Outline of Early Modern World

Some call it the Baroque Age. This post covers history, philosophy and religion, literature, and art and the 1600s reaching to 1715, when King Louis XIV of France died.

If you’re in a hurry, don’t forget about the ctrl-f search to find your key term.

Please see the corresponding post Timeline of the Early Modern World for more dates and tables and information.

This post has a Conclusion at the end, which asks the Western world to remember some things.

Let’s get started

I. Introduction

A. Time Frame (1600-1715)

1. 1603: Death of Elizabeth I of England

2. 1610: Assassination of Henry IV of France

3. 1715: is death of Louis XIV

B. Description

1. Barrocco, Portuguese of irregular pearl

2. Love of grandeur, opulence, and vast, expanding horizons

Genealogical Tables

L. W. Cowie, Sixteenth Century Europe (Oliver and Boyd ,1977).


J. H. Shennan, The Bourbons: The History of a Dynasty (New York: Continuum, 2007)

France and England: A Tale of Two Countries

Please see the corresponding post Timeline of the Early Modern World for more dates and tables and information.

I. Problems

A. Monarchy vs. Parliament

1. Who gets political power and flow of resources?

B. Estates General in France (1355)

1. Clergy

2. Nobility

3. “Commoners”

4. Policies

a. Did not meet regularly

b. Convened only when summoned by king

C. Parliament in England (1215 and 1265)

1. Lords

2. Landowners

3. Burgesses

4. Policies

a. It did not meet regularly

b. Summoned by king occasionally when he needed funds

c. Centuries of broad-based rights for privileged classes

D. Religion

1. Are we Protestant or Catholic?

2. Are we tolerant or authoritarian?


I. Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu

A. Marie de Medici (d. 1642)

1. Problem

a. Henry of Navarre assassinated (1610)

b. Louis is only nine year old, so task of ruling falls on Marie de Medici (d. 1642)

2. Policies

a. Treaty of Fontainebleau (1611) ten-year treaty with Spain to hold off ambitious nobility

b. Makes Richelieu chief advisor

B. Richelieu (1585-1642)

1. Foreign policy

a. He has ambitions to make France the supreme power

b. Despite Treaty of Vervin (1598) he wants to curtail Spanish power so he funds Protestants and insists that Catholic Bavaria should be spared

c. By 1635 Catholic French soldiers were fighting with Swedish Lutherans in final phase of Thirty Years War (1618-1648)

2. Domestic Policy

a. Rex Lex is pursued vigorously even arresting disobedient nobles

b. This won him enemies, even from Marie who did not have vision for entire state

c. Campaigns against Protestants despite Edict of Nantes

II. Louis XIV or le Grand (1643-1715)

A. Cardinal Mazarin (1602-1661)

1. Problem

a. Louis was five when Louis XIII died in 1643

b. Mother, Anne of Austria (d. 1666), place reins in Cardinal Mazarin

2. Policies

a. Mazarin continues Richelieu’s policy of centralization

B. La Fronde (1649-1652)

1. What

a. Named after a slingshot of street boys

b. Revolt by parlement in Paris

2. Causes

a. Long-building resentment produces a backlash

b. Mazarin imprisoned nobility and princes for treason

c. Segments of nobility and townsmen seek to reverse drift towards absolute monarchy

d. Monarchy wishes to revoke tax exemptions

e. Parlement in Paris initiates revolt and nobility soon follows

3. Victory

a. Nobility wins for a short time when Mazarin releases prisoners

b. Mazarin leaves France and Louis leaves Paris

4. Interlude

a. Inefficient and almost anarchic rule

b. Most people now convinced that rule of strong king preferable to the rule of many regional powