Early in 1649 Oliver Cromwell led the remnant of the English House of Commons to try and execute King Charles I, and then they abolished the House of Lords and the monarchy. John Milton wrote the justification. They raised taxes, and Cromwell commanded the army that suppressed the protesting Levellers. Parliament proclaimed England a Free Commonwealth and repealed mandatory church attendance but required a license for printing. In 1650 all law courts had to use English instead of Latin. Milton defended the new government and supervised censorship, and Parliament sold seventy estates confiscated from royalists. The House of Commons blocked Leveller reforms. Government was dominated by Puritans and no longer supported the Anglican Church. New religious groups included Particular and General Baptists, Ranters, Grindletonians, Muggletonians, and Quakers.
Navigation Acts provoked a naval war against the Dutch that began in 1652. The English won most of the battles in 1653 and made peace in April 1654. Cromwell and the Puritans transformed the House of Commons in 1653, and they repealed the excise tax, abolished the Chancery Court, and promoted primary education. Leveller leader John Lilburne was imprisoned for the rest of his life. Parliament installed Cromwell as Lord Protector. Only men with property worth £200 could vote, and royalists and Catholics were excluded. The English Commonwealth was extended to Scotland and Ireland, and they made commercial treaties with Portugal, Sweden, and Denmark. Cromwell forced the Parliament to recognize his authority, but Lilburnians accused him of treason and demanded elections.
In 1649 Irish Catholics and English royalists in Ireland resisted the new government, but an English army led by Cromwell and others defeated the rebellion by May 1652. The English confiscated much of the Irish land and gave it to officers, soldiers, and capitalists as compensation. Many Irish were forced to move to Connaught, and some refusing were transported to Barbados. During the 1650s the population of Ireland decreased by about 300,000, and the portion of the land owned by Catholics was reduced to 9%.
The Parliament of Scotland declared Charles II king, but Cromwell’s English army arrived in July 1650 and defeated the Scots by December 1651. The English put down another rebellion in July 1654. Scotland had 102 witchcraft cases in the late 1650s.
England’s Protectorate Parliament oppressed royalists by suppressing a rebellion in March 1655 and by taxing them. The army was reduced and replaced by militia to save money. The Puritan government banned plays, gambling, and brothels, and many alehouses were closed. Cromwell allied with France and banned Anglican services and the Book of Common Prayer, but he granted rights to Jews. In January 1657 Parliament funded war against Spain. The East India Company began selling tea in London with low prices. The British took over Dunkirk. The House of Lords was revived, but Cromwell dissolved Parliament and died in September 1658. He was hated by many for suppressing Catholics and Anglicans, but the Puritans allowed individuals religious liberty without a state Church. The Navy added 200 ships, and the use of coal multiplied. Roger Crab and a few others promoted a vegetarian diet.
The new Lord Protector Richard Cromwell opposed military rule; but in April 1659 the army dissolved the Parliament, and they recalled the Rump Parliament. Richard Cromwell resigned. The army led by General Lambert defeated those fighting for Charles II in August, but General George Monck, appointed commander in Scotland, and London’s Council supported a free Parliament in December. Monck’s army moved south and helped Parliament meet in February 1660. In March they raised taxes and dissolved. Charles II promised liberty of conscience and Parliamentary government, and on May 29 he reached London where a majority now favored kingship. In August the Act of Oblivion provided a general amnesty.
In 1660 the Convention Parliament restored King Charles II who accepted former officers of the Commonwealth in his Privy Council. Parliament included Anglicans, Presbyterians, and independents and pardoned all but 57 persons. The army was disbanded, and Charles sold land to reduce the debt. Excises taxes were put on ale, beer, tea, and coffee. The Royal Society was founded to promote science, and Robert Boyle pioneered work in chemistry. Burning coal was polluting the air in London, but little was done to remedy the problem. Charles proclaimed religious liberty for Christians. Anglicans dominated the new Parliament in 1661, and bishops returned to the House of Lords. The Commons controlled expenditures. Petitions were banned, and printing still required licenses. The hearth tax of 1662 was unpopular. The King relied on conservative Chancellor Edward Hyde and made him Earl of Clarendon. The Anglican Church was re-established; 1,300 Quakers were imprisoned, and 1,909 dissenting clergy lost their parishes. Charles married Portuguese princess Catarina. Parliament passed Navigation Acts to extend British control of trade. A naval war against the Dutch lasted from the summer of 1664 to July 1667 and cost England £5,367,000. In 1665-66 the Great Plague of London took about 100,000 human lives, and the fire of September 1666 destroyed 13,200 houses, 89 churches, and goods worth £3,500,000. Christopher Wren directed rebuilding with bricks and stone. The Earl of Clarendon was impeached and fled to France in 1667.
Charles II made a secret alliance with France in 1670, and he suspended laws against Catholics and dissenters in March 1672; but he repealed that a year later when Parliament made him dismiss officers in a cabal. The third Anglo-Dutch War was waged from March 1672 to February 1674 and cost Britain £2,230,000 with £740,000 of it contributed by Louis XIV. Treasurer Danby bribed members of Parliament, and Charles prorogued Parliament for fifteen months.
In 1677 England allied with the Dutch against France, and Parliament appropriated £585,000 to build thirty ships. Willem of Orange married Mary, the niece of Charles II, confirming the alliance with Holland. In 1678 Britain prohibited imports from France. Fears of a Popish conspiracy to overthrow the King led to persecution of Catholics in England and Ireland, and Parliament banned Catholics from both houses. England’s ambassador Montagu in Paris exposed Louis XIV’s secret subsidies to Charles who dissolved the Cavalier Parliament in January 1679. A large majority of the new Parliament in May passed a bill to exclude the King’s Catholic brother, James of York, from becoming king, but Charles dissolved them again. Danby was imprisoned for five years. Shaftesbury became president of the Privy Council, but in October the King replaced the Country party advisors who became the Whigs with Court party (Tory) ministers. Millions of political pamphlets circulated. Charles sent his brother James and his natural son James, Duke of Monmouth, into exile. In 1680 the House of Lords defeated the Exclusion Bill, and that year 272 justices of peace were replaced. Books and plays discussed and portrayed the conflicts between the Tories and the Whigs.
Irish officers and gentry formed a parliament and proclaimed King Charles II as the Protestants continued their domination. Charles took land from regicides and gave it to his brother James and others, but some land was returned to dispossessed Catholics. The English governed Ireland from Dublin and banned the export of Irish wool and beef. In 1672 William Petty estimated that Ireland had 800,000 Catholics, 200,000 English, and 100,000 Scots, but Irish wages were half those in England.
Scots accepted the Stuart Charles II, and they organized their Parliament that passed 393 acts that gave the King power. The Episcopal Church was imposed, and they prohibited Presbyterian assemblies. Parliament was prorogued in 1673 and did not meet again until 1681. Many worshippers were fined for violating the Conventicle Act. After English troops withdrew, conventicles resumed. James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, used an army to suppress the rebels. During this era in Scotland people were put to death for witchcraft and religious dissent.
King James II was unpopular as a Catholic and ruled England only from 1685 to 1688. A Scottish rebellion was suppressed by July 1685, and the English avoided another civil war. James appointed many Catholics. After Parliament approved £700,000 for the army, James prorogued them, and they would not meet again until 1689. James suspended penal laws and the Test Acts and pardoned and released religious prisoners. He enrolled Catholics in the army, appointed Catholics to the Irish Privy Council, and put Jesuits in charge of schools in Ireland. In 1687 James appointed 455 justices of the peace and most of whom were Catholics, and he replaced most town officials. His daughters Mary and Anne refused to become Catholics. James tolerated all denominations except Conventicles. Mary’s husband Willem of Orange wrote a Letter to the English Army warning that England could become Catholic. James allied with the Dutch, but in January 1688 he withdrew Scots from Willem’s army. James arrested seven bishops for disobeying an order to read his declaration in churches, but a jury acquitted them in June, the month James had a son born. Whigs and Tories united against the Catholic King and invited Willem who invaded England with a Dutch army in November. John Churchill, Princess Anne, and many soldiers joined the Dutch. James agreed to a Parliament, but many towns surrendered to Willem and Mary Stuart. James fled to France in December.
A Convention Parliament met in January 1689 and proclaimed King William III and Queen Mary II. Parliament asserted their rights and those of others in new laws. Clergy who refused to swear allegiance were punished. Toleration was enacted in May, though officials still had to accept Anglican sacraments. James II led a Catholic rebellion in Ireland in March that was supported by the French. William declared war in May, and Scotland and England joined the Grand Alliance against France in September. William’s Protestant army arrived in July 1690, and one year later the Irish Catholics surrendered at Aughrim. While William fought in Ireland, the war continued at sea and in Flanders. The war was expensive, and the Bank of England was created in April 1694 and quickly borrowed £1,200,000. Parliament would have elections every three years. Scotland accepted William III and Mary II, and Jacobite resistance was suppressed by May 1690. Their Parliament established the Presbyterian Church; but Episcopalian ministers in the north resisted, and 182 lost their livings.
William III and the Junto of Whigs continued the Nine Years War against France in the Spanish Netherlands, and had 48,500 men were in the Navy in 1695 and more than 68,000 soldiers in Flanders by 1696. Expiration of the Licensing Act freed the press. England’s capital stocks had decreased almost by half. People clipped silver coins, and the value of the gold guinea was reduced. Treason was suspected, and many legislators, governors, and judges refused to take a loyalty oath. A Land Bank failed, and a loan from the Dutch Estates General was used to pay soldiers. One in four English depended on alms. In September 1697 the Treaty of Ryswick ended the war that cost England £40,000,000 and increased the national debt to £14,000,000. The Treasury issued bonds to get short-term loans from the public. In December 1698 they held a general election, and they reduced the standing army. The first stock exchange began in London. The English Parliament oppressed Irish Catholics and criticized William III for giving land in Ireland to his friends. Four years of crop failures caused a famine in Scotland in 1699. The King turned to the Tories who gained seats in the elections of early 1701. The Earl of Marlborough (Churchill) arranged another Grand Alliance with the Dutch Republic and the Austrian Empire against France, and the Commons approved raising 40,000 soldiers. King William III died on March 9, 1702.
Queen Anne (r. 1702-14) was the last Stuart monarch and had married George of Denmark. She aimed to reduce France’s power and continue the Protestant succession. Whigs won the elections. In May 1702 England and the Dutch declared war against France. Anne favored Anglicans and relied on Tories who took over the Commons. Yet Whigs in the Lords defeated Conformity Bills, and Anne refused to dismiss Whigs from her Council. England allied with Portugal and Savoy, and Marlborough led the army to victories in Germany in 1704. Jonathan Swift’s Tale of a Tub satirized the corruption of modern religion, politics, literature, and education. Marlborough won battles in the Spanish Netherlands in 1706. Anne dismissed Tories and turned to Whigs in 1707. The Lords wanted Spain freed of its new French king Philippe. England and Scotland negotiated a union as Great Britain that was approved in January 1707. In Ireland the Protestant minority owned 86% of the land and continued to discriminate against Catholics.
The Whigs gained a majority in May 1708, but a bad harvest and a severe winter raised grain prices and caused riots. In October 1709 the British and Dutch agreed on the Barrier Treaty. That year England spent £9,000,000 on the war. Whigs encouraged Protestant immigration; but their Junto resigned in 1710 as the war dragged on. Tories opposed the war and gained 104 seats in the Commons in November. They required property for membership in Parliament, favored Anglican conformity, repealed naturalization, and taxed pamphlets and newspapers. Marlborough invaded France with an army of 85,000 men in July, and a treaty was signed in September. Whigs in the House of Lords blocked peace without Spain, but Anne dismissed Marlborough and added twelve Tory peers to the Lords. St. John negotiated peace in 1712 and became Viscount Bolingbroke. In April 1713 Britain, the Dutch, and France agreed to the Treaty of Utrecht. The British were given a monopoly on the slave trade. The English economy recovered from 1711 to 1714 as interest rates were reduced to 5%. During Anne’s reign Britain’s debt nearly tripled to £36,200,000. Anne died in August 1714 and was the last English monarch to veto an act of Parliament.
