Western European Absolutism: The Unexpected Twist

Western European Absolutism: The Unexpected Twist

A twisted combition of politics and divine power.
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As European countries slowly moved out of the age of the Renaissance and the Reformation, deeper internal reforms were taking place behind closed doors, only to emerge prominently in France and England in the age of absolutism in Western Europe. From the development of absolutist ideas of Louis XIV of France, this type of development differed greatly from that of Eastern Europe and these societies were more complex and governed with a strong economy.

Unlike that of the English, French absolutism was compounded by effects of the French Wars of Religion in which Henry IV brought about the use of politique and the issue of the Edict of Nantes in 1598 that provided religious tolerance to the rising protestant unity of the Huguenots. The establishment of the Bourbon Dynasty rid the Valois family, strengthening the French monarchy and moving toward more secular views.


Henry IV

After ending the French Wars of Religion, Henry IV greatly enacted religious tolerance across the land, bringing temporary peace between the Catholics and Protestant worshippers. Meanwhile, he also established a new nobility called "nobility of the robe," who purchased titles from the monarch in order to gain high ranking titles and remain loyal to the king. This purchasing granted a new source of revenue for the French monarchy, capable of paying off royal debt caused by the wars and create a stronger military. The Duke of Sully, the finance minister, also advocated mercantilism, the increased role of a state in its economy in order to achieve desirable trade. This granted the monarch the power to place monopolies on spices such as sugar and salt, giving more power and control over prices.

Cardinal Richelieu

Like Henry IV, Richelieu too was a politique who placed the interest of the state before all others. By creating the Intendant system which replaced local officials with civil servants, Richelieu was able to ensure the loyalty to the monarchy by the civilians. This also lowered the power of the nobility as Intendants were mainly composed of middle-class citizens, creating a more direct link between the monarch and the people. Thus, the government became more efficiently controlled. He increased taxation to fund a stronger military; however, under the Peace of Alais, he revoked Huguenot lands and armies as the Cardinal tried to reinstitute Catholicism in France. Cardinal Richelieu's work became the basis for absolutism in France.

Louis XIV, "Sun King"

Finally, the quintessential absolute ruler in European history, Louis XIV of France sanctioned the official idea of absolute rule in Western Europe. He personified the idea of a sovereign state, leading to the rise of nationalistic ideals; however, claiming the divine right of kings, Louis XIV's famous saying goes, "I am the state." He believed that he was appointed by God to the throne; thus, anyone who objects him would ultimately be rejecting the word of God, granting him the longest reign of European history — 72 years.

Why was he so successful?

Firstly, as a child, Cardinal Mazarin had taken over his spot as Louis XIV had inherited the throne as a toddler. During that time, because of religious intolerance and noble disputes caused by Richelieu, the nobles revolted against Mazarin in the Fronde. Faced with humiliation, Louis XIV vowed to never let this happen again.

A governmental organization was key. Louis recruited chief ministers from the middle class to keep societal order to keep aristocrats from rising from power and continued the Intendant system to keep the nobility in check. Parlements were fearful of Louis XIV as they had already failed during the Fronde; therefore, the French monarch had little opposition. The Estates General was never called into session. He also took control over the peasantry and instituted corvée, a forced labor required of peasants to work on public projects.

To enforce unity among the French, he created a system of one king, one law, one religion. He created a unified law throughout France, uniting the two halves together. Additionally, he also revoked the Edict of Nantes with the Edict of Fountainbleu claiming that the Protestants were the main cause of chaos; therefore, it must be eliminated. Over 200,000 Calvinists fled France, leading to a downfall of its economy.

Versailles Palace

This was Louis XIV's greatest achievement. A palace created of Baroque architecture and a royal court of over 600 people cost 60 percent of the entire French revenue. Using grandeur and gold, he proclaimed himself as the one king and elevated his status. This was a symbol of his wealth and power, attracting more people into his realm and his reign. Here, he gained absolute power over the nobility as they all had to live in the palace as Louis could keep an eye on what the nobles were doing. Here was the epitome of an effective absolute rule.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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4 reasons how Drake's New Album May Help Us Fight Mental Illness

Increasing Evidence Points to Music as a Potential Solution to the Mental Health Problem.

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Okay, You caught me!

I am NOT just talking about everybody's favorite actor-turned-rapper— or second, if you've seen Childish Gambino's "This is America" music video. Unfortunately, current research hasn't explored specific genres and artists. However, studies HAVE provided significant evidence in possibilities for music to treat mental health disorders. Now, before you say something that your parents would not be proud of, ask yourself if you can really blame me for wanting to get your attention. This is an urgent matter concerning each one of us. If we all face the truth, we could very well reach one step closer to solving one of society's biggest problems: Mental Health.

The Problem:

As our nation continues to bleed from tragedies like the horrific shooting that shattered the lives of 70 families whose loved ones just wanted to watch the "Dark Knight Rises" during its first hours of release, as well as the traumatic loss of seventeen misfortunate innocents to the complications of mental health disorders in the dear city of Parkland— a city mere hours from our very own community— it's impossible to deny the existence of mental illness. As many of us can already vouch, mental illness is much more common than what most would think: over 19 million adults in America suffer from a mental health disorder. Picture that: a population slightly less than that of Florida is plagued by hopelessness, isolation, and utter despair.

Disease in the form of depression holds millions of people prisoner, as anxieties instill crippling desperation and too many struggles with finding peace. This can be you. It could be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle, your friend, your roommate, your fraternity brother, your sorority sister, your lab partner, or just your classmate that sits in the corner of the lecture hall with a head buried into a notebook that camouflages all emotion.

