Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, known between 1725 and 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole, was a British statesman, regarded as the de facto first Prime Minister of Great Britain. Although the exact dates of Walpole's dominance, dubbed the "Robinocracy", are a matter of scholarly debate, the period 1721–1742 is used, he dominated the Walpole–Townshend ministry and the subsequent Walpole ministry and holds the record as the longest-serving British prime minister in history. Speck says that Walpole's uninterrupted run of 20 years as Prime Minister "is rightly regarded as one of the major feats of British political history... Explanations are offered in terms of his expert handling of the political system after 1720, his unique blending of the surviving powers of the crown with the increasing influence of the Commons", he was a Whig from the gentry class, first elected to Parliament in 1701 and held many senior positions. He looked to country gentlemen for his political base. Historian Frank O'Gorman says his leadership in Parliament reflected his "reasonable and persuasive oratory, his ability to move both the emotions as well as the minds of men, above all, his extraordinary self-confidence".
Hoppit says Walpole's policies sought moderation: he worked for peace, lower taxes and growing exports and allowed a little more tolerance for Protestant Dissenters. He avoided controversy and high-intensity disputes as his middle way attracted moderates from both the Whig and Tory camps. H. P. Dickinson sums up his historical role by saying that "Walpole was one of the greatest politicians in British history, he played a significant role in sustaining the Whig party, safeguarding the Hanoverian succession, defending the principles of the Glorious Revolution He established a stable political supremacy for the Whig party and taught succeeding ministers how best to establish an effective working relationship between Crown and Parliament". Walpole was born in Houghton, Norfolk in 1676. One of 19 children, he was the third son and fifth child of Robert Walpole, a member of the local gentry and a Whig politician who represented the borough of Castle Rising in the House of Commons, his wife Mary Walpole, the daughter and heiress of Sir Geoffrey Burwell of Rougham, Suffolk.
Horatio Walpole, 1st Baron Walpole was his younger brother. As a child, Walpole attended a private school at Norfolk. Walpole entered Eton College in 1690 where he was considered "an excellent scholar", he matriculated at King's College, Cambridge on the same day. On 25 May 1698, he left Cambridge after the death of his only remaining elder brother, Edward, so that he could help his father administer the family estate to which he had become the heir. Walpole had planned to become a clergyman but as he was now the eldest surviving son in the family, he abandoned the idea. In November 1700 his father died, Robert succeeded to inherit the Walpole estate. A paper in his father's handwriting, dated 9 June 1700, shows the family estate in Norfolk and Suffolk to have been nine manors in Norfolk and one in Suffolk; as a young man, Walpole had bought shares in the South Sea Company, which monopolized trade with Spain, the Caribbean and South America. The speculative market for slaves and mahogany spawned a frenzy that had ramifications throughout Europe when it collapsed.
However, Walpole had bought at the bottom and sold at the top, adding to his inherited wealth and allowing him to create Houghton Hall as seen today. Walpole's political career began in January 1701 when he won a seat in the general election at Castle Rising, he left Castle Rising in 1702 so that he could represent the neighbouring borough of King's Lynn, a pocket borough that would re-elect him for the remainder of his political career. Voters and politicians nicknamed him "Robin". Like his father, Robert Walpole was a member of the Whig Party. In 1705, Walpole was appointed by Queen Anne to be a member of the council for her husband, Prince George of Denmark, Lord High Admiral. After having been singled out in a struggle between the Whigs and the government, Walpole became the intermediary for reconciling the government to the Whig leaders, his abilities were recognised by Lord Godolphin and he was subsequently appointed to the position of Secretary at War in 1708. Despite his personal clout, Walpole could not stop Lord Godolphin and the Whigs from pressing for the prosecution of Henry Sacheverell, a minister who preached anti-Whig sermons.