Thomas Hobbes was a materialist and was most concerned about security, and he published his Leviathan in 1651 to justify authoritarian government. He feared a “war of all against all” and recommended arbitration. He believed in the golden rule of doing to others as one would wish to be treated but that covenants must be secured by the sword. Thus he favored monarchy or a group of powerful rulers and expected subjects to obey. Hobbes argued that rulers may go to war, force men to kill, and punish those who refuse. He considered the sovereign above his own laws.
James Harrington published The Commonwealth of Oceana in 1656 and other works on popular government and lawgiving. He favored republican ideas and criticized Hobbes. Harrington warned that excessive wealth can destroy equality, which is the key to democracy. He believed that the soul can master passion with reason. The wisdom of the virtuous can guide a commonwealth for the benefit of all the people. An unequal commonwealth will be divided because one party will try to support the wealthy; but he argued that supporting public interests is more just. Harrington believed in education and criticized war. His Oceana is based on a fair distribution of land to balance political power. He recommended frequent elections and religious tolerance.
John Milton lost his position in 1660, became blind, and wrote his epic poem, Paradise Lost about the Biblical story of God, angels, Satan, and Adam and Eve in Eden. Satan tempts Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, and Adam shares her fate and sin. They have to leave Paradise, and Michael shows Adam the future of mankind. Milton wrote Paradise Regained to show how Jesus would be tempted by Satan while fasting in the desert. He also wrote Samson Agonistes about the destructive hero who fought for the Hebrews against the Philistines and was seduced by Dalila.
John Bunyan became a Baptist and was arrested for preaching in 1661. He wrote his spiritual autobiography, Grace Abounding, became a popular preacher, and is most famous for his allegorical novel, Pilgrim’s Progress, in which Christian goes on a pilgrimage and meets many vices and virtues. In 1680 Bunyan wrote Mr. Badman as a dialog betweenMr. Wiseman and Mr. Attentive. This novel shows how evil actions bring bad consequences in life.
Thomas Tryon became an Anabaptist and a vegetarian, and he published 27 books promoting health. Diarist John Evelyn had an extensive vegetable garden and fruit trees and recommended planting trees. Some vegetarians noted how Hindu priests believing in reincarnation respected animals. Platonist Henry More also opposed cruelty to animals. Isaac Newton experimented with a vegetarian diet and is famous for his scientific advances. He discovered calculus and how light divides into colors. He loved eating apples and explained the laws of gravity that keep planets in their orbits. In 1687 Newton published his Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy in which he formulated basic laws of physics in regard to matter and motion. The law that that every action has an equal reaction he compared to the golden rule. His Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended argued that the world was created by one supreme God who governs.
George Fox studied the Bible and became a wanderer seeking the Light of the Holy Spirit and “tender” people. He believed the Light is more important than scriptures and was imprisoned at Nottingham in 1649. He referred to those who followed the inner Light as Friends of Truth, but others called them Quakers. Fox held that the church is the community of believers, not the “steeple houses.” He suggested that each person could find God and minister, and he defended the rights of women. Quakers were often arrested for refusing to take oaths or for unauthorized meetings, and Fox spent a total of seven years in jail. He opposed all wars and the death penalty. Friends had their first large meeting in Yorkshire in 1652. In 1654 the Society of Friends began meeting in London. Fox was sent to Cromwell and preached to him. James Naylor imitated Jesus and was punished for blasphemy in 1656. In 1658 the Friends had their first yearly meeting for all of England. During the Commonwealth three thousand Quakers were imprisoned, and 32 died in jail.
After Fox was arrested in 1660, he wrote a letter to Charles II explaining that he was peaceful and loved everyone and urged people to give up weapons. He and others signed a declaration against all fighters that described how Quakers had suffered persecution. The King promised to free them, but during his reign 13,562 Quakers were imprisoned in England. Margaret Fell defended female preaching, and she married Fox who traveled and led the Quakers until his death in 1691. His Journal was published in 1694.
William Penn became a Quaker and gave up his sword. He was imprisoned and wrote pamphlets and No Cross, No Crown. In a trial a jury who refused to convict Quakers was arrested, but the rights of juries were defended. His pamphlets for religious tolerance helped bring about the Tolerance Act of 1689. A legacy from his father Admiral Penn enabled the Quakers to get land that became a “holy experiment” in pacifist living and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
In 1693 while Europe was suffering from the Nine Years’ War the son Penn wrote “An Essay towards the Present and Future Peace of Europe” calling for justice with a Parliament of all the European states to decide disputes. This would prevent bloodshed and destruction of property and let people live in friendship. John Bellers submitted a similar peace plan to the British Parliament in 1710 that would include disarmament. In 1693 Penn also wrote Some Fruits of Solitude recommending a balance of frugality and liberality, love, friendship, and freedom. In 1694 he described Quakers as people who love all including enemies, tell the truth without swearing, do not fight, reject paying for a national ministry, use plain language, practice silence, do not drink pledges, and look within themselves.
John Locke believed that the ability to reason enables humans to be ethical and follow the rule of justice. Every community needs government and contracts. He became a physician and served Ashley Cooper who became the Earl of Shaftesbury, and they worked on constitutions for the Carolina colonies that included slavery. Later Locke opposed slavery. Locke helped Shaftesbury organize the liberal Whig party in 1682. He wrote A Letter Concerning Toleration in 1688 and supported the revolution in 1689 when he published Two Treatises on Government and his Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Smoky London from coal damaged his lungs. Locke advocated charity, faith, and freedom while opposing punishment based on religion. Force should be limited to magistrates and self-defense. Churches are free societies that should promote peace, equality, and friendship.
Locke based government on freedom, equality, and justice. Reason and laws teach us not to harm humans. Civil government restrains violence. Locke also believed in property rights and that law is to protect people and their possessions. Children are to obey parents who are responsible for their education. Husband and wife have equal rights. Civil society requires legislators elected by people to make the laws by majority votes. An executive power is needed to administer and enforce the laws. Unjust war is robbery and murder on a massive scale. Locke believed that after a just war the conquered may form a new government. If the legislature or executive violates their trust, the government may be dissolved.
Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding is an empirical philosophy which derives ideas from sense perceptions and reflections on experience using reasoning, willing, memory, imagination, and intuition. For Locke pleasure and pain are the basis of good and evil. Happiness comes from loving our neighbor as ourself. Locke wrote Some Thoughts on Education for his son’s tutor. He believed that education is most important, promotes health, and aims at virtue, civility, and learning. Reason enables one to deny desires. He considered corporal punishment harmful, and offering rewards can promote vices. Children respond to praise. Children can learn through play, and teachers should set good examples. Explanation helps children understand. Knowledge protects one and prepares one for living. Kindness should be cherished. Locke suggested learning languages by speaking and writing and then grammar. After arithmetic one may teach geometry. Geography leads to history. Locke also wrote on the value of money and The Reasonableness of Christianity. He influenced the education of the Third Earl of Shaftesbury who published Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times in three volumes in 1711 emphasizing self-knowledge, moral sense, and the public good.
George Berkeley’s Principles of Human Knowledge describes a spiritual philosophy based on consciousness which perceives through senses, feels emotions, and uses the mind, memory, imagination, and will. The subject who perceives and knows is the mind or spirit or soul which exist in the Eternal Spirit called God. He urged people to understand God whose goodness administers the world. In sermons at Trinity College in Dublin published in 1712 Berkeley described the Christian doctrine of not resisting or passive obedience as opposed to violent rebellion. One may oppose unjust laws and accept the consequences without harming anyone. The means is as important as the end. One should not resist evil with evil.
Puritans had closed the theatres in 1642, and the public presentation of plays was prohibited until 1660. A few plays were performed privately, and some were published. In 1651 the anonymous Tragedy of Cicero was published, portraying the senator trying to prevent a civil war after the assassination of Julius Caesar. James Shirley’s allegorical masque Cupid and Death was performed and printed in 1653 and with music in 1659. William Davenant produced plays in private residences. His heroic play, The Siege of Rhodes, started a trend taken up by John Dryden. Davenant presented the opera, The Cruelty of the Spaniards in Peru, publicly in 1658, and he was imprisoned in 1659, the year his masque The History of Sir Francis Drake was also performed in public. This era saw the beginning of women playing the female roles on the stage.
In August 1660 Charles II authorized Thomas Killigrew and Davenant to form theatrical companies, and in 1662 the King ordered women’s roles to be played by females. During the restoration era to 1714 the English saw 120 old plays and 440 new ones. In 1668 Robert Howard’s The Great Favourite portrayed Spain’s Felipe III and the Duke of Lerma who uses his daughter to manipulate the King during the decline of the Spanish empire.
In 1665 John Dryden’s Indian Emperor portrayed the Aztec Montezuma and his family during the Spanish conquest led by Cortez. In 1668 Dryden was named poet laureate, and in 1670 he became the second historiographer royal. His two-part heroic tragedy Almanzor and Almahide fictionalized the Spaniards’ conquest of Granada in 1491. Heroic Almanzor loves Almahide; but she marries King Boabdelin, and the play shows how reason can overcome passion. Dryden’s comedy Marriage a la Mode displayed a libertine court as two dissatisfied couples flirt with the idea of having affairs with each other’s partners. Dryden was having an affair with actress Anne Reeves. His romantic Aureng-Zebe dramatizes that prince’s love for Indamora and his becoming the Mughal Emperor. Dryden’s tragedy All for Love showed the last days of Antony and Cleopatra as Octavius Caesar is taking away their power. Dryden’s The Spanish Friar in 1681 satirized a fat Catholic friar while portraying court intrigue in 15th-century Aragon.
William Wycherley wrote four comedies. Love in a Wood is romantic as two betrothed couples are reunited; but Alderman Gripe weds Lucy in revenge, and Simon Addleplot and Lady Flippant marry each other for money. Wycherley’s farce The Gentleman Dancing-Master was based on plays by Calderon and Moliere and exploits the follies of love. Wycherley’s best play, The Country Wife is a sexual comedy that has been performed often. Horner pretends he is impotent from venereal disease so that women will trust him but finds it a hard reputation to shake. During his life The Plain Dealer was Wycherley’s most popular play, and it was based on Moliere’s The Misanthrope and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The rich widow Blackacre would rather manage her own money than marry. Eventually young Fidelia softens Manly’s hatred of mankind.
George Etherege’s The Man of Mode, or Sir Fopling Flutter is considered a comedy of manners as Dorimant wins the love of Harriet and renounces all other women. Thomas Shadwell wrote about twenty plays and battled with Dryden and succeeded him as poet laureate and royal historiographer in 1688. His 1675 tragedy The Libertine is a black comedy based on the legend of Don Juan that satirized the libertine John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. Shadwell considered it as wild and as extravagant as their time, but Robert Hooke called it“atheistical” and “wicked.” In the play Don John kills men and seduces women. Shadwell's comedy The Virtuoso satirized scientists of the Royal Society.
Aphra Behn had an adventurous life, wrote nineteen plays, and a novel about colonial slavery. The Rover, or The Banished Cavaliers opened in 1677 and is an adventurous comedy in two parts. In her farce, The Feigned Courtesans, English Protestants fall in love with Catholic Italians. In The Roundheads, or The Good Old Cause, she depicted the Commonwealth and satirized Puritans, and The City Heiress, or Sir Timothy Treat-All made fun of the Whig politician Shaftesbury. The Lucky Chance, or Alderman’s Bargain produced in 1686 is an intriguing romantic comedy. Hersuccessful Emperor of the Moon was influenced by Italian commedia dell’arte and includes Kepler and Galileo. Aphra Behn’s best novella, Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave: A True History, is set in Suriname and is one of the first descriptions of slavery in America and a “noble savage” who has been educated. After her death in 1689 her tragicomedy The Widow Ranter, or The History of Bacon in Virginia was performed, depicting the rebellion in Jamestown.
Nathaniel Lee wrote historical dramas about Nero, Hannibal, Augustus Caesar, Queens and Alexander the Great, Mithridates, Caesar Borgia, Theodosius, Lucius Junius Brutus, the Princess of Cleve, Constantine the Great, and The Massacre of Paris. His revolutionary Lucius Junius Brutus was banned in 1680. John Banks dramatized the British queens Elizabeth, Anne Boleyn, Mary of Scotland, and Jane Gray, and the best is the poignant story of Elizabeth and Essex.
