of Spain. But with this, it also stated the unification of Spain and France could ever happen because of a threat of a super power. And finally England gets Gibraltar. Sarah Tomlin
Peter the Great - This 6’7” giant of a tsar did much to turn Russia into the archetypal model of the absolutist state. Scarred as a child by violence at Moscow, he shifted the Russian court to St. Petersburg in 1696. An early military loss to the Swedes convinced him that Russia had to emulate the advances of Western Europe, so he went undercover on an excursion through France, England, and the Netherlands in 1697 and 1698, paying special attention to naval practices. Though he proved an inhumane and occasionally unstable ruler, he did much to centralize power and expand the Russian bureaucracy. (Chuma)
Petition of Right - In 1628, Parliament issued the Petition of Right in hopes of diminishing the arbitrary power of Charles I of England. They were fed up with his economic plans and disregard of Parliamentary power. The Petition contained 5 main points limiting the power of the monarchy. 1. No forced loans-Charles I was not supposed to demand loans from the people that he would indefinitely pay back in the future. 2. No quartering troops with civilians- once again Charles I used this as a money saving mechanism that was unfair to the English people. 3. No martial law in peace time- Charles I used martial law to show his arbitrary power and denounce the power of Parliament. 4. Reaffirm Habeas Corpus- meaning a prosecution must show probable cause for imprisonment which Charles I's martial law was not practicing. 5. No taxation with out Parliament consent- taxation had been a longtime power left to Parliament that Charles I was not allowing. Parliament demanded that Charles I sign the Petition and gave him money to do so. In 1628, Charles I signs the Petition of Right in a ploy to get his money because just one year later Charles I dismisses Parliament showing his apathy for the power of Parliament.
Pragmatic Sanction - The Pragmatic Sanction was Charles VI of Austria's attempt to preserve the crown of Austria which he was worried about because his only heir was his daughter Maria Theresa. Just the fact that she was a daughter made her a great liability for Charles VI. So…Charles went around his neighboring states to get them to sign the Pragmatic Sanction and promise not to invade upon the transfer of power to his daughter. However, this plan was not as precautions as Charles had hoped it would be because in 1740 when Charles VI died, Fredrick II of Prussia immediately went against the Pragmatic Sanction and invaded and conquered Silesia, a northeaster chunk of the Austrian Empire. This was huge economically rich area and was a huge boost for Prussia to gain this territory that they would never concede back to Austria.
Puritans - Puritanism is a branch of Protestants that wanted to rid the Anglican church of all Catholic ties. They make up a large portion of the gentry and also dominate the House of Commons in Parliament. Because of strong connections to the Catholic Church, they do not like either King James I or King Charles I. Therefore when England breaks apart in a civil war the Puritans join the Roundheads against the monarchy and help form the New Model Army. (Hannah)
The puritans were also a key group that immigrate to the New World and are commonly associated with the Pilgrims and early settlers (because they are the same….). Although commonly pitied for the persecution they received in England, some Puritan settlers were known to have practiced odd rituals such as bestiality. (MDog)
Revocation of Edict of Nantes - During Louis XIV’s rule in France, in 1685 he ordered the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. This originally stated that if an area was already prevalently Calvinist, they could continue to practice that religion under a Catholic monarchy in France. Louis did not want this because it severely divided his power, authority, and influence in his kingdom. He was quoted to say “un roi, une loi, une foi” meaning “one king, one law, one faith. With this revocation he is enforcing the “une loi” portion of his statement that there will be one law (his monarchy) in power. His monarchial power declines in these areas, and so he makes a seemingly religious move, to enforce a political desire. Sarah Tomlin
Rump Parliament - The Rump Parliament was the parliament that was left in power after Pride's Purge when Cromwell and the New Model Army surrounded Parliament and forced any non-independent to leave their position in Parliament. The independents were the side of Parliament that believed in local control of the church and congregational autonomy. This Parliament denied access to the Presbyterians and to the House of Lords. This was contradictory to Cromwell's idea of representational government because he was now limiting who was represented. This Parliament also went a little crazy and violent when they ultimately ended the war by executed (beheading) Charles I on Jan 30, 1649 which ended the monarchy rule. Cromwell then assumed control of England.
