Absolute Monarchy, 1660-1814

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Abstract

Absolute rule was introduced in Denmark in 1660, giving the king total power. Whereas monarchs were previously elected by the nobility in the council of the realm (rigsråd) and required to sign coronation charters, the throne now became hereditary. Absolute rule was consolidated throughout the period, creating a centralised state, which reduced the power of manorial lords towards the end of the period. From the middle of the eighteenth century, ‘enlightened absolutism’ became the dominant political ideology for the monarchy. Inspired by the Enlightenment, the government introduced a number of ground-breaking reforms that modernised rural society and significantly improved poor relief, education and health. Economically, the country was on the brink of collapse in both 1660 and 1814, but in many of the intervening years it enjoyed periods of growth and boom times. In 1814, Denmark suffered a defeat in the Napoleonic Wars and was forced to cede Norway to Sweden. Absolute rule survived until 1848/1849, but with the loss of Norway in 1814 and state bankruptcy the year before, the Danish state was reduced to a ‘small, poor country’.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TitelA History of Denmark from the Viking Age to the 21st Century
RedaktørerMary Hilson, Bjørn Poulsen, Thorsten Borring Olesen
UdgivelsesstedAarhus
ForlagAarhus Universitetsforlag
Publikationsdato30 nov. 2023
Sider224-275
Kapitel5
ISBN (Trykt)978 87 7219 674 9
ISBN (Elektronisk)978 87 7597 344 6
StatusUdgivet - 30 nov. 2023

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