Thomas Otway died at 33 but wrote ten plays. His tragedy The Orphan was produced in 1680 and set in Bohemia about families with complicated love affairs that result in several deaths. His tragedy Venice Preserved, A Plot Discovered in 1682 reflected the dangerous Catholic plots feared because of the Duke of York’s likely succession, and he also satirized the Earl of Shaftesbury. Thomas Southerne lived 85 years and also wrote ten plays. He adapted Aphra Behn’s novella, History of the Nun, or The Fair Vow Breaker, in his tragicomedy, The Fatal Marriage, or the Innocent Adultery, in 1694 and added his own comic sub-plot. Southerne also adapted Behn’s Oroonoko as his tragicomedy Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave in 1696.
Dryden and Southerne helped Congreve on his first play, the romantic comedy The Old Bachelor, in 1693. Congreve’s The Double-Dealer is a romantic comedy that exposes the manipulative Lady Touchwood and Maskwell’s duplicity. His Love for Love is another complicated romantic comedy involving blackmail and inheritance. Congreve’s last play, The Way of the World, in 1700 displayed romantic affairs and quarreling over money.
Colley Cibber was a comical actor and a theater manager. He also wrote 25 plays that began the trend toward morality and sentimental comedy. His first play, Love's Last Shift, or The Fool in Fashion, was very successful in 1696 with Cibber playing the foppish Sir Novelty Fashion as the characters learn the value of “virtuous love.” John Vanbrugh’s sequel, The Relapse, or Virtue in Danger, was produced the same year and tested the virtue and fidelity of Loveless and Amanda in tempting London. In 1698 Jeremy Collier published his Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage, and Vanbrugh and Congreve wrote responses arguing that theatre showed corrupt morals so that audiences could see and correct them. In Cibber’s 1704 comedy, The Careless Husband, patient Lady Easy wins back her wayward husband Charles.
George Farquhar’s The Recruiting Officer in 1706 describes army officers during Queen Anne’s War and a precocious young woman in a romantic comedy. The Beaux’ Stratagem is also a romantic comedy set in the country that deals with the threat of robbers.
Nicholas Rowe wrote “she-tragedies” with female protagonists. His domestic tragedy, The Fair Penitent, adapted Massinger’s The Fatal Dowry in 1703 and portrayed the lovers Lothario and Calista. Rowe’s historical Tragedy of Jane Shore isbased on Thomas Heywood’s Edward IV Part 2 and was produced in 1714, and his last play was The Tragedy of Lady Jane Grey in 1715. Joseph Addison co-founded The Spectator with Richard Steele in 1711 and wrote the tragedy Cato in 1713 portraying his last days in 46 BC.
While the youth Louis XIV was growing up, France was governed by his mother, Regent Queen Anne of Austria, her prime minister Cardinal Mazarin, the Parlement of Paris, and other institutions. In 1648 people demanding tax reforms put up barricades in Paris and had rock-throwing slings called frondes which named the Fronde Revolt. Pamphlets criticized Mazarin for being corrupt, despotic, and at war against Spain. Prince Louis II of Condé and Prince Gaston d’Orléans met with delegates from Parlement, and Anne and Mazarin tried to reduce taxes and left Paris in January 1649. Parlement voted to banish Mazarin, and Condé’s troops besieged Paris. Bad weather raised food prices. The government was broke, and the Fronde spread to other cities. Anne and Mazarin made concessions and arrested Condé and other leaders in January 1650 as civil war was breaking out. Marshal Turenne led a rebel army but was defeated in December. Archbishop Retz and others demanded the dismissal of Mazarin who fled to Cologne. In September 1651 Parlement ended the regency as Louis XIV became old enough at 13 to rule. Condé allied with Spain, and Parlement supported him and declared Mazarin an enemy. Mazarin hired 6,000 Germans, and Louis supported him at Poitiers. Turenne backed Louis and led the royal army in the civil war. Condé gained power in Paris but then fled to the Spanish Netherlands. Louis returned to Paris in October 1652, and Mazarin came back in February 1653. About one million people died during the Fronde revolts.
Mazarin taught Louis XIV how to govern while Turenne led the war effort against Spain and Condé. Louis was crowned and declared himself the state but avoided Paris until 1660. Mazarin made a trade treaty with England’s Cromwell in 1655 and then an alliance in March 1657. Turenne’s French army defeated Condé and the Spaniards in 1658, and tax rebellions in France were suppressed. French diplomats and German princes formed the League of the Rhine. Spain and France ended their war in November 1659 with the Pyrenees as the border, and Louis married Felipe IV’s daughter Maria Teresa in June 1660. Mazarin and Finance Superintendent Fouquet had become wealthy. During these wars Vincent de Paul and the Daughters of Charity helped feed and aid thousands of people.
After Mazarin’s death in March 1661Louis XIV began ruling without the nobles and ended Fouquet’s corruption, letting honest Jean-Baptiste Colbert handle finances. Louis balanced budgets, and revenue increased. He had a rebellion suppressed and imposed press censorship that greatly reduced the number of pamphlets. Colbert founded academies for literature, art, science, music, and architecture, and he promoted trade while protecting domestic industries. Louis worked to make France the greatest power in Europe by promoting justice and enlightenment. He influenced princes, governors and aristocrats by keeping them at his lavish court.
After Spain’s Felipe IV died in September 1665Louis XIV claimed his wife’s territories for France, and his War of Devolution began in May 1667 with the French invasion of the Spanish Netherlands. He made French parlements register a revised ordinance of civil procedure. In February 1668 France went to war against the Triple Alliance of the Dutch, English, and Swedes, but Pope Clement IX mediated a peace treaty signed in May. In August 1669 Louis forced the Parlement of Paris to register 25 new laws. He formed a secret alliance with England’s Charles II who agreed to become Catholic. In April 1672 France declared war on the Dutch, and the French army crossed the Rhine. Spain declared war on France in October 1673, and the Austrian Empire did so in May 1674. Tax rebellions erupted in Roussillon and Brittany. In 1676 Louis led a force of 50,000 men into the Spanish Netherlands and sent a fleet to Sicily. France made peace with the Dutch at Nijmegen in August 1677, with Spain in September, and with Emperor Leopold in February 1679. At the French court 377 aristocrats were arrested for poisonings and other crimes while others fled.
In 1682 France expelled some Jews, and the court moved to Versailles. Prostitutes and homosexuals were punished. Huguenots were excluded from offices and could not marry Catholics. The government closed Protestant churches and confiscated their endowments. In 1683 Louis XIV started another war against Spain, and the Dutch mediated a truce in August 1684. In the summer of 1685 Dragonnades forced 130,000 Protestants to convert. Louis in October ordered Protestant churches destroyed and their ministers to leave France, and in November all Protestants were expelled from France’s armed forces. Thousands of Protestants were imprisoned and died of starvation and disease. France was spending eight million livres a year on fortifications. In 1686 the League of Augsburg against the French included the Dutch Republic, the Austrian Empire, German princes, Britain, Spain, Portugal, and Sweden. War Minister Louvois urged a war that began in Germany in October 1688. Louis XIV declared war on Britain in July 1689 and helped Catholic James II invade Ireland. By 1693 the French army had more than 400,000 men. France suffered one of its worst famines while speculators cornered grain supplies. Parlements sold offices to raise 16,740,000 livres. Louis XIV made concessions to end the Nine Years War at Ryswick in September 1697.
After the death of Spain’s Carlos II in November 1700 Louis XIV’s grandson Duke Philippe of Anjou became King Felipe V of Spain. The Second Grand Alliance formed against France and Spain in September 1701, and in May 1702 Britain, the Dutch Republic, and the Austrian Empire declared war against France. The French and Bavarians had 12,000 men killed and 14,000 captured at the Blenheim defeat in August 1704. France’s deficit in 1706 was nearly 170 million livres. In January 1712 peace talks began at Utrecht, and by April 1713 treaties had been signed by Spain, Britain, France, Portugal, Savoy, and the Dutch Republic. During the reign of Louis XIV expenditures for war were 42% of the state budget in the 1660s, 66% in the 1670s, and 78% from 1690 to 1715 when France’s debt had risen to £124,000,000. Before his death on September 1, 1715 Louis XIV advised his successor not to engage in wars as he had.
The Abbé deSaint-Pierre attended the peace conference at Utrecht and devised a comprehensive peace plan, which he first published in 1712, to unify Europe with a senate and a combined army to enforce laws and prevent wars.
Cornelius Jansen wrote about Augustine and the doctrine that only God’s grace can save sinful humans, but in 1653 Pope Innocent X condemned five of his ideas which Jansenists denied he wrote. Jansen’s ideas were taught at the abbey of Port-Royal. Blaise Pascal invented a calculating machine, a syringe, a barometer, and a hydraulic press. He had a sudden conversion in 1654 and moved to Port Royal. Pascal defended Jansenism and criticized Jesuits for their politics in hisProvincial Letters which were condemned by Pope Alexander VII in December 1657. Pasquier Quesnel was persecuted for being a Jansenist, but he wrote about the morality of the Gospels and became a cardinal in 1700. Pascal died in 1662, but his writings were collected as his Pensées (Thoughts) and have been read by many for their perceptive wisdom. He emphasized the experience of God in the heart more than reason, but those who disobey reason are fools. He was consoled more by the moral law than by physical sciences. He trusted God more than religions. Failing to find justice, he noted that men have fallen back on force, its opposite.
Madame Guyon believed in praying continually and was called a Quietist and imprisoned for seven years. Brother Lawrence’s writings were published as The Practice of the Presence of God. François Fénelon became a priest, helped the poor, and wrote his Treatise on the Education of Girls in 1687. He tutored sons of the royal family and wrote Fables and Dialogues of the Dead for them. He became Archbishop of Cambrai in 1696 and a spiritual advisor to Mme. de Maintenon, but Louis XIV sent him to Cambrai in 1697. The Inquisition condemned his book on the interior life, and Fénelon submitted to the Pope in 1699, the year he published his novel, The Adventures of Telemachus, which exposed the corruption of luxury and imperial ambitions. During war he helped the wounded and sick and wrote about the suffering. In 1711 Fénelon wrote “Questions for the Royal Conscience” and another work on government reforms. Pierre Bayle published his Historical and Critical Dictionary in 1697 and 1702 using tolerance and skepticism to promote justice and critical freedom. Nicolas Malebranche was influenced by Descartes, Plato, and Augustine. His metaphysics emphasized God and his Treatise on Ethics the virtue of love. He advised searching for truth by meditating, silencing the senses, imagination, and passions.
The Duc de La Rochefoucauld fought for France and then for the aristocrats in the Fronde civil wars. At a salon he met Mme. de Sévigné and the novelist Mme. de Lafayette. In a game they created maxims, and he published his Reflections or Sentences and Moral Maxims in 1665 and in four more editions. He noted the power of self-love and desires and suggested correcting our own faults. Mme. de Lafayette was his close friend and is best known for her popular novel, The Princess of Cleves, which described the court of Henri II. Mademoiselle de Chartres marries the Prince of Cleves and then falls in love with the handsome Duke of Nemours, but she confesses to her husband and leaves them both.
Boileau wrote satires and literary criticism in L’Art poétique. He described a battle of books and debated the ancients and moderns with Charles Perrault in 1687. Corneille’s nephew Fontenelle took up this controversy and found little improvement in poetry but much in science and learning. He helped popularize the heliocentric planetary system of Copernicus and became the secretary of the Academy of Sciences. Jean de La Fontaine is known for having publishedFablesbased on the animal stories of Aesop and the Sanskrit Panchatantra which had been translated into English and French as well as many other stories with moral lessons.
Jean de La Bruyère is renowned for translating the character portraits of Theophrastus and adding many more of his own in hisCharacters. He also added his own wise reflections that include admiring both sexes and recognizing the infinity and eternity of God, the freedom of the intelligent, and how justice conforms to reason.
In February 1651 Pierre Corneille’s Nicomedes presented a hero similar to the rebellious Prince of Condé, and he lost his position as a tax collector, though Parlement exonerated Condé in April. In the tragicomedy Nicomedes competes with this brother Attalus for the throne in Bithynia, but they become friends of Rome. In 1667 Corneille’s Attila portrayed romantic love, ambition, survival, and honor at the end of the Hun’s life in 453.