Seven Years War (French-Indian War) - The Seven Years War also known as the French Indian War, was fought from 1756-1763, over Silesia which Prussia had seized from Austria in the War of Austrian Secession. In this war Prussia fought alongside the English, although they provided very little support because most of their muscle was being sent to North America to fight the French and Indians, thus the French Indian War. Shockingly in this war Austria and France allied together along with Sweden and Russia, because although the Hapsburgs and Bourbons hated each other, they recognized the threat of a stronger Prussia. Although Prussia was essentially fighting by themselves, they fought Austria, France, Sweden, and Russia to a draw and managed to keep Silesia. (Hannah)
St. Petersburg (Russia) - This city was founded by Tsar Peter the Great and was the capital of Russia for over 200 years. The city was built by a force of 40,000 serfs under conscription and this resulted in the death of many serfs. Fitting with Peter's obsession with European culture, many architects and engineers were called upon from other countries to design the buildings. More Italian than anything else, the city was to be one of the finest examples of a city built in classical style. (Shredder)
War of Austrian Succession - The War of Austrian Succession occurred from 1740 to 1748. Charles VI (r. 1711-1740) realized that he had no male heir. In 1713, Charles drafted the Pragmatic Sanction, which declared that all Habsburg dominions would pass to the eldest heir, male or female. Furthermore, the Sanction stated that Austria’s neighbors had to promise not to invade Austria upon the transfer of power to his daughter Maria Theresa, and those neighbors had to recognize her as the legitimate Austrian ruler. When Charles died, Maria Theresa was left with an inefficient, weak kingdom that lacked both military tradition and aggressive discipline. Frederick II of Prussia soon seized Silesia, violating the Sanction. To make matters worse for Maria Theresa, Bavaria (supported by France who had always opposed the Hapsburgs’ power) and Spain allied with Prussia. Surprisingly, however, Maria Theresa fought her opponents to a stalemate with financial help from Britain. Prussia was allowed to keep Silesia, and Austria remained intact. (Mackenzie)
War of Spanish Succession - The War of Spanish Succession was fought by Charles II (Hapsburg) of Spain in 1701-1714 after a realization that he has no heir to take over the monarchy after this death. In order to get an heir, he must join with another country in order to have an heir. He works to ally Spain with France in hopes of getting Phillip, grandson to Louis XIV, to be the King of Spain. This would mean both France and Spain would be ruled under one man, with an immense amount of power. Many other countries such as England, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, and the Dutch all work together to stop this soon to be super power with their Grand Alliance. The conflict is finally resolved in 1714 with the Peace of Utrecht. Sarah Tomlin
Walpole, Robert - Known as the first prime minister by many historians, though not officially that, Walpole was the head of parliament during the reign of the Hanover dynasty. He was the dominant political figure during the time, known for his exceptional skill in fiscal policy during the crash of an overseas trading company in 1720. Walpole focused on communication between the House of Commons and the king and the ministers to make decisions, and his actions helped shape the nature of British politics thereafter.
William III (1650-1702), Stadholder of the Netherlands, King of England - Protestant ruler of the Dutch United Province, known as Stadholder of the Netherlands as a member of the Orange family, until asked by the English parliament to take the throne of England from the much hated James, which he does so peacefully, an event known as the Glorious Revolution. He and his wife Mary II assume the crown, proclaimed joint monarchs in 1689 via the Bill of Rights. William encountered heavier restrictions on his authority than any other English monarch before, but he never the less pursued an aggressive foreign policy while also expanding the central government to allow for new political positions and opportunities. The gentry let him stay in power because he never challenged the authority of Parliament, trying and eventually giving up on repealing the Bill of Rights and the creation of a standing army.