The trial was unpopular with much of the country, causing the Sacheverell riots, was followed by the downfall of the Duke of Marlborough and the Whig Party in the general election of 1710. The new ministry, under the leadership of the Tory Robert Harley, removed Walpole from his office of Secretary at War but he remained Treasurer of the Navy until 2 January 1711. Harley had first attempted to entice him and threatened him to join the Tories, but Walpole rejected the offers, instead becoming one of the most outspoken members of the Whig Opposition, he defended Lord Godolphin against Tory attacks in parliamentary debate, as well as in the press. In 1712, Walpole was accused of venality and corruption in the matter of two forage contracts for Scotland. Although it was proven that he had retained none of the money, Walpole was pronounced "guilty of a high breach of trust and notorious corruption", he was found guilty by the House of Lords. While in the T
John Locke was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and known as the "Father of Liberalism". Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Sir Francis Bacon, he is important to social contract theory, his work affected the development of epistemology and political philosophy. His writings influenced Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries, his contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the United States Declaration of Independence. Locke's theory of mind is cited as the origin of modern conceptions of identity and the self, figuring prominently in the work of philosophers such as David Hume and Immanuel Kant. Locke was the first to define the self through a continuity of consciousness, he postulated that, at birth, the mind was a blank tabula rasa. Contrary to Cartesian philosophy based on pre-existing concepts, he maintained that we are born without innate ideas, that knowledge is instead determined only by experience derived from sense perception.
This is now known as empiricism. An example of Locke's belief in empiricism can be seen in his quote, "whatever I write, as soon as I discover it not to be true, my hand shall be the forwardest to throw it into the fire." This shows the ideology of science in his observations in that something must be capable of being tested and that nothing is exempt from being disproven. Challenging the work of others, Locke is said to have established the method of introspection, or observing the emotions and behaviours of one's self. Locke's father called John, was an attorney who served as clerk to the Justices of the Peace in Chew Magna, his mother was Agnes Keene. Both parents were Puritans. Locke was born on 29 August 1632, in a small thatched cottage by the church in Wrington, about 12 miles from Bristol, he was baptised the same day. Soon after Locke's birth, the family moved to the market town of Pensford, about seven miles south of Bristol, where Locke grew up in a rural Tudor house in Belluton. In 1647, Locke was sent to the prestigious Westminster School in London under the sponsorship of Alexander Popham, a member of Parliament and his father's former commander.
After completing studies there, he was admitted to Christ Church, Oxford, in the autumn of 1652 at the age of twenty. The dean of the college at the time was vice-chancellor of the university. Although a capable student, Locke was irritated by the undergraduate curriculum of the time, he found the works of modern philosophers, such as René Descartes, more interesting than the classical material taught at the university. Through his friend Richard Lower, whom he knew from the Westminster School, Locke was introduced to medicine and the experimental philosophy being pursued at other universities and in the Royal Society, of which he became a member. Locke was awarded a bachelor's degree in February 1656 and a master's degree in June 1658, he obtained a bachelor of medicine in February 1675, having studied medicine extensively during his time at Oxford and worked with such noted scientists and thinkers as Robert Boyle, Thomas Willis, Robert Hooke and Richard Lower. In 1666, he met Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, who had come to Oxford seeking treatment for a liver infection.
Cooper was persuaded him to become part of his retinue. Locke had been looking for a career and in 1667 moved into Shaftesbury's home at Exeter House in London, to serve as Lord Ashley's personal physician. In London, Locke resumed his medical studies under the tutelage of Thomas Sydenham. Sydenham had a major effect on Locke's natural philosophical thinking – an effect that would become evident in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Locke's medical knowledge was put to the test when Shaftesbury's liver infection became life-threatening. Locke coordinated the advice of several physicians and was instrumental in persuading Shaftesbury to undergo surgery to remove the cyst. Shaftesbury prospered, crediting Locke with saving his life. During this time, Locke served as Secretary of the Board of Trade and Plantations and Secretary to the Lords Proprietor of Carolina, which helped to shape his ideas on international trade and economics. Shaftesbury, as a founder of the Whig movement, exerted great influence on Locke's political ideas.