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin lived at court as a youth but formed a theatre company in 1643 and took the name Molière. The company failed, and he went to prison for debt twice. Then he toured as an actor and theatre manager for twelve years. Molière’s first comedy in verse was The Blunderer, or The Counterplots performed at Lyons in 1655 and published at Paris in 1662. In 1658 Molière’s company gained the patronage of the King’s brother Philippe as Les Comédiens de Monsieur. Molière managed the company and starred in all the plays he wrote. In The Affected Young Ladies Mascarille poses as a marquis, but the valets are stripped of fine clothes by their masters to expose them as servants and humiliate the ladies. After a failed drama Molière’s successful comedy, The School for Husbands, in 1661 affirmed the right of young women to choose their husbands and satirized tyrannical older men. The first comedy-ballet with music was his Les Fâcheux (The Pests) which opened at Fouquet’s estate. Molière’s most performed play was The School for Wives. When it was criticized for immorality, he defended the value of comedy in his play, Critique of the School for Wives and himself in another play requested by Louis XIV, who danced in The Forced Marriage.
Molière’s great satire, Tartuffe or the Impostor, was controversial and banned for nearly five years. The hypocritical Tartuffe uses religion to deceive the master of the house, and he tries to seduce the women. The tragicomedyDon Juan was banned after fifteen performances. Don Juan has married and left many women, and he continues seducing them and postpones repentance until it is too late. In August 1665 Louis XIV became the patron of Molière’s company. In The Misanthrope frank Alceste criticizes social corruption but falls in love with coquettish Célimène. They quarrel, and he decides to retire from the world.
In Molière’s farce, The Doctor in Spite of Himself, the woodcutter Sganarelle is persuaded to use his skill as a doctor. Molière’s Amphitryon, based on a comedy by Plautus, involves the gods Jupiter and Mercury mistaken for the general Amphitryon and his servant Sosia. Georges Dandin or the Confounded Husband showed how aristocrats discriminated against commoners and satirized the arrogance of the nobles. The Miser is also based on a comedy by Plautus in which avaricious Harpagon is obsessed with a box of money he has buried in his garden while young lovers try to get together. The Bourgeois Gentleman satirized middle-class social climbers. The Learned Ladies showed women trying to educate themselves, but they are distracted by the efforts of the young to marry. Molière suffered from tuberculosis and died on February 17, 1673 after a performance in his last play, The Hypochondriac. Argan wants his daughter Angélique to marry his doctor’s nephew; but he allows her to wed Cléante if he will become a doctor.
Jean Racine was educated at the Port-Royal monastery, but he turned to the theatre and wrote eleven tragedies and one comedy. Molière’s company produced his first play in 1664 about the Theban conflict between two brothers, but Racine’s mistress left Molière’s company to join his. Racine hoped that Louis XIV would become a conqueror and wrote Alexander the Great to encourage him, though in the play the Hindu king Porus criticizes Alexander’s invasion. In Racine’s tragedy Andromache the French ancestors Andromache and her son Astyanax survive; but Orestes has his men kill Pyrrhus, and Hermione stabs herself to death. Racine’s only comedy Les Plaideurs (The Litigants) satirized a judge and those involved in lawsuits. In 1669 Racine’s tragedy Britannicus showed how Nero began to use murder and terror to protect his power and may have been a warning to Louis XIV. In Bérénice the Roman Emperor Titus, Antiochus, and Bérénice sacrifice their love for the sake of the Emperor’s imperial power. Racine’s Bajazet portrayed violence in the court of Ottoman Sultan Murad IV.
Racine changed history in his romantic drama Mithridate about a king who gives his fiancée Monime to his son whom she loves and then kills himself when in fact he married Monime. In his Iphigénie, based on Iphigenia at Aulis by Euripides, Racine also changed the story to allow his heroine to survive. His tragedy Phèdre is based on Hippolytus by Euripides and Plutarch’s Theseus, but he has Phaedra’s nurse, instead of Phaedra, falsely accuse Hippolytus. Theseus believes them and then misuses his power. Racine hoped to show how passions can cause problems and thus expose vice and hatred. He wrote the religious play Esther for Madame de Maintenon’s girls school, and it was a plea for persecuted Jews. Racine also wrote the tragedy Athalie about Jewish history, but it was not performed in his lifetime.
In 1648 Spain finally recognized the independence of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. More than 500,000 Spaniards died of the plague in 1647-52. Rebellions were suppressed. Felipe IV recognized his natural son Juan José who governed in Italy and then in Catalonia 1653-56 and the Spanish Netherlands 1656-59. Spain was bankrupt in 1653, and its debt increased to 120 million ducats. War against France continued until the peace in 1659 established the Pyrenees as the border. Felipe’s daughter married Louis XIV. Spaniards fought the Portuguese. Felipe IV died in 1665 and was succeeded by his weak son Carlos II. Debased coins caused inflation. Maria de Guevara wrote on behalf of women and criticized the war.
Inbred Carlos II was disabled physically and mentally but reigned for 35 years. Aristocrats gained power and increased in numbers. A Junta and local aristocrats governed as the Cortes of Castile did not meet any more in the century after 1665. Regent and Queen Mother Mariana favored her confessor Nithard who became Inquisitor General. Juan José commanded in Flanders. Spain did not pay Louis XIV the dowry, and the French invaded Flanders. Spain recognized Portugal’s independence in 1668. Juan José came into conflict with Nithard and persuaded Mariana to make some reforms, and she appointed him to govern Aragon and Catalonia. Miguel de Molinos wrote a popular Spiritual Guide that promoted Quietism, but in 1687 the Inquisition sentenced him to life in prison.
Carlos II was declared of age in 1675, and the Junta was dissolved the next year. Fernando de Valenzuela became prime minister; but a new Junta ordered him arrested, and he fled. In 1677 Juan José led an army from Aragon into Castile, and he persuaded King Carlos to visit Zaragoza where the Cortes funded troops. The French had invaded Spain in 1675, and Spain conceded losses in the Netherlands and Franche-Comté in the Nijmegen treaty in 1678. Poor harvests caused a food crisis, and Juan José died in 1679. In 1680 coins were devalued again, and Spain suffered a recession and epidemics. The French invaded Flanders again in 1681 and gained Luxembourg in the 1684 treaty. The King, Church, and nobles owned 95% of the land in Spain. The Inquisition continued to suppress dissent, and Spanish education and trade deteriorated. Junta governors were appointed in 1693, but they did not last long. Mariana died in 1696. France and Spain fought another devastating war from 1689 to 1697, though Spain regained Catalonia. However, Louis XIV’s son Philippe of Anjou became the heir of Carlos II, and the Council approved.
After the death of Carlos II in November 1700 Duke Philippe of Anjou was proclaimed him King Felipe V of Spain at the age of 17 even though he could not speak Spanish. Archbishop Fénelon had tutored him, and his grandfather Louis XIV and the French ambassador advised him. In 1701 Louis XIV sent French forces to control Spanish possessions in northern Italy, and conspirators supporting Archduke Charles in Naples were punished. Felipe married Maria Luisa of Savoy who could speak Spanish, but her father allied with Austrian Emperor Leopold. Felipe V went to Barcelona and granted privileges to the Catalan Cortes. Leopold sent Prince Eugene of Savoy with an army of 30,000 men to fight the French at Milan, beginning the War of the Spanish Succession. In May 1702 England, the Austrian Empire, and the Dutch Republic declared war on France. A convoy took Felipe V to Naples, and he marched north to Milan. An Anglo-Dutch fleet attacked Cadiz and destroyed Spanish treasure ships from America. Cardinal Portocarrero criticized the decadent nobility and retired. France sold weapons to Spain which conscripted soldiers and depended on the French navy. In 1703 Portugal’s King Pedro II joined the Allies who gathered at Lisbon. In 1704 French troops arrived in Spain, and most of Spain’s revenue paid for their troops. In 1705 Catalans got aid from England and allied with Austria’s Archduke Charles. Aragon and Valencia also opposed Felipe V who relied on France and Castile. The Allies captured Barcelona and Valencia, but the French entered Zaragoza. Allies marched from Portugal to Madrid and proclaimed the archduke King Charles III. Felipe V fled to France but came back with French troops. They defeated the Allies at Almansa and kept Charles in Catalonia. In January 1709 Pope Clement XI allowed the imperial army free passage. A cold winter and spring flooding caused crop failures, famine, and disease, and Louis XIV recalled French troops from Spain. Allies were victorious in 1710 and entered Madrid again, but Charles retreated to Zaragoza in December. Felipe V returned to Madrid in November 1711, and the Cortes met in October 1712. Peace treaties were made in 1713 and with Portugal in February 1715. Spain had lost control over external territories, but Felipe V was recognized in a unified Spain and controlled the Church, limiting the Inquisition.
By 1648 Portugal had lost 220 ships to Dutch attacks, but in June the Dutch made peace with Spain. The Portuguese traded slaves from Angola to Brazil and fought a war against England 1650-54. King Joao IV died in 1656 and was succeeded by his 13-year-old son Afonso VI, and his mother governed for six years. Portuguese fought off attacks by the Dutch and Spaniards. Afonso VI’s sister Catarina de Bragança married England’s Charles II in 1662. The priest Antonio Vieira served as a diplomat but was imprisoned 1665-67 for criticizing the Inquisition which Pope Clement X suspended in Portugal in 1674 for seven years. The Portuguese defeated the Spaniards at Montes Claros in June 1665 and gained their independence in February 1668. Afonso’s brother Pedro became Prince Regent as Afonso was exiled to the Azores. After Afonso’s death in 1683 he ruled as King Pedro II. The Cortes of Portugal did not meet 1679-97 and not at all after 1698. In 1702 Portugal allied against Spain and France with England and the Dutch and in 1703 with the Austrian Empire. Spain’s King Felipe V declared war on Portugal in April 1704 and invaded. Pedro II died in December 1706 and was succeeded by his 17-year-old son Joao V who married Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria in 1708. Portugal agreed to an armistice in November 1712, to a peace treaty with France in April 1713, and one with Spain in February 1715.
Venice governed Crete but from 1648 spent more than twenty years defending Candia against the Turks with help from France as many were killed. Venetians led by Morosini took over many places from the Turks between 1684 and 1694. After more battles Venice made peace with the Turks in January 1699, and Venice remained neutral in the War of the Spanish Succession. An Austrian imperial army took over Milan in 1706. Ferdinando II de’ Medici ruled Tuscany 1621-70 while the economy deteriorated. His son Cosimo III was a religious hypocrite and imposed harsh punishment for minor offenses. His son Ferdinando appreciated literature and produced operas by Scarlatti but was not allowed to reform the government. Spain’s Felipe V married Elizabeth Farnese and claimed Tuscany in 1714.
Pope Innocent X revived the Castro War in 1649 increasing the debt of the Papal States by 12 million crowns, and he aided Venice against the Turks. Pope Alexander VII criticized nepotism but rewarded his brothers and nephews. He spent money hiring architects Bernini and Francesco Borromini to beautify Rome. He baptized Queen Kristina of Sweden who founded an academy to discuss ethics. Alexander continued the policies of Innocent X by favoring Spain against Portugal’s independence, aiding Venice against the Turks, and opposing Jansenists in France. Pope Clement IX also helped Venice’s war effort; but he mediated peace between France, Spain, England, and the Netherlands in 1668, and he stopped the persecution of Jansenists. Pope Clement X (1670-76) allowed nobles to be merchants, gave alms to the poor, subsidized Poland against the Turks, and sent nuncios to work for peace. Pope Innocent XI was personally frugal and paid off some of the debt but then increased it promoting a Christian alliance against the Ottoman Empire. He helped Jews and criticized Louis XIV’s persecution of Huguenots. Pope Innocent XII in 1692 prohibited popes from enriching their relatives, and he reformed the canon laws in 1695. Pope Clement XI recognized King Felipe V in Spain, and his mediation efforts failed to prevent the War of the Spanish Succession. In 1706 Prince Eugene’s imperial army plundered the Papal States and drove the French out of northern Italy. Imperial troops invaded the Papal States again in 1708. In 1709 they were allowed free passage, and Clement XI recognized King Charles III in Spain. As Emperor Charles VI he came to Milan in November 1711. In the 1713 treaty the Papal States lost Parma and Piacenza to the Austrian Empire.