I hope we— the UCF community— understand the gravity of the problem, but it's clear that some still see mental illness as a disease that affects only a handful of "misfits" who "terrorize" our streets, while the numbers reveal more to the issue. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a mental health disorder. The problem is so serious that suicide has risen to become the second-leading cause of death among 20 to 24-year-olds. While many continue to ask for more antidepressants and even the occasional "proper spanking," recent studies indicate increases in occurrence, such as one in depression from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015. So, clearly, none of that is working.

The Evidence:

If we really want to create a world where our children are free from the chains of mental illness, we need to think outside the box. Doctors and scientists won't really talk about this since it's still a growing field of research, but music has strong potential. We don't have any options at the moment, which means we need to change our mindset about music and to continue to explore its medicinal benefits. If you're still skeptical because of the title, then please consider these 4 pieces of solid evidence backed by scientific research:

1. Music has been proven to improve disorders like Parkinson's Disease.

Researchers sponsored by the National Institute of Health— the country's largest research agency— saw an improvement in the daily function of patients with Parkinson's Disease. This makes patients shake uncontrollably, which often prevents them from complete functionality. The disease is caused by a shortage of dopamine— a chemical your neurons, or brain cells, release; since music treats this shortage, there's an obvious ability to increase dopamine levels. As numerous studies connect dopamine shortages to mental illnesses like depression, addiction, and ADHD, someone could possibly use music's proven ability to increase dopamine levels to treat said problems.

2. Listening to the music has the potential to activate your brain's "reward center."

In 2013, Valorie Salimpoor and fellow researchers conducted a study that connected subjects' pleasure towards music to a specific part of the brain. This key structure, the nucleus accumbens, is the body's "reward center," which means all of you have experienced its magical powers. In fact, any time the brain detects a rewarding sensation— drinking ice-cold water after a five-mile run in sunny, humid Florida, eating that Taco Bell chalupa after a long happy hour at Knight's Library, and even consuming recreational drugs— this structure releases more of that fantastic dopamine. So, with further research into specifics, doctors may soon be prescribing your daily dose of tunes for your own health.

3. Listening to Music may be more effective than prescription anti-anxiety medication.

In 2013, Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel J. Levitin— two accomplished doctors in psychology— reviewed a study wherein patients waiting to undergo surgery were given either anti-anxiety medications or music to listen to. The study took into account cortisol levels, which are used daily by healthcare professionals to gauge patient levels. This "stress hormone" was actually found to be lower in patients who listened to classical music rather those who took the recommended dose of prescription drugs. Sit there and think about that for a second: these patients actually felt more relaxed with something as simple as MUSIC than with chemicals that are made specifically to force patients into relaxation before surgery. Why pop a Xanax when you can just listen to Beethoven?

4. Music may release the chemicals that help you naturally relax and feel love.

Further studies continue to justify music's place in the medical world as results demonstrate increases in substances such as prolactin— a hormone that produces a relaxing sensation— as well as oxytocin— the substance that promotes warmth and happiness during a hug between mother and child. So this study basically showed us that music has the potential to actually make you feel the way you did when Mom or Dad would embrace you with the warmest hug you've ever felt.

The Future:

The evidence I present you with today is ultimately just a collection of individual situations where specific people found specific results. There are a lot of variables when it comes to any research study; therefore, data is never truly certain. We should take these findings as strong suggestions to a possible solution, but we must remember the possibility of failure in our search.

The neurochemistry behind the music and its medicinal properties is just beginning to unfold before the scientific community. In fact, extremely qualified scientists from the National Institute of Health— the organization that basically runs any important medical study in the United States— continue to remind us of the subject's youth with the constant use of "potential" behind any and all of their findings. Therefore, it's our responsibility as a community to look into this— not just that of the scientists at the National Institute of Health.

We're all surrounded by music. It's at the bars. It's in our ears during all-night sessions at the UCF library. It's keeping us awake through East Colonial traffic at 7:00 AM while hordes of students focus on their cell phone screens instead of the paved roads ahead. It's in the shoes we wear, the actions we take, and the words we say. IF YOU'RE READING THIS: it's accessible to you. So, don't be shy, and try to play with your Spotify account, or even just on YouTube, and gauge the power of music. As more and more of us see the light, we can promote the movement and carry on as more research comes out to support us.

Drop the bars, drop those addictive pills that destroy your body slowly, and pick up your headphones and press PLAY.

Just relax, close your eyes, smile, and live.

Cover Image Credit:

@champagnepapi

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6 Lessons Learned High school Gave Me

As graduation season comes to a close, it is time to reflect on the wonderful lessons I learned from High School

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On June 1st, 2018 I graduated high school. That long, seemingly never-ending chapter of my life has finally come to a close, and I think it is important as I move on to college in the fall to reflect on the important lessons that I learned in high school. Whether or not the lesson was taught in a classroom or otherwise, I walk away from high School having learned these valuable lessons that have fundamentally changed who I am and the way I view things.

Okay, So there weren't actually many academic lessons that I learned that I deemed important enough to put here, except that area is the derivative of volume because I think that's really cool. Through trial and error, through brutal life lessons, through countless hours spent doing tedious homework, these are what I walk away with, and I truly think that these lessons will make me a better person in the future, and I hope that this article helps you become the person you want to be in the future.

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upload.wikimedia.org

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