Locke became involved in politics when Shaftesbury became Lord Chancellor in 1672. Following Shaftesbury's fall from favour in 1675, Locke spent some time travelling across France as tutor and medical attendant to Caleb Banks, he returned to England in 1679. Around this time, most at Shaftesbury's prompting, Locke composed the bulk of the Two Treatises of Government. While it was once thought that Locke wrote the Treatises to defend the Glorious Revolution of 1688, recent scholarship has shown that the work was composed well before this date; the work is now viewed as a more general argument against absolute monarchy and for individual consent as the basis of political legitimacy. Although Locke was associated with the influential Whigs, his ideas about natural rights and government are today considered quite revolutionary for that period in English history. Locke fled to the Netherlands in 1683, under strong suspicion of involvement in the Rye House Plot, although there is little eviden
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists over, the manner of England's governance. The first and second wars pitted the supporters of King Charles I against the supporters of the Long Parliament, while the third saw fighting between supporters of King Charles II and supporters of the Rump Parliament; the war ended with the Parliamentarian victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651. The overall outcome of the war was threefold: the trial and execution of Charles I. In England, the monopoly of the Church of England on Christian worship was ended, while in Ireland the victors consolidated the established Protestant Ascendancy. Constitutionally, the wars established the precedent that an English monarch cannot govern without Parliament's consent, although the idea of Parliament as the ruling power of England was only established as part of the Glorious Revolution in 1688; the term "English Civil War" appears most in the singular form, although historians divide the conflict into two or three separate wars.
These wars were not restricted to England as Wales was a part of the Kingdom of England and was affected accordingly, the conflicts involved wars with, civil wars within, both Scotland and Ireland. The war in all these countries is known as the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. In the early 19th century, Sir Walter Scott referred to it as "the Great Civil War". Unlike other civil wars in England, which focused on who should rule, this war was more concerned with the manner in which the kingdoms of England and Ireland were governed; the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica called the series of conflicts the "Great Rebellion", while some historians – Marxists such as Christopher Hill – have long favoured the term "English Revolution". The two sides had their geographical strongholds, such that minority elements were fled; the strongholds of the royalty included the countryside, the shires, the less economically developed areas of northern and western England. On the other hand, all the cathedral cities sided with Parliament.
All the industrial centers, the ports, the economically advanced regions of southern and eastern England were parliamentary strongholds. Lacey Baldwin Smith says, "the words populous and rebellious seemed to go hand in hand". Many of the officers and veteran soldiers of the English Civil War studied and implemented war strategies, learned and perfected in other wars across Europe, namely by the Spanish and the Dutch during the Dutch war for independence which began in 1568; the main battle tactic came to be known as pike and shot infantry, in which the two sides would line up, facing each other, with infantry brigades of musketeers in the centre, carrying matchlock muskets. The brigades would arrange themselves in lines of musketeers, three deep, where the first row would kneel, the second would crouch, the third would stand, allowing all three to fire a volley simultaneously. At times there would be two groups of three lines allowing one group to reload while the other group arranged themselves and fired.
Mixed in among the musketeers were pikemen carrying pikes that were between 12 feet and 18 feet long, whose primary purpose was to protect the musketeers from cavalry charges. Positioned on each side of the infantry were the cavalry, with a right-wing led by the lieutenant-general, a left-wing by the commissary general; the Royalist cavaliers' skill and speed on horseback led to many early victories. Prince Rupert, the leader of the king's cavalry, learned a tactic while fighting in the Dutch army where the cavalry would charge at full speed into the opponent's infantry firing their pistols just before impact. However, with Oliver Cromwell and the introduction of the more disciplined New Model Army, a group of disciplined pikemen would stand their ground in the face of charging cavalry and could have a devastating effect. While the Parliamentarian cavalry were slower than the cavaliers, they were better disciplined; the Royalists had a tendency to chase down individual targets after the initial charge leaving their forces scattered and tired.