Sicily was governed by ten viceroys from the Spanish and Habsburg empires from 1648 to 1674. That year hunger let to a revolt at Messina against Spanish troops, and French forces arrived to help them in 1675 and destroyed the Spanish and Sicilian fleets in 1676. The French controlled only Messina, but Viceroy Vicente de Gonzaga restored Spanish rule there in 1678. Under repressive government Sicily lost half its population in the next ten years. When Felipe V became King of Spain, Austrians were persecuted in Sicily; but the Utrecht treaty ended Spanish rule by giving Sicily to Duke Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy. Spaniards suppressed a revolt in Naples in 1648, and in 1656 more than a million Neapolitans died in a plague. Leonardo di Capoa advocated medical reforms. The Austrian imperial army occupied Naples in 1708. Giambattista Vico taught rhetoric at the University of Naples and gave orations “On Self-Knowledge,” “On Virtue and Wisdom,” “On True Learning,” and “On Education for the Common Good.”
Despite the peace treaty of 1648 the Austrian Empire under Ferdinand III closed Protestant churches and banished 500 preachers, though he respected rights in Vienna’s Jewish district. Ferdinand’s son Leopold became King of Hungary in 1655 and King of Bohemia in 1656. Transylvania’s Rákóczi II invaded southern Poland in January 1657, and Ferdinand died in April. Leopold became King of Croatia and allied with Poland to help them expel Rákóczi. Electors at Frankfurt were bribed and elected 18-year-old Leopold Emperor of the German Nation in July 1658, and he agreed to 45 articles. A new Federation of the Rhine included three German archbishops, Louis XIV of France, Karl X of Sweden, and more than fifty German princes and cities. More Austrian troops were sent into Hungary. Tatars and Turks invaded Transylvania, and their Prince Rákóczi II died in 1660. The imperial army and the Rhenish League helped Transylvania and Hungary when they were attacked by Turks. Leopold increased the imperial army. Bohemia and Moravia contributed taxes to the Austrian Empire and regained the population lost in the Thirty Years’ War. The Austrians primarily exported food and raw materials and imported manufactured goods. In 1670 Austrian troops invaded Hungary to squelch a conspiracy and drive out Protestants. Leopold expelled all Jews from Vienna and sold the Jewish quarter to the city, though Samuel Oppenheimer remained to loan money to the Emperor.
Emperor Leopold suspended Hungary’s constitution in 1672, and imperial soldiers persecuted Protestants during Hungary’s “ten dark years.” The Empire allied with Brandenburg, the Dutch, Spain, and Saxony against France, and the war lasted from 1673 to February 1679. A plague started in 1678 and spread from Hungary to Austria and in 1680 to Bohemia where a revolt was suppressed. Protestants found refuge in northeastern Hungary, and 25,000 Kuruc fighters led by Imri Thököly with invading Turks attacked Austrian soldiers in 1678. The rebels moved into Slovakia and western Hungary and raided Silesia and Moravia. Leopold offered concessions to Protestants. Thököly demanded an independent Hungary and allied with Transylvania’s Prince Apafi and the Turkish pasha of Buda, and after fighting in 1682 Leopold recognized Thököly in eastern Hungary. Austria in March 1683 allied with Poland’s King Jan III Sobieski. An Ottoman army of 100,000 men aided by Transylvanians and Kurucs invaded Hungary. Pope Innocent XI promoted the Christian alliance with Venice and Germans. The Turks besieged Vienna for two months before they were defeated by the Christian armies on September 12. Leopold decreed pardons, and by 1687 the Turks were driven out of Hungary which became a Habsburg kingdom. In May 1688 the Diet of Transylvania also joined the Empire, and Bavaria’s army captured Belgrade in September.
In 1688 Emperor Leopold joined the Grand Alliance against France in the Nine Years War. Imperial forces invaded Albania and Macedonia but had to retreat from the Turks. Thököly’s rebels defeated an imperial army in August 1690, and he was elected Prince of Transylvania. In 1691 a German army defeated the Ottoman army, and Leopold proclaimed religious freedom for Christians in Transylvania. In 1697 a peasant rebellion in Upper Hungary was suppressed. Prince Eugene of Savoy commanded the imperial army and defeated the Turks at Zenta in September. In January 1699 the Holy League and the Turks agreed to a peace treaty at Karlowitz. In 1700 Eugene’s imperial army invaded Italy. The Empire opposed France again in the War of the Spanish Succession. In 1703 the Imperial Treasury was bankrupt but got loans from English and Dutch allies. Leopold proclaimed his son Charles king of Spain and sent him to Portugal. After the allied victory at Blenheim in August 1704, Bavaria came under imperial administration. Ferenc II Rákóczi led a rebellion in Hungary, and the Diet of Transylvania elected him their prince in July 1704; but the Austrian army defeated the Kurucs in November 1706.Leopold died in 1705, and his oldest son became Emperor Joseph I. Eugene’s imperial army aided by Savoy drove the French out of Italy in 1707 and occupied Naples. Ferenc II Rákóczi claimed the Transylvanian throne, but an Austrian force defeated the Kurucs in August 1708. The imperial army invaded the Papal States and persuaded Pope Clement XI to recognize Archduke Charles as king of Spain. Peace came to Austria just before Emperor Joseph’s death in April 1711, and Emperor Charles VI made peace with Hungary. The treaty of Rastatt in 1714 gave Naples, Milan, Sardinia, and the southern Netherlands to the Habsburg Empire.
Comenius created The Visible World in Pictures for children and in 1657 published his writings on education designed to help all people gain knowledge, virtue, and piety. He urged all boys and girls to go to school, and he advised beginning early and teaching them gently and pleasantly. Language is learned by practice. He opposed corporal punishment. In The Way of Light he recommended a “parliament of the whole world” so that wars shall cease. His pansophy sought all wisdom to learn good means to good ends. Comenius aided Protestants exiled by the Catholic empire. In his Pampaedia he argued that force is not needed because wise guidance is sufficient. He suggested a College of Light to teach humanity, a Dicastery of Peace for justice with government and laws to achieve public equity and security, and a Religious Consistory with sacred gatherings, sacred books, acts of charity, and the Holy Spirit as the inner teacher.
German nations had been devastated in the Thirty Years’ War, and it took more than fifteen years to recover. Foreign armies (mostly Swedes) did not leave until 1654. The Brandenburg estates called for elementary schools for all Germans. Rhenish circles formed. Brandenburg’s Elector Friedrich Wilhelm annexed East Pomerania and allied with Sweden in 1656, gaining sovereignty in Prussia. In 1657 he cooperated with Poland and the Empire against Sweden. The peace of Oliva in May 1660 ended the Northern War. In 1661 Brandenburg made a commercial treaty with England. The French invasion of 1670 gained some German support. In May 1672 Brandenburg formed an alliance with the Dutch, but a year later Friedrich Wilhelm made a separate peace with France. In 1674 many Germans including Brandenburg joined with the Austrian Empire against the French and the invading Swedes in 1675. The imperial army had 74,100 German auxiliaries by 1678. Treaties ended the war in 1679, and Brandenburg allied with Louis XIV.
In 1681 Friedrich Wilhelm switched his alliance from France to England. In 1683 Germans helped defeat the Turks’ siege of Vienna. In 1685 Brandenburg allied with the Dutch and welcomed Protestants from France seeking refuge. Friedrich Wilhelm used income tax to support his military. In 1686 the League of Augsburg (Austria, Germans, Dutch, England, Sweden and Spain) opposed French aggression. The Nine Years’ War between France and this Grand Alliance began in September 1688, and invading French crossed the Rhine. In 1689 Germans drove the French to the Upper Rhine. In 1692 Hanover became an imperial electorate. Max Emanuel of Bavaria governed the Spanish Netherlands. Brandenburg Elector Friedrich III (r. 1688-1713) had palaces built in Berlin and founded the University of Halle in 1694. The treaty of Ryswick ended the war in October 1697. When the Bourbon Felipe V claimed the throne of Spain in 1700, France aided him against the renewed Grand Alliance of Austria, Germans (except Bavaria), England, and the Dutch that formed by 1702. Germans conscripted soldiers, and the Allies defeated the French in August 1704. A peasant revolt was suppressed in 1705. German military strength increased to 343,300 men with 156,700 of them fighting for the Empire by 1710. The treaty at Baden ended the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714.
Samuel Pufendorf became the first professor of international law at Heidelberg University. In 1667 he criticized the Holy Roman Empire and then then taught for twenty years at the new University of Lund in Sweden, publishing his Law of Nature and of Nations in 1672. He taught that natural law by reason gives humans duties and that civil government is best at restraining abusive behavior. He argued that war must be justified by self-defense, assertion of rights, or satisfaction for damages. Philipp Jakob Spener was a Lutheran preacher who founded Pietism. Christian Thomasius taught in German and published Doctrine of Morals in 1692 and Natural and International Law in 1705. He opposed persecuting and torturing suspected witches.
Gottfried Leibniz taught himself Latin and Greek and read great books. He earned a doctorate in law and advised the Elector of Mainz on a new legal code. He traveled and met Malebranche, Arnauld, Boyle, and Spinoza. In 1682 he founded the first German scientific journal, Acta Eruditorum, and he influenced the founding of scientific academies in Vienna, Amsterdam, and Moscow. He worked on Protestant and Christian reunification. He believed in a united Europe and approved of Saint-Pierre’s peace plan. Leibniz studied Chinese philosophy and believed deeply in God and universal harmony. He invented calculus and developed the principle of sufficient reasoning. He wrote about wisdom as the science of happiness that guides virtue and the importance of justice and charity. In 1710 Leibniz published his Theodicy explaining the goodness of God, human freedom, and the origin of evil as a deficiency. Suffering helps humans move toward perfection. Humans are free to choose between good and bad. Relative evils are lesser goods that are temporal. God is wise and just, and humans can relate to God. His Monadology is about souls as active centers of divine energy. He understood God as the creator and the final goal.
Grimmelshausen experienced the Thirty Years’ War and wrote about it in his best-selling novel Simplicissimus. Soldiers ravage a farm, and the orphan taught by a hermit is named Simplicissimus who has many adventures in the suffering of the war. He becomes a governor’s page, serves the Swedish army as a fool, is abducted, and joins thieves. He escapes disguised as a girl, is imprisoned and freed. He becomes a musketeer and steals from the rich. He marries, has love affairs, becomes a mountebank and a soldier again. After the war he marries again, but she dies. He visits Russia, is captured by Tatars and returns to Germany to become a hermit. Other Germans also wrote about war such as Andreas Gryphius who wrote five tragedies including Horribilicribrifax. Seckendorf and Nicola Avancini wrote about Christian ethics.
In 1648 the treaty of Westphalia confirmed that the thirteen cantons of the Swiss Confederation and their allies would not be under imperial jurisdiction. After the war food prices came down, and Swiss farmers revolted. The peasants formed an alliance and an army of 16,000 in 1653, but mediation led to a truce. Some rebels fought and were defeated. One reform ended selling convicts to Venice to be galley slaves. Swiss mediated conflict between the English and the Dutch in 1654. Catholic cantons revived the Golden Borromaic League in 1655 while Protestant cantons allied with England’s Cromwell. A war broke out between the Catholic and Protestant cantons, but it ended in February 1656. A treaty set up a court to arbitrate future conflicts. The Swiss Confederation still claimed Franche Comté, and the Swiss provided mercenaries to France for privileges. When the French seized Franche Comté in 1668, the Confederation sent an army and got it back. In 1672 Swiss mercenaries helped the French invade Holland. In 1674 the Swiss Diet declared the Swiss Confederation a neutral state. In 1685 many Huguenots found refuge in Switzerland. In 1687 Waldenses fled from Savoy to Geneva, but 3,000 returned in 1689. That year France paid for more Swiss mercenaries. The Swiss insisted that their troops be used only for defense, but 9,000 fought for the Dutch against the French who had 29,000 Swiss. Swiss guards worked for monarchs. About 50,000 Swiss mercenaries were hired by both sides in the Spanish War of Succession. In 1713 the treaty at Utrecht recognized Swiss neutrality. Another battle between the Catholic and Protestant cantons occurred in the Toggenberg war of 1712.
