A monarchy can be defined as a structure of government in which one personality possesses inherited right to govern as leader of state in the course of his lifetime. This term also refers to the state governed this way. The power of such a government varies from very strong one to the one that is very restricted. The one that has limited power is exemplified in today’s constitutional monarchies. Monarchs comprise rulers such as emperors, empresses, kings and queens.
All through history, several monarchs have had strong power, at times basing on their reputed divinity. For instance, in ancient Egypt, the pharaoh was sacred, just like it was the case with particular Oriental leaders. The system of government in which we had monarchs had reached Europe by the middle Ages. This was because people needed rulers who were strong enough to stand and authorize armed forces to protect their respective countries.
The monarchs in Europe were dynastic in which the throne was inherited by the eldest son and if not, by the nearest son in the case where the eldest child was not a son. Many of these leaders obtained territorial armies and armaments from the feudal lords and therefore were reliant on the loyalty of the nobleness to maintain their power.
The contractual structure of political and military associations that were amongst members of the nobility in the western part of Europe in the High Middle Ages, otherwise referred to as Feudalism, later declined and this brought about centralization of power within the monarchs. Initially, these leaders got support from the increasing middle class, also known as the bourgeoisie, who in turn derived much advantage from the strong governments that ensured that order prevailed and gave a stable environment that favored trade.
The increase in absolute monarchies, monarchies with too much power, can be traced back in 1600s and 1700s, the time at which there was increase in power in the central government by the Western and Eastern Europe monarchs. By increasing power, these rulers protected their position as highest leaders and owners of all power. They ensured this by surrounding themselves with loyal supporters and advisors who were tough advocates of royal dictatorship. The reply to those who tried to protest against the behavior and misuse of power by the rulers from them was that they had been given the divine right of kings.
In many countries, a strong monarch seemed to be the only feasible answer to dealing with the troubles that faced the country. For instance, taking the case of France, there was a point in time when the country had been set in chaos. This was brought about by religious wars, people in the country did not observe the law and thus had no order, the feudal nobility had grabbed control and the funds of the central government were in turmoil. At this point, the dignity of the country had gone too low and when King Henry came in to power, his determination was to reverse this negative trend. He ensured that the authority of the central government is brought back. He went further and cut down the nobility’s power, came up with a detailed plan to bring about the economic reforms and handled the religious chaos that had been splitting the country. The king’s aim was to make France strong and then propel it to a higher level as a supreme power in the continent but he was later assassinated.
The Norman Kingship
The Normans came to power in England after the most well-known battle in the English record. This battle occurred in the year 1066. It was called the Battle of Hastings. Under the Norman Kingship, we had four kings and these kings brought in the country great changes and big development, each in his time. These developments included the publishing a documentation of English Land-holding, establishing the ex-chequer and making a start on the Tower of London. The reforms were made in the religious matters by establishing a movement called Gregorian reform which gained speed and enforced concessions as the government’s machinery developed to hold up the kingdom even as Henry was in war overseas. In the meantime, the social ground changed greatly while the Norman aristocracy became famous. Majority of the nobles worked so hard to achieve their interests in England and Normandy since split rule would turn in to a risk of conflict. This turned out to be the case at the time of the death of William, the conqueror.
After William I died, the eldest son called Robert took over Normandy and the next son, William II took over England as King. Henry who was the youngest later became King after William II dying. Henry later took and put his elder brother in jail following constant troubled divide.
The issue of succession went on becoming a disturbing question over the remaining period. When Henry’s son died he chose his successor to be Matilda, the daughter was refused the throne by her cousin, Stephen. From there came a civil war which resulted in Matilda’s husband, Geoffrey Plantagenet, taking over Normandy. As a result, there was once again a separation between England and the duchy. Later a consensus was reached and Matilda’s son and Geoffrey would take over England while Stephen would come into the baronial lands of his.