Cromwell's cavalry, on the other hand, was trained to operate as a single unit, which led to many decisive victories. The English Civil War broke out less than forty years after the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603. Elizabeth's death had resulted in the succession of her first cousin twice-removed, King James VI of Scotland, to the English throne as James I of England, creating the first personal union of the Scottish and English kingdoms; as King of Scots, James had become accustomed to Scotland's weak parliamentary tradition since assuming control of the Scottish government in 1583, so that upon assuming power south of the border, the new King of England was genuinely affronted by the constraints the English Parliament attempted to place on him in exchange for money. In spite of this, James's personal extravagance meant he was perennially short of money and had to resort to extra-Parliamentary sources of income; this extravagance was tempered by James's peaceful disposition, so that by the su
Algernon Sidney or Sydney was an English politician and member of the middle part of the Long Parliament. A republican political theorist and commissioner of the trial of King Charles I of England, he opposed the king's execution. Sidney was charged with plotting against Charles II, in part based on his most famous work, Discourses Concerning Government, used by the prosecution as a witness at his trial, he was executed for treason. After his death, Sidney was revered as a "Whig patriot–hero and martyr"; the works of Algernon Sidney, along with those of contemporary John Locke, are considered a cornerstone of western thought. Discourses Concerning Government cost Sidney his head. However, the ideas it put forth survived and culminated in the founding of the United States. Sidney directly opposed the divine right of kings political theory by suggesting ideas such as limited government, voluntary consent of the people and the right of citizens to alter or abolish a corrupt government. Discourses Concerning Government has been called "the textbook of the American revolution."
Sidney's father was Robert Sidney, 2nd Earl of Leicester, a direct descendant of John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland and the great-nephew of Sir Philip Sidney. His mother was daughter of Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland. Sidney was born at Baynard's Castle and was raised at Penshurst Place in Kent, his mother wrote to her husband in November 1636 that she had heard their son "much comended by all that comes from you... a huge deall of witt and much sweetness of nature". After spending time in Ireland, after his father was appointed Lord Lieutenant of that country, Sidney returned to England in 1643. Despite having earlier vowed that only "extreme necessity shall make me thinke of bearing arms in England", Sidney served in the Army of the Eastern Association, becoming lieutenant colonel of the Earl of Manchester's regiment of horse, he fought at the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, where an observer wrote: "Colonel Sidney charged with much gallantry in the head of my Lord Manchester's regiment of horses, came off with many wounds, the true badges of his honour".
He was appointed colonel of the regiment when it was transferred to the New Model Army, but relinquished the appointment due to ill health. In 1645 Sidney was elected to the Long Parliament as Member of Parliament for Cardiff where he opposed compromising with the King, Charles I. In 1648 he opposed the purge of moderates. Despite being a commissioner for the trial of Charles, Sidney opposed the decision to execute the king, believing it to be of questionable lawfulness and wisdom, he said in explaining his view: First, the King could be tried by noe court. This being alleged in vaine, Cromwell using these formall words I... went out of the room, never returned. By 1649 Sidney had changed his opinion, declaring the king's execution as "the justest and bravest act..., done in England, or anywhere". In 1653 when Cromwell's army entered Parliament to dissolve it after a Bill was introduced that would have made elections more free, Sidney refused to leave the House until threatened with physical removal.
He regarded Cromwell as a tyrant. In retirement, Sidney was bold enough to outrage the Lord Protector by putting on a performance of Julius Caesar, playing the role of Brutus, he was for a time the lover of Lucy Walter the mistress of Charles II. Sidney regarded the Republic as vigorously pursuing England's national interests, writing in his Discourses Concerning Government:... such was the power and wisdom and integrity in those that sat at the helm, their diligence in chusing men only for their merit was blessed with such success, that in two years our fleets grew to be as famous as our land armies. All the states and potentates of Europe, most respectfully, not to say submissively, sought our friendship. After Cromwell's death in 1658, the army abolished the Protectorate in 1659 and reconvened the Rump Parliament, with Sidney taking up his seat in the Commons. During 1659–1660 he was part of a delegation to help arbitrate peace between Denmark and Sweden, as war would threaten England's naval supplies, as well as those of the Dutch.