Austrian Archduke Leopold Wilhelm governed the Spanish Netherlands 1647-56. Although eighty years of war between the Dutch and Spain ended in January 1648, France and Spain were still at war over the southern Netherlands. Swedes helped the French defeat Leopold’s army in August. Antwerp’s had lost half its population. The States of Holland wanted to disband most army units. The Dutch Stadtholder Willem II opposed that but died in November 1650. Holland promoted elections, and the Great Assembly met in 1651. The United Provinces banned Catholicism, and Johan de Witt persuaded the Great Assembly to grant amnesty. The Dutch increased their trade, and the English attacked their ships. In 1653 De Witt became Grand Pensionary of Holland and urged republican government. The Dutch lost 1,200 ships; but Denmark helped the Dutch regain control of the Baltic Sea, and England agreed to peace in 1654. Plague spread from Leyden in 1655 to Amsterdam in 1656 while Dutch trade increased. The States General promoted De Witt and restrained the power of provincial Stadtholder Willem Frederik. In 1657 the Dutch went to war against Portugal over Brazil and Ceylon, and they aided Denmark against Sweden. Juan José governed the Spanish Netherlands 1656-59. Cromwell’s England supported France against the Spanish, taking Dunkirk; but after the war between France and Spain ended in 1659, the army in Flanders was reduced by more than half. Books by Descartes were translated, and his philosophy became controversial.
In 1660 Holland repealed the Exclusion Act and supported the education of Prince Willem III of Orange. Spain conceded some territory in the southern Netherlands to the Dutch. In 1662 the Dutch formed an alliance with England and ratified peace with Portugal. The Dutch debated the republican States General versus a monarchical stadtholder. The Prince-Bishop of Münster led a rebellion and was supported by the English who went to war against the Dutch again in 1664. The English won a major naval battle in June 1665, but the Dutch fought back and made peace with Münster in 1666. Danes once again backed the Dutch whose navy went up the Thames, and they made peace at Breda in July 1667. Yet that year the French invaded Belgian territory. De Witt allied with England and Sweden to mediate between Spain and France, but in 1669 the English joined the French in an attack on the United Provinces to punish the Dutch. Valckenier, De La Court, and Spinoza argued for republics and religious toleration. In February 1672 the States General appointed Prince Willem III of Orange commander, and England declared war on the Dutch in March, followed in April by Louis XIV who allied with Sweden and Münster. The Dutch flooded the land to save Amsterdam, but French troops entered Utrecht. Peasants were angry, and riots spread. Johan de Witt was blamed and wounded in June. Zeeland and Holland proclaimed Prince Willem Stadtholder in July. Pamphlets condemned De Witt, and his brother Cornelis was arrested for conspiracy, tortured, and banished. Johan de Witt resigned on August 4, and a mob murdered the two brothers on the 20th.
Holland authorized Stadtholder Willem III to change town councils, and he was made captain-general for life. French and Münster soldiers occupied most of the Dutch Republic. The States General allied with Emperor Leopold and Brandenburg, and they forced the French army toward the south. Holland raised taxes, and the Dutch navy defeated the French three times in 1673. Denmark and Spain supported the Dutch. England made peace with the Dutch in 1674, and the French retreated from Gelderland and Overijssel where Prince Willem gained power in 1675. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek improved the use of the microscope and in 1676 discovered single-celled organisms which opened the field of microbiology.
In 1677 the French invaded the Spanish Netherlands, and Willem III married England’s Princess Mary in November. The English and Dutch signed a treaty in January 1678, and France and the Dutch Republic made peace at Nijmegen in August. In late 1679 French forces entered the Southern Netherlands, Lorraine, and Alsace, and the Dutch allied with Sweden in 1681. In 1683 the French besieged Luxemburg, and peace came in 1684. Willem secretly allied with the Habsburg Empire in 1688 and hired German mercenaries, and the French occupied Cologne. Willem led an army that invaded England, and he replaced the hated Catholic James II as King William III of England. Louis XIV declared war on the Dutch, and in 1689 the English went to war against France. In 1691 Willem visited The Hague, and his policy of religious toleration was popular in England and the United Provinces. In 1692 he replaced seven republican regents with his supporters. During the Nine Years War (1688-97) France fought the Dutch and their allies over trade, and in the treaty at Ryswick the Dutch gained fortresses in the Southern Netherlands.
The death of Stadtholder Willem III in March 1702 left behind no sons, and the republicans struggled for power against the Orangists. In the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14) French forces invaded the Spanish Netherlands again. The Dutch joined another Grand Alliance against France and Spain. The Dutch army increased to more than 100,000 men. The allies defeated the French at Blenheim in 1704, at Ramillies in 1706, at Oudenaarde in 1708, and at Malplaquet in 1709. The Dutch Republic and Britain agreed on three Barrier treaties, and negotiations at Utrecht led to peace treaties in 1713. In 1715 the Dutch and the Austrian Empire agreed to share the defense of the Southern Netherlands.
Baruch Spinoza was born in Amsterdam into a family of Sephardic Jews and studied in a Talmudic school and a Yeshivah, but the Jewish community expelled him for heresy in 1656. He was interested in science and wrote a book critical of Descartes’ philosophy. Spinoza published his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus anonymously in 1669 examining the Bible critically and arguing that religious freedom is necessary for piety and public peace. He had advised Jan de Witt and was upset by his assassination. In 1674 the States-General banned the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. Spinoza ground lenses for a living, suffered from the glass dust, and died of tuberculosis in 1677. That year his unfinished Treatise on the Correction of the Understanding was published. In that work he rejected wealth, honor, and sensual pleasure in order to love the eternal and infinite which brings pure joy and to seek the good that unites the mind with all of Nature. He focused on moral philosophy and instructing children. He worked on purifying the intellect.
Spinoza’s Ethics using geometric methods was also published in 1677 and was his major work. He defined God as “Being absolutely infinite.” He believed that God determines all and that human free will is illusory because they are ignorant of the causes of their motives. Yet he considered the human mind part of the infinite intellect of God and valued reason and intuition over opinion and imagination. By perfecting our actions we understand God, enabling individuals to freely choose what is best. A mind not using reason suffers. In his Ethics he also analyzed emotions. Governing one’s tongue and appetites is difficult. Love is caused by joy for another, and hatred is caused by pain. Desire causes coveting, ambition, and anger. He taught that hatred, anger, and envy should be avoided, but the first task is to remove sorrow. Not governing emotions is bondage. Only a stronger emotion can restrain an emotion. Reason demands loving oneself and seeking what is beneficial for all. Those who know God follow virtue guided by reason and harm no one. A state uses laws to protect citizens with justice. A free person never deceives. Peace of mind comes from knowing God. Minds are not conquered by arms but by love. Emotions can be clearly understood and controlled, but negative emotions may hinder understanding. Love conquers hatred, and the intellectual love of God decreases suffering.
Spinoza in his Theological-Political Treatise admired the teachings of Christianity but criticized its current condition of mutual hatred. He was also critical of Judaism but explored the divine mind revealed to the prophets and Christ, focusing on what is right and good. He believed that all nations have prophets, that all people benefit from laws, and that election depends upon virtue. He noted violent regimes do not last long. He valued common consent, human equality, justice, love, and democracy, and he encouraged individuals to think for themselves.
Frederik III ruled Denmark according to the Haandfæstning Charter from 1648 until his monarchy became absolute in 1660. Denmark went to war against Sweden in 1657 and made concessions in the treaty of 1658. Denmark was supported by allies, and Frederik renounced the treaty in 1660. Danes had suffered, and a new treaty was negotiated. Half of Denmark was owned by 150 nobles. The clergy and burghers accepted a hereditary monarchy, and the militia persuaded the nobles to agree. A supreme court was established, but the King could overrule it. Nobles retained seigneurial rights but were taxed. Treasurer Hannibal Sehested arranged a treaty with England, and in 1663 Denmark joined the Rhenish alliance. Frederik III used harsh methods to collect taxes from the poor while the court enjoyed luxurious carnivals. In the Second Anglo-Dutch War the Danes backed England in 1665 but the Dutch in 1666. That year the first Danish newspaper began.
Frederik III died and was succeeded by his son Kristian V (r. 1670-99). He created new nobles who did not pay taxes but were responsible for collecting them from their farmers. Denmark also ruled Norway, Iceland, and Greenland and expanded its trade and industries. Count Griffenfeldt became chancellor in 1673. Denmark allied with Brandenburg in the Scanian War in 1675. Griffenfeldt opposed the war, tried to ally with France, and was banished for corruption. Danes were victorious at first, especially in naval battles; but then Swedes led by Karl XI defeated them several times, and they agreed to a treaty in September 1679 that included trade and a common coinage. Peasants suffered from heavy taxes and harsh laws, and the King controlled what was printed. Danes invaded Holstein-Gottorp in 1682, and Denmark formed an offensive alliance with France and Brandenburg in 1683, taking Schleswig in 1684. After Chancellor Ahlefeldt died in 1686, Kristian V ruled without a chancellor. In 1689 Denmark restored the Duke of Holstein-Gottorp and made a peace treaty with Sweden. Taxes were reformed, adding tax on interest and lowering taxes on farmers. Kristian V was succeeded by his son Frederik IV who had many mistresses. He freed children of serfs on islands born during his reign. The Great Northern War began in 1700, and Denmark made a treaty with Sweden in August. After Sweden’s defeat at Poltava in 1709 Denmark declared war and invaded Scania again. In 1711 a plague spread, and Copenhagen lost one-third of its people. Danes fought the Swedes and allied with England, Prussia, Saxony, and Poland in 1715.
Hannibal Sehested governed Norway for Denmark from 1642, but in 1651 he was prosecuted and gave his property in Norway to King Frederik III. Norwegians fought against Swedes 1658-60. Denmark’s rule over Norway increased, and crown land was sold to rich burghers to pay for the war. Governor Gyldenlöve helped peasants and prepared for war, and in 1676 he led the Norwegian army during the Scanian War. Norwegian laws were codified by 1687 and were based on equality. Criminal laws also were reformed in Iceland. Norway’s trade increased to 568 ships by 1707, but in Iceland inflation of shipping fees rose sharply.
Many Swedes fought for the Protestant cause in the Thirty Years’ War, and the treaty in 1648 recognized Sweden’s control of Pomerania, Bremen, Verden, and Wismar, and Sweden’s position in the Imperial Diet. Queen Kristina put her cousin Karl Gustav in command of the Swedish army and made him her heir. She invited prominent scholars and studied the work of Grotius, Heinsius, Milton, Pascal, Comenius, Descartes, and others. Kristina became a Roman Catholic and abdicated in favor of Karl X Gustav in 1654 and went to Rome. In 1655 the Riksdag gave Karl X the authority to go to war, and Swedish armies invaded Poland-Lithuania, taking Warsaw, Krakow, Lithuania, and Prussia. In 1656 Karl’s army suffered defeats in Poland, and he allied with Brandenburg. Russia declared war on Sweden and invaded Livonia. Karl gave Prussia back to Brandenburg and Poland-Lithuania to György Rákóczi II for an alliance. In 1657 Danes and the Dutch forced Swedes to abandon Danzig (Gdansk). Denmark declared war on Sweden, and Swedes took over provinces in Denmark and Norway. In 1658 Sweden and Russia agreed to a truce, and in 1659 Danes and the Dutch broke the Swedish siege of Copenhagen. The Swedish navy defeated the Danes and Dutch, but Karl X died in February 1660.
Karl XI was only four years old, and his relatives were to be regents; but the Council of nobles and the Riksdag used their power to make peace with Poland-Lithuania, the Habsburg Empire, Brandenburg-Prussia, Denmark-Norway, and Russia. Sweden was neutral during the Second Anglo-Dutch War. Lund University was founded in 1668. Swedish shipping expanded. In 1672 Sweden’s Chancellor de la Gardie made a treaty with France, and Karl XI began to govern with him. Swedes fought Danes in Scania but were defeated by Brandenburgers in 1675. Denmark-Norway regained territory from Swedes; but Karl XI took command and won some battles, and in the 1679 treaty Sweden got much of it back. In 1680 Karl XI married Denmark’s Princess Ulrika Eleonora as the two powers allied. Karl took power from the Council and built up the military. Sweden developed manufacturing and a mercantile policy with protective tariffs and more taxes. Sweden established Lutheran uniformity in 1687 under the King with the Swedish language. In 1693 Karl XI was given absolute power. Crop failures caused malnutrition and disease which killed a third of those in Finland. Large land reductions from nobles helped Karl XI reduce the debt from 44 million daler in 1681 to 11.5 million in 1697, the year he died.
