Absolute Monarchy and Divine Right

Absolute monarchy – a form of government where a single ruler, usually called a king or queen, has complete control over all parts of the government.  His/her power is not limited by a constitution or by the law.  In an absolute monarchy, the transmission of power is hereditary.

Divine right - a monarch is not subject to any rule on earth and his right to rule comes directly from God.  The king is not a subject to the will of his people, the aristocracy, and in some cases the church.  Any attempt to depose the king or restrict his powers is going against the will of God.

          Charles I exercises his powers as a king to surpass the law and Parliament’s decisions.  In 1628, the Petition of Right was passed which prohibited the king from infringing on specific liberties of the people.  The king could not:

·        Imprison subjects without due cause

·        Not levy taxes without Parliament’s consent

·        House soldiers in private homes

·        Impose martial law in peacetime

In 1629, a year later, Charles dissolved Parliament and did not call it back into session.  He violated the Petition of Right by imposing many taxes on the English people.  At this point he is the monarch in an absolute monarchy, but because his popularity was so low he would not stay in a position of power for very long.

Again in 1637, Charles tried to force the Scottish to accept the Anglican prayer book.  He wanted the English and the Scottish to follow one religion.  The Scottish rebelled and the King’s power would never come back.