England Government: 1500-1789

England had the best type of government during the age of absolutism (1500-1789) in Europe.

England was a constitutional monarch which meant that the power of the monarch (the king or queen)
was limited by the laws made by the parliament.
England’s government was different from that of most other countries in that most of Europe
during that time was ruled by absolute rulers, but England was ruled by a monarchy and the
The relationship between the kings and the parliament sometimes were good and sometimes
they were bad. For example, the relationship between Charles I and the parliament was really bad.

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The parliament forced Chares I to sign the Petition of Rights (signed in 1628, it prohibited the
king from raising taxes without the consent of the parliament) because of Charles’ behavior of
trying to run the country as an absolute monarch by raising taxes and imprisoning people without
a trial, but after signing the petition Charles ignored it. Later on Charles brought in troops
to try to arrest certain members of parliament but was unsuccessful, and very soon a civil war
broke out (1642-1649) between those who supported the king (Cavaliers) and those who supported
the parliament (Roundheads). But the king lost the war and was tried and executed by the

The relationship of Henry VIII and the parliament was really good. Most of the time Henry
consulted the parliament. When he needed Parliament to approve the Act of Supremacy which would
justify his actions with the Catholic Church. When he needed money to help him fight overseas
wars he went to the parliament for help. He also went to parliament when he wanted to raise taxes
and parliament usually always voted in favor of Henry VIII. This relationship with the parliament
made him popular with the people and well liked by the people and the parliament as well.
During this time parliament insured that it’s own power by reducing the power of the
monarch. One way was by forcing Charles to sign the Petition of Rights, which was supposed to
give right to the parliament and the people and limit the power of the monarch. Parliament also
had a civil war with the monarch and won which insured that there would be no absolute monarchy
and that got rid of monarchy for 7 years in England. The parliament forced William and Mary to
sign the Bill of Rights (signed in 1689) which made sure that the monarch summoned the parliament
regularly, stopped any Catholics from being on the throne, and may other things.


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