King Karl XII was well educated and began ruling Sweden’s empire at the age of 15. In the Great Northern War that began in 1700 Sweden was allied with the Dutch, Hanover, and Brandenburg against Denmark, Saxony, Lithuania, and Russia, but Sweden made a treaty with Denmark in August. Russia declared war against Sweden and invaded Ingria. Sweden led by Karl XII defeated them at Narva and invaded Saxony in 1701 and Poland in 1702. In 1704 Swedes deposed August II and replaced him with Stanislaw Leszczynski as King of Poland. Sweden and Poland made a treaty in 1705. Karl XII marched his army back to Saxony in 1706 and had 120,000 soldiers by 1707. They invaded Russia in 1708 and found it devastated by Russians. Many Swedes suffered from the cold winter, and their dwindling army was defeated at Poltava in July 1709. Karl XII retreated with a small force to Bessarabia and stayed there for four years as Russians occupied Poland and Sweden’s Baltic provinces. In 1710 the Danes went to war against Sweden. A Swedish army led by Stenbock was eventually defeated in 1713 by Saxons, Danes, and Russians. Karl was captured by Turks and Tatars but made it back to Stralsund in November 1714. Brandenburg and its allies besieged Stralsund in 1715, and Karl XII returned to Sweden in December.
Jan II Kazimierz Waza had been a military officer and a cardinal in Rome, but in 1648 the Polish Sejm (Diet) elected him king to succeed his half-brother Władysław IV Waza, and he married his brother’s French widow in 1649. The Poland-Lithuanian Commonwealth already had 250,000 Jews who spoke Yiddish, and Hetman Khmelnytsky’s pogroms drove many Polish Jews to western Poland. King Jan II led the fight against Cossacks and Tatars and then increased the registered Cossacks to 40,000. Opaliński’s Satires criticized the szlachta (gentry) for exploiting the peasants, and in 1651 the peasants’ revolt in Greater Poland and the Cossack-Tatar rebellion in Ukraine were crushed by the Polish army, reducing registered Cossacks to 20,000 and grain exports from Danzig. In 1652 a Lithuanian deputy first used the liberum (free) veto to block legislation and delay taxes. In 1654 Khmelnytsky’s Cossacks allied with Muscovite Tsar Aleksei to protect Ukraine, but Tatars helped Poland fight them. By 1656 about 100,000 Jews had died or migrated, and Poland’s cities suffered epidemics between 1652 and 1679. In 1655 Sweden’s Karl X invaded Poland which allied with Russians. Swedes took over Warsaw and Krakow. Karl claimed Lithuania and Poland as Jan II fled to Silesia but returned in 1656 and promised to help the serfs. Poles and Lithuanians joined, fought Swedes and Brandenburgers, and made treaties with Russia and the Austrian Empire. In 1657 Transylvanians invaded Poland but were defeated and withdrew. Jan II made peace with Denmark and allied with Brandenburg. Wars in the 1650s devastated crops and reduced the population of Poland-Lithuania by a quarter. In 1658 the Sejm banished Arians. In 1659 Cossacks of Ruthenia united with Poland-Lithuania, and peace with Sweden came in 1660. Russians invaded Ukraine but agreed on a treaty in 1667. Jan Sobieski led the army against the Tatars. Jan II Kazimierz abdicated in 1668 and became an abbot. The szlachta elected Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki king in 1669, but he was weak and died in 1673.
Jan Sobieski led attacks against the Turks and was elected King Jan III in 1674. He continued to fight them but made peace with them in 1677 and with Sweden and Brandenburg. During his reign the veto ended half the Sejm sessions, and it was used more after his death. Sobieski negotiated a treaty with Emperor Leopold and led the Christian allies who defeated the Turks besieging Vienna in 1683. In 1686 his army invaded Moldavia, and he made a treaty with Russia in December that upset Lithuanians. Another invasion of Moldavia failed again in 1691, but they defeated Tatar attacks. King Jan III Sobieski died in 1696.
Saxony’s Elector Friedrich August Wettin won a struggle for power and became King August II of Poland-Lithuania, though he did not know their languages and used French. Persecution increased as he tried to rule Lutherans in Saxony and Catholics in Poland. He aimed to reform Poland-Lithuania and expand trade. In 1699 the Christian coalition made peace with the Turks, but August II allied with Russia’s Tsar Petr against Sweden in the Great Northern War that began in 1700. In 1702 Sweden’s invading army led by Karl XII forced August to retreat to Pomerania as Russian troops attacked Lithuania. In 1703 the Sejm declared war on Sweden, and the next year Poland and Lithuania allied with Russia. Karl XII replaced August II with Stanisław Leszczyński in 1704. August’s forces recaptured Warsaw briefly; but in 1705 he returned to Saxony as Stanisław was crowned in Warsaw allied with Sweden. In 1706 Sweden’s army defeated Saxons and Russians in Poland, and August II renounced the Polish throne; but in October with Russian and Polish allies he defeated the Swedes at Kalisz. Karl XII allied with Cossacks and invaded Russia in 1708, but they were defeated at Poltava in 1709. August and Tsar Petr agreed to a treaty that put August II back on the Polish throne in 1710. Poland-Lithuania was devastated by the war and lost a quarter of their people.
In 1648 efforts to collect the hated salt tax provoked a rebellion in Moscow that burned 20,000 houses and killed 2,000 people. Tsar Aleksei (r. 1645-76) appointed a commission that revised Russia’s law code but tied serfs to private holdings. He expelled foreigners and banned them from trading in Moscow. In two years Cossacks and peasants killed 200,000 Jews. Aleksei made his friend Nikon church Patriarch in 1652, and he imposed puritan laws in Moscow. In 1654 Muscovite jurisdiction was extended to Ukraine. Archpriest Avvakum opposed Nikon who deported him and others to Siberia. Aleksei was away during the Polish war (1654-56) in which 500,000 Ukrainians were killed or captured while Nikon governed; but the Tsar dismissed him in 1658. Muscovy declared war on Sweden in 1656, and Aleksei led the invasion of Livonia but agreed to a truce with Sweden in December 1658. That year the government began arresting fugitive peasants. After a battle in 1659 Ukraine’s autonomy was reduced. In a 1661 treaty Russia gave back territory in Livonia and Ingria to Sweden. By 1663 foreigners were 79% of Russia’s army. Russia minted copper coins that multiplied inflation, and thousands of protestors were executed or mutilated and banished without their property. In 1667 Russia made a treaty with Poland-Lithuania. Nikon’s reforms were accepted, and in the Great Schism the Russians persecuted the Old Believers who were inspired by Avvakum. A new commercial code favored mercantile policies and restricted trade with foreigners. In 1668 Hetman Doroshenko allied with Tatars and Turks in a revolt, and in 1669 Stenka Razin led 2,000 Cossacks raiding. In 1672 Doroshenko and Turks invaded Ukraine and massacred civilians. The rebellion was crushed after about 100,000 people had died. During Aleksei’s reign Russia’s territory increased to more than three million square miles.
Aleksei was succeeded by 14-year-old Fyodor III. Doroshenko’s rebels surrendered in December 1676, and the Turks claimed western Ukraine and besieged the Cossack capital in June 1677; but a Russian army defeated them in August. In 1678 an Ottoman army of 70,000 attacked again; but in 1680 Russians brought an army as large, and the Turks withdrew and accepted a truce in January 1681. Russia had 164,000 men in the armed forces with 22,000 in Moscow. Fyodor III died in 1682, and the Boyar Duma chose 10-year-old Petr over his disabled older brother Ivan, but in the dispute about seventy people were killed. Tsarina Sophia took power as Ivan and Petr sat on a double throne. She and Prince Vasilii Golitsyn governed Russia for the next seven years making reforms. Petr liked practical activities and playing with soldiers. In 1684 Russia joined the Holy League against the Ottoman Empire and made a treaty with Poland-Lithuania in 1686. In 1687 and 1689 Golitsyn led failed expeditions against Tatars, and he persecuted Old Believers. In September 1689 Petr took over the government, as Sofia entered a convent, and Vasilii Golitsyn was banished.
Young Tsar Petr was at first influenced by his mother Natalia and her brother Lev Naryshkin, and Patriarch Ioakim persuaded him to expel the Jesuits from Russia. He conducted military exercises, sailed, and spent time with his German mistress. He visited Archangel twice during the summer. In 1695 he led a Russian army on a disastrous expedition to the Sea of Azov while a larger army attacked Turkish forts on the Dnieper River. Petr then ordered the building of a navy. His brother Ivan died, and but Petr had a son Aleksei. In 1696 ships helped his army capture Azov. In 1697 Petr asked for a divorce and traveled with 270 people to Riga and Königsberg; he built ships in Amsterdam and learned many things. In 1698 he visited William III in London and bought new flintlock muskets with bayonets. He talked with William Penn and approved importation of tobacco. He studied the mint and moved through Germany to Prague and Vienna where he conversed with Emperor Leopold. Informed that Streltsy musketeers were rebelling, Petr met with Poland’s King August II in Galicia and returned to Moscow in August after recruiting 750 foreigners. He shaved beards off boyars and ordered men to shave or pay a tax. He had the military investigated, a thousand rebels executed, and disbanded the Streltsy regiments. He confined Sofia and his wife in a convent. In 1699 Petr reformed the government and allied with Poland’s August II and Denmark. He sent his fleet to Azov, and Russia adopted the Julian calendar in 1700. All Russians with property were to dress like Europeans.
Russia made peace with the Ottoman Empire in July 1700. Swedes invaded Estonia and defeated the Russians at Narva in November. In 1701 Petr had church bells melted to make cannons. He started the School of Mathematical and Naval Sciences and an artillery school. In 1702 he led an army that captured Nöteborg. Russia got a newspaper in 1703. Petr began building a port city by the Neva River (St. Petersburg), and about 30,000 workers and Swedish prisoners died of diseases. Russians occupied Ingria, and in 1704 they regained Dorpat and Narva; but Swedes defeated them at Gemauerthof in 1705. Four regiments suppressed a revolt in Astrakhan, and Petr decreed greater recruitment for the army. Defeated by Swedes at Fraustadt in February 1706, the Russian army retreated to Kiev; but Saxons and Poles helped Russians beat the Swedes at Kalisz in October. Russia was turning out 30,000 flintlocks a year. A Cossack rebellion was defeated in 1708. Petr had Russia organized with governors into the nine provinces of Moscow, Ingria, Archangel, Smolensk, Kazan, Kiev, Voronezh, Azov, and Siberia. Sweden’s Karl XII moved his army east, but Russians burned the land to deny them food. In 1709 Petr’s army quelled rebelling Zaporozhian Cossacks. In June the Russian army decisively defeated the Swedes at Poltava. In 1710 they invaded Poland to help August II regain his throne, and they took over Swedish provinces in the Baltic region. In 1711 Petr’s niece Anna became Duchess of Courland. He created a Senate to help him govern and appointed nine senators. Governors needed Senate approval to impose taxes. Petr led the campaign against the Turks and made a treaty with the Prince of Moldavia. In another treaty he gave Azov back to the Ottoman Empire. Prince Aleksei married a princess in Saxony, and Petr formally married his mistress Ekaterina in 1712. He founded hospitals that accepted children of unwed mothers. He reclaimed Azov and required Muslim nobles to convert to Christianity. In 1713 Russians invaded Finland, and they drove out the Swedes in 1714. Petr had corrupt officials investigated and punished.
The English Civil War between the Parliamentarians and the royalists ended with the execution of King Charles I and abolishing the House of Lords in early 1649. The Parliament gave power to the successful general Oliver Cromwell, and his armies suppressed the royalist uprisings in Ireland and Scotland. The English took most of the land away from the Catholics in Ireland and governed Scotland. The Puritans wanted religious freedom for dissenters, but Catholics and the Anglican Church were oppressed. John Milton, who had championed free expression, supervised the censorship the Puritans imposed. Those who took power were not ready for radical ways of the Levellers and persecuted them. Commercial conflict led to a naval war between the English and Dutch for ocean trade in the north, and England managed to make treaties with Portugal, Sweden, and Denmark. After the death of Cromwell in 1658 the royalists and the army allied and brought about the restoration by inviting Charles II to take the throne in 1660. Thomas Hobbes and his Leviathan reflected the violent times of the 17th century with his philosophy emphasizing fear and the need for security along with a materialistic view of life. However, James Harrington’s Commonwealth of Oceana favored republican government so that there could be more political and economic equality for the benefit of all. He opposed wars and encouraged education.