The delegation was commanded with Sidney and Sir Robert Honeywood. The third planned plenipotentiary, Bulstrode Whitelocke, declined because: "I knew well the overruling temper and height of Colonel Sydney". Sidney discarded conventional diplomatic norms to impose a peace favourable to England. Due to the Swedish king Charles X being unable to receive them, the delegation negotiated with the Dutch on forming a joint fleet to impose peace terms. Charles X complained that the English "wish to command all, as if they were masters". Sidney in person handed Charles the treaty proposal, he recorded that Charles "in great choler... told us, that we made projects upon our fleets, he, laying his hand upon his sword, had a project by his side". Sidney would not back down and an observer wrote: "Everyone is amazed how Sidney stood up to him". But, Montagu planned to go back to E
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary is the principal historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford University Press. It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a comprehensive resource to scholars and academic researchers, as well as describing usage in its many variations throughout the world; the second edition, comprising 21,728 pages in 20 volumes, was published in 1989. Work began on the dictionary in 1857, but it was only in 1884 that it began to be published in unbound fascicles as work continued on the project, under the name of A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles. In 1895, the title The Oxford English Dictionary was first used unofficially on the covers of the series, in 1928 the full dictionary was republished in ten bound volumes. In 1933, the title The Oxford English Dictionary replaced the former name in all occurrences in its reprinting as twelve volumes with a one-volume supplement. More supplements came over the years until 1989.
Since 2000, compilation of a third edition of the dictionary has been underway half of, complete. The first electronic version of the dictionary was made available in 1988; the online version has been available since 2000, as of April 2014 was receiving over two million hits per month. The third edition of the dictionary will most only appear in electronic form: the Chief Executive of Oxford University Press has stated that it is unlikely that it will be printed; as a historical dictionary, the Oxford English Dictionary explains words by showing their development rather than their present-day usages. Therefore, it shows definitions in the order that the sense of the word began being used, including word meanings which are no longer used; each definition is shown with numerous short usage quotations. This allows the reader to get an approximate sense of the time period in which a particular word has been in use, additional quotations help the reader to ascertain information about how the word is used in context, beyond any explanation that the dictionary editors can provide.
The format of the OED's entries has influenced numerous other historical lexicography projects. The forerunners to the OED, such as the early volumes of the Deutsches Wörterbuch, had provided few quotations from a limited number of sources, whereas the OED editors preferred larger groups of quite short quotations from a wide selection of authors and publications; this influenced volumes of this and other lexicographical works. According to the publishers, it would take a single person 120 years to "key in" the 59 million words of the OED second edition, 60 years to proofread them, 540 megabytes to store them electronically; as of 30 November 2005, the Oxford English Dictionary contained 301,100 main entries. Supplementing the entry headwords, there are 157,000 bold-type derivatives; the dictionary's latest, complete print edition was printed in 20 volumes, comprising 291,500 entries in 21,730 pages. The longest entry in the OED2 was for the verb set, which required 60,000 words to describe some 430 senses.
As entries began to be revised for the OED3 in sequence starting from M, the longest entry became make in 2000 put in 2007 run in 2011. Despite its considerable size, the OED is neither the world's largest nor the earliest exhaustive dictionary of a language. Another earlier large dictionary is the Grimm brothers' dictionary of the German language, begun in 1838 and completed in 1961; the first edition of the Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca is the first great dictionary devoted to a modern European language and was published in 1612. The official dictionary of Spanish is the Diccionario de la lengua española, its first edition was published in 1780; the Kangxi dictionary of Chinese was published in 1716. The dictionary began as a Philological Society project of a small group of intellectuals in London: Richard Chenevix Trench, Herbert Coleridge, Frederick Furnivall, who were dissatisfied with the existing English dictionaries; the Society expressed interest in compiling a new dictionary as early as 1844, but it was not until June 1857 that they began by forming an "Unregistered Words Committee" to search for words that were unlisted or poorly defined in current dictionaries.
In November, Trench's report was not a list of unregistered words. The Society realized that the number of unlisted words would be far more than the number of words in the English dictionaries of the 19th century, shifted their idea from covering only words that were not in English diction
Whigs (British political party)
The Whigs were a political faction and a political party in the parliaments of England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom. Between the 1680s and 1850s, they contested power with the Tories; the Whigs' origin lay in constitutional opposition to absolute monarchy. The Whigs played a central role in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and were the standing enemies of the Stuart kings and pretenders, who were Roman Catholic; the Whigs took full control of the government in 1715 and remained dominant until King George III, coming to the throne in 1760, allowed Tories back in. The Whig Supremacy was enabled by the Hanoverian succession of George I in 1714 and the failed Jacobite rising of 1715 by Tory rebels; the Whigs purged the Tories from all major positions in government, the army, the Church of England, the legal profession and local offices. The Party's hold on power was so strong and durable, historians call the period from 1714 to 1783 the age of the Whig Oligarchy; the first great leader of the Whigs was Robert Walpole, who maintained control of the government through the period 1721–1742 and whose protégé Henry Pelham led from 1743 to 1754.