The Norman Kingship Policies
The Normans were ruling England in a manner to control the local inhabitants and to use their ideas to benefit themselves without adopting their language and traditions. William was very eager to achieve right of entry to the power and the wealth linked with English kingship. He encountered rebellious forces from members of higher levels of Anglo-Germanic society who protested against his denying them the office. A war resulted from this and William as a way to survive gave rewards to his supporters in form of land and oversaw an enormous militarization of the people. Within no time, the original aristocracy was totally substituted by Normans and these were loyal to William. For instance, two thirds of England was ruled by the people who had been born and brought up in England till the year 1069 but by the year 1086 just two English people owned baronial-estates and only eight percent of the land was in ownership of English people.
Following this, King William set aside huge parcels of land for himself which was one fifth of the total arable land. The remaining land was distributed to those who were loyal to him. The king gave earldoms as appreciation for service, with privileges to hire and to armed forces job. These gifts were given in return for vassal responsibilities, involving devotion and armed forces service. Militarizing the estates resulted in to building of the castles, most of them with mottes. Even though this cycle of enfeoffments is time and again viewed as having brought about Norman feudalism in the country, it is quite argued that this was a fresh type of feudalism which was different from Anglo-Germanic together with Norman social dealings in concepts and organization. The empire was demarcated into grand fiefs and the barons were the king’s vassals. The king was the final end of the series of feudal associations of respect and fealty.
However, not even one of these social dealings did stand for breaking from the earlier period. Kingship was a tradition that predated the invasion. The consequence of the take-over was to greatly make stronger the roles played by kingship and lordship. The deliberation of power and ownership of land in the hands of small upper classes, strongly depended on royal good turn, established the English class organization which went on molding the British history up to the time the Industrial Revolution brought some adjustments in the structure of the British class.
Further more, the King went ahead and sought after legality by way of reference to the church. The indigenous saints were done away with in the church. Social differences came to a rise but the English church remained a nationwide church with the king as its boss with the ability to face clash with Roman authorities once needed. However, the invasion facilitated the spread of fresh religious thoughts but the impact of these thoughts was belated by the very reality of the tough Norman kingship.
King William I also established administrative and legal structures to control the nation. One of the end products of making the kingship strong and implementing of Norman feudal associations was that the society militarization was really condensed. The military service duties were gradually more changed in to revenues that were used to employ qualified armed forces as opposed to hiring ill-prepared farmers. Also there was an increase in people solving disputes in courts and not resorting to military force.
As another way of strengthening the kingship, there was an adoption of French customs for English conditions setting up a body of law. The common law was based on the King’s court. When King Henry was in power, he ensured that the king’s courts oversaw local courts and it was the one charged with the duty of enforcing justice. He revitalized the local courts and made broader his own capacity.
The Normans set up more well-organized government, usually by bringing in English solutions with minimal progress on the preceding trend. Henry I came up with a resolution that justiciars inspect the financial records of financial agents in their ex-chequer courts. As a result, relatively precise records were prepared and reserved at an increasing rate.
Throughout the Norman and Angevin times, there was an increase in the royal power. The efforts of making the kingship strong, still being the privileges of the nobility, resulted in to the continuing disputes involving the king and the barons and this resulted in to the British constitution.
To conclude, the Normans developed the feudal relations at hand to work in their favor and did not so much establish new ones. They utilized the available English systems resourcefully to build up power for themselves. By spreading administrative and lawful resolutions of harms, they made formal social clash. They ensured English people did not have the armed forces by making official the relations between the king and the barons at the same time claiming to require less armed forces service obligations and more funds to pay qualified military. As a result, kinship and lordship kept on getting stronger while the common people’s rights kept on being abused.
The result of struggling for power between king and barons would mold the political record for Britain in several years to come and influence the British constitution. King and the lords had a symbiotic relationship, benefiting from each other. On the other side, the common people who initially did not care about them or how they related were to be gradually more fixed in to relations that fade away their privileges over the territory they labored.
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