When King Charles II was restored in 1660 by the army, he revived royalists and Anglicans; but he had learned from his father’s mistakes, pardoned most of his enemies, and respected the Parliament. The Royal Society promoted science to improve medical care and develop technology, though burning coal would cause many lung diseases in London. Charles promised religious tolerance, but the re-establishment of the Church of England led to the persecution of Quakers and other dissenters. The English and the Dutch fought two more costly wars over maritime control of trade. After a terrible plague and fire London learned how to build with bricks and stone and keep the streets cleaner. Charles II had no children by his queen, and his brother James became a Catholic. Only 1% of Protestant England were Catholics, and many feared the growing power of Catholic France. The Court party became the conservative Tories, and the Country party the liberal Whigs. Under Charles II the English continued to rule Ireland and Scotland.
John Milton elaborated on the mythical story of Adam and Eve in his Paradise Lost and portrayed Satan’s temptations of Jesus in Paradise Regained. These legendary stories encouraged fundamental interpretations of scripture but also contained spiritual lessons. John Bunyan was imprisoned for preaching as a Baptist and wrote the allegorical Pilgrim’s Progress that is filled with the moral lessons of Christian ethics. He also showed the negative side when vice dominates in his novel Mr. Badman. Vegetarians such as Thomas Tryon taught its health benefits. Isaac Newton explained the laws of gravity and motion and applied his magnificent physical discoveries to spiritual principles such as the golden rule.
James II (r. 1685-88) failed to increase the power of Catholics because the English Protestants could turn to his daughter Mary and her husband Willem of Orange who was given support when his Dutch army invaded. The Parliament accepted them as sovereigns and asserted their rights and toleration. However, they suppressed the Catholics in Ireland while fighting against the French with the Dutch in Flanders. To finance these wars the Bank of England was founded to borrow money. The Nine Years War against France cost England £40,000,000 and countless lives. Queen Anne got involved in another war against France from 1702 to 1713 as the elected Parliament gained more power. England united with Scotland, and Britain’s debt increased to £36,200,000. The Stuart dynasty and royal veto of the Parliament ended with the death of Anne in 1714.
George Fox and his Friends (Quakers) developed a spiritual religion based on each individual seeking the Light of God within and a peaceful way of living without violence. They were often imprisoned for their unusual beliefs, but William Penn worked for tolerance and managed to found the commonwealth of Pennsylvania so that Quakers could live in peace. Penn devised a peace plan for Europe to use justice by a European Parliament and friendship to prevent wars, and the Quakers lived honestly seeking inner guidance.
John Locke wrote empirical philosophy, encouraged democratic government using reason and laws for equal justice, and promoted tolerance and education. George Berkeley expressed a spiritual philosophy based on the Spirit of God as the ultimate reality, and he recommended not resisting evil with evil but acting by conscience without using violence.
The Puritans had the theaters closed in 1642, and only private performances were allowed until the restoration in 1660, though a few plays reflected the turbulent times. Allowing women to play the female roles in plays liberated many women, though some feared this led to the immoral comedies of the restoration era. John Dryden made heroic dramas popular to show how reason can overcome passion, and his plays and Otway’s tragedies described other nations. Comedies by Dryden, Wycherley, Etherege, Shadwell, Congreve, Cibber, and Farquhar made people laugh and get a perspective on the follies of romantic love. Aphra Behn proved that a woman could write great plays and novellas as her story of the slave Oroonoko showed. Nathaniel Lee and Addison brought history to life in dramas, and John Banks and Nicholas Rowe portrayed influential women. Gradually libertine comedies gave way to sentimental comedies with bourgeois values.
Discontent over taxes in France led to a civil war led by aristocrats against the regency of Queen Anne and her prime minister Cardinal Mazarin which lasted five years and took a million lives. Young Louis XIV learned from this, and in 1661 he took control himself and neutralized the aristocrats at his court. He arrested the corrupt Fouquet and worked for justice. Colbert helped by founding academies to develop arts and sciences, and France became the greatest power in Europe. Unfortunately Louis XIV’s ambition wanted to extend his territory, and he fomented a series of wars against other nations that hurt the economy and took lives from France and others. Louis also persecuted minorities and expelled large numbers of Protestants, weakening his army and the nation. Yet Louis XIV learned the most important lesson when he left behind the advice for his great grandson and successor Louis XV to avoid making war. The Abbé de Saint-Pierre proposed a fairly practical peace plan for Europe, but it was generally ignored.
Though Jansenists were persecuted, Pascal left behind his inventions and heartfelt wisdom and experience with God. Spiritual endeavor also characterized Madame Guyon’s praying and Fénelon’s efforts to educate and reform French society that was corrupted by power and luxury. Bayle was tolerant and skeptical but also sought justice. Malebranche too found value in meditating on God. La Rochefoucauld was a cynical aristocrat who exposed the prevalence of self-love while advising self-criticism. Critics compared the ancient classics to modern writing and found literature great in both, but Fontenelle showed how science was progressing. La Fontaine delighted children and adults by collecting diverse fables that entertain and contain wise lessons. La Bruyère began with the ancient characters but also revealed contemporary persons with wit and wisdom.
Molière’s popular comedies not only entertained but exposed the moral faults of France’s social classes, particularly the aristocrats and the growing middle class. The absurdity of parents trying to tell their children who to marry was exposed. Religious hypocrisy was shown to be the opposite of what it professes, and a social critic discovers that blunt honesty makes him incapable of getting along with people. As men get older they become more concerned with money and doctors. Racine’s tragedies brought realism to the French theatre and women as leading characters in dramas to show how uncontrolled passions and vices can be deadly.
Spain suffered from epidemics and wars with France, and its decline continued during the reign of disabled Carlos II (1665-1700). The Inquisition persecuted dissent, and few people were being educated. Coins were debased as the government’s debt increased. Almost all of Spain was owned by the King, the Church, and the nobles, and most trade was controlled by foreigners. Louis XIV sent his grandson Philippe of Anjou to become Felipe V, and France and Spain fought the War of the Spanish Succession against England, the Dutch, the Austrian Empire, and Portugal, establishing the Bourbon dynasty in a unified Spain. Portugal battled the Dutch and English and finally won its independence from Spain in 1668. The Portuguese joined the Allies against Spain and France in the War of the Spanish Succession. The empires of Spain and Portugal declined in this era. Venice fought the Turks over Candia for twenty years but stayed out of wars against France. Some popes financed lavish building in Rome while others gave alms to the poor. Innocent XI promoted the Christian alliance against the Ottoman Empire. Nepotism flourished until Innocent XII prohibited enriching their relatives in 1692. Austrian imperial forces devastated the Papal States in 1706 and gained Parma and Piacenza in the Utrecht treaty. Sicily and Naples suffered under Spanish imperialism.
The Austrian Empire was mostly Catholic and took over Protestant churches and banished preachers. Emperor Leopold battled for control over Hungary and Transylvania, and his empire fought with allies in three major wars against Louis XIV’s France. Other Christian nations helped Austria defeat the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683, and they drove the Ottomans out of Hungary by 1687 and made peace with the Turks in 1699. The Habsburgs failed to take control of Spain again but managed to replace Spanish imperialism in Italy. The great Comenius applied wisdom and love to education so that humans could learn justice and peace and be more like God.
Germans recovered from the Thirty Years’ War, but Brandenburg and other German states participated in more wars and increased their military forces. Yet they were able to join with allies and stop the aggression of France’s Louis XIV in those wars. Pufendorf helped develop international law, and Christian Thomasius taught in German and helped to stop persecution for witchcraft. Leibniz promoted science and developed logic. His moral philosophy explained the relations of humans to God and the freedom that chooses between good and evil. Grimmelshausen’s novel Simplicissimus portrayed the chaos of society during war in an entertaining work. The Swiss Confederation worked on resolving conflicts between the Catholic and Protestant cantons and continued to be a neutral nation while offering mercenaries during wars.
The Dutch finally made peace with Spain in 1648, but the French fought the Spaniards in the Southern Netherlands until 1659. Dutch trade expanded greatly during this era, and they came into conflict with England in three short wars in the 1650s, 1660s, and 1670s. Johan de Witt became a republican leader as Grand Pensionary of Holland. The reasoning philosophy of Descartes became influential but irritated theologians. Prince Willem III of Orange became the military leader in 1672, and that year during a difficult war against several allies Johan de Witt was murdered. Willem was made Stadtholder with monarchical power. He married an English princess and in 1688 was welcomed by English Protestants who wanted to remove Catholic James II. As William III he ruled Britain until his death in 1702 while his surrogates governed the United Provinces in the Netherlands. Dutch prosperity and progress continued and survived as their allies helped them defeat the invading French in the war for the Bourbon King of Spain.
Baruch Spinoza was a Sephardic Jew born in Amsterdam but was expelled by the Jewish community. He rejected wealth, honor, and sensual pleasure to seek God and write on ethics, religion, and politics. He emphasized loving God and seeking the good with reason and intuition to experience joy and remove sorrow. He explained how to govern emotions with love. He valued religious freedom, equal justice, and democracy but criticized how religion was practiced in his time.
Denmark followed the pattern of France by shifting to more absolute rule about 1660, and this affected their rule over Norway and Iceland. Denmark-Norway came into conflict with Sweden in devastating wars. Mercantilism increased commerce while peasants suffered high taxes. Law codes were completed in Denmark and Norway.
Sweden had gained territory during the Thirty Years’ War. Queen Kristina had intellectual interests and abdicated to Karl X who went to war against Poland-Lithuania and Prussia. After Russians invaded Livonia, Karl X sought alliances and fought against Denmark and Norway. Thus his short reign was devoted to these destructive wars. In 1660 the Council of nobles made peace with their former enemies, and they kept Sweden out of the Anglo-Dutch War, allowing prosperity. After Karl XI began to govern in 1672, war broke out against Denmark-Norway. Sweden’s mercantile policy with tariffs and taxes reduced the national debt; but the Lutheran religion and Swedish language were imposed on the Swedish empire as Karl’s power increased. In 1700 Karl XII led Sweden against Denmark, Saxony, Lithuania, and Russia in the Great Northern War that would last 21 years.
Jan II Kazimierz was a general and a cardinal before he ruled the Catholic Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1648-68. In the 1650s wars between Poles and Cossacks and Tatars and then against Swedes and Brandenburgers increased suffering, especially for peasants and Jews. Then Russians invaded Ukraine. Jan Sobieski became King Jan III in 1674 and made peace with Sweden and Brandenburg. He helped defend Vienna and defeat the Turks. Saxony’s August II ruled Poland-Lithuania using French and with Russia’s Tsar Petr stumbled into another devastating war against Sweden.
Tsar Aleksei faced a rebellion in Moscow over the salt tax, led the Russian army in the Polish war that killed or captured a half-million Ukrainians, and his invasion of Livonia led to war against Sweden. His choice of Patriarch Nikon caused religious conflicts. Foreigners were excluded from trade but became most of the Russian army. Copper coins caused immense inflation, and protestors were treated brutally. Rebellion in Ukraine resulted in about 100,000 lives lost. Young Fyodor III also had problems in Ukraine, but a large Russian army discouraged Ottoman advances. After his early death Tsarina Sofia governed, but Prince Vasilii Golitsyn led two disastrous military adventures against Tatars. Tsar Petr took control when he was 17 and studied how to improve the military. He visited European cities and learned about shipbuilding and many other things and purchased flintlocks. He punished rebellion severely, made peace with the Turks, and fought against the aggressive Swedish empire. He had the port city of St. Petersburg built and organized Russia into nine provinces with governors. Russians burned their own land to defeat the invading Swedes. Petr created a Senate but appointed the senators. The Russian Empire expanded, and they took Finland from the Swedes.
This era of Louis XIV suffered much from wars as well as famines and plagues, but the many peace treaties including with the Ottoman Empire showed that perhaps they were beginning to learn how to end and prevent catastrophic wars. Progress was made in philosophy especially by Comenius, Spinoza, Locke, Leibniz, and Berkeley. The field of science was opening up, and scientific societies in several nations were exploring how to share their knowledge to improve their lives. Especially significant was the work in chemistry by Boyle, in microbiology by Leeuwenhoek, and in physics by Newton. He and a few others were even experimenting with vegetarianism. In the theater women were included, and the comedies of Molière excelled. In England the comedies were often frank about sexual relations, but a trend toward sentimental morality began. Although the Great Northern War would continue, many nations had found some peace by 1715.