Both parties began as loose groupings or tendencies, but became quite formal by 1784 with the ascension of Charles James Fox as the leader of a reconstituted Whig Party, arrayed against the governing party of the new Tories under William Pitt the Younger. Both parties were founded on rich politicians more than on popular votes, there were elections to the House of Commons, but a small number of men controlled most of the voters; the Whig Party evolved during the 18th century. The Whig tendency supported the great aristocratic families, the Protestant Hanoverian succession and toleration for nonconformist Protestants, while some Tories supported the exiled Stuart royal family's claim to the throne and all Tories supported the established Church of England and the gentry. On, the Whigs drew support from the emerging industrial interests and wealthy merchants, while the Tories drew support from the landed interests and the royal family. However, by the first half of the 19th century the Whig political programme came to encompass not only the supremacy of parliament over the monarch and support for free trade, but Catholic emancipation, the abolition of slavery and expansion of the franchise.
The 19th century Whig support for Catholic emancipation was a complete reversal of the party's historic anti-Catholic position at its late 17th century origin. The term "Whig" was short for "whiggamor", a term meaning "cattle driver" used to describe western Scots who came to Leith for corn. In the reign of Charles I the term was used during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms to refer derisively to a radical faction of the Scottish Covenanters who called themselves the "Kirk Party", it was applied to Scottish Presbyterian rebels who were against the King's Episcopalian order in Scotland. The term "Whig" entered English political discourse during the Exclusion Bill crisis of 1678–1681 when there was controversy about whether or not King Charles II's brother, should be allowed to succeed to the throne on Charles's death. "Whig" was a term of abuse applied to those who wanted to exclude James on the grounds that he was a Roman Catholic. The fervent Tory Samuel Johnson joked that "the first Whig was the Devil".
Under Lord Shaftesbury's leadership, the Whigs in the Parliament of England wished to exclude the Duke of York from the throne due to his Roman Catholicism, his favouring of monarchical absolutism, his connections to France. They believed the heir presumptive, if allowed to inherit the throne, would endanger the Protestant religion and property; the first Exclusion Bill was supported by a substantial majority on its second reading in May 1679. In response, King Charles prorogued Parliament and dissolved it, but the subsequent elections in August and September saw the Whigs' strength increase; this new parliament did not meet for thirteen months, because Charles wanted to give passions a chance to die down. When it met in October 1680, an Exclusion Bill was introduced and passed in the Commons without major resistance, but was rejected in the Lords. Charles dissolved Parliament in January 1681, but the Whigs did not suffer serious losses in the ensuing election; the next Parliament first met in March at Oxford, but Charles dissolved it after only a few days, when he made an appeal to the country against the Whigs and determined to rule without Parliament.
In February, Charles had made a deal with the French King Louis XIV, who promised to support him against the Whigs. Without Parliament, the Whigs crumbled due to government repression following the discovery of the Rye House Plot; the Whig peers, the Earl of Melville, the Earl of Leven, Lord Shaftesbury, Charles II's illegitimate son the Duke of Monmouth, being implicated, fled to and regrouped in the United Provinces. Algernon Sidney, Sir Thomas Armstrong and William Russell, Lord Russell, were executed for treason; the Earl of Essex committed suicide in the Tower of London over his arrest for treason, whilst Lord Grey of Werke escaped from the Tower. After the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Queen Mary II and King William III governed with both Whigs and Tories, despite the fact that many of the Tories still supported the deposed Roman Catholic James II. William saw that the Tories were friendlier to royal authority than the Whigs and he employed both groups in his government, his early ministry was Tory, but the government came to be dominated by the so-called Junto Whig
Absolute monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch holds supreme authority and where that authority is not restricted by any written laws, legislature, or customs. These are hereditary monarchies. In contrast, in constitutional monarchies, the head of state's authority derives from and is bounded or restricted by a constitution or legislature; some monarchies have a weak or symbolic legislature and other governmental bodies the monarch can alter or dissolve at will. Countries where monarchs still maintain absolute power are: Brunei, Saudi Arabia, Vatican City and the individual emirates composing the United Arab Emirates, which itself is a federation of such monarchies – a federal monarchy. In Ancient Egypt, the Pharaoh wielded absolute power over the country and was considered a living god by his people. In ancient Mesopotamia, many rulers of Assyria and Sumer were absolute monarchs as well. In ancient and medieval India, rulers of the Maurya, Gupta and Chalukya Empires, as well as other major and minor empires, were considered absolute monarchs.
In the Khmer Empire, the kings were called "Devaraja" and "Chakravartin", exercised absolute power over the empire and people. Throughout Imperial China, many emperors and one empress wielded absolute power through the Mandate of Heaven. In pre-Columbian America, the Inca Empire was ruled by a Sapa Inca, considered the son of Inti, the sun god and absolute ruler over the people and nation. Korea under the Joseon dynasty and short-lived empire was an absolute monarchy. In the Ottoman Empire, many sultans wielded absolute power through heavenly mandates reflected in their title, the "Shadow of God on Earth". Throughout much of European history, the divine right of kings was the theological justification for absolute monarchy. Many European monarchs, such as those of Russia, claimed supreme autocratic power by divine right, that their subjects had no rights to limit their power. James VI of Scotland and his son Charles I of Scotland and England tried to import this principle. Charles I's attempt to enforce episcopal polity on the Church of Scotland led to rebellion by the Covenanters and the Bishops' Wars fears that Charles I was attempting to establish absolutist government along European lines was a major cause of the English Civil War, despite the fact that he did rule this way for 11 years starting in 1629, after dissolving the Parliament of England for a time.
By the 19th century, the Divine Right was regarded as an obsolete theory in most countries in the Western world, except in Russia where it was still given credence as the official justification for the Tsar's power until February Revolution in 1917. There is a considerable variety of opinion by historians on the extent of absolutism among European monarchs. Some, such as Perry Anderson, argue that quite a few monarchs achieved levels of absolutist control over their states, while historians such as Roger Mettam dispute the concept of absolutism. In general, historians who disagree with the appellation of absolutism argue that most monarchs labeled as absolutist exerted no greater power over their subjects than any other non-absolutist rulers, these historians tend to emphasize the differences between the absolutist rhetoric of monarchs and the realities of the effective use of power by these absolute monarchs. Renaissance historian William Bouwsma summed up this contradiction: Nothing so indicates the limits of royal power as the fact that governments were perennially in financial trouble, unable to tap the wealth of those ablest to pay, to stir up a costly revolt whenever they attempted to develop an adequate income.
Though some historians doubt if he had, Louis XIV of France is said to have proclaimed "L'état, c'est moi". Although criticized for his extravagances, such as the Palace of Versailles, he reigned over France for a long period, some historians consider him a successful absolute monarch. More revisionist historians have questioned whether Louis' reign should be considered'absolute', given the reality of the balance of power between the monarch and the nobility; the King of France concentrated in his person legislative and judicial powers. He was the supreme judicial authority, he could condemn people to death without the right of appeal. It was both his duty to stop them from being committed. From his judicial authority followed his power both to annul them. One of his steps in creating an absolute monarchy in France was to build the Palace of Versailles, where he lived with many of his nobles and other important people, in order to control and watch over them. Absolutism was underpinned by a written constitution for the first time in Europe in 1665 Kongeloven of Denmark-Norway, which ordered that the Monarch "shall from this day forth be revered and considered the most perfect and supreme person on the Earth by all his subjects, standing above all human laws and having no judge above his person, neither in spiritual nor temporal matters, except God alone".
This law authorized the king to abolish all other centers of power. Most important was the abolition of the Council of the Realm. In Brandenburg-Prussia, the concept of absolute monarch took a notable turn from the above with its emphasis on the monarch as the "first servant of the state", but it echoed many of the important characteristics of Absolutism. Frederick William, known as the Great Elector, used the uncertainties of the final stages of the Thirty Years' War to consolidate his territories into the dominant kingdom in northern Germany, whilst increasing his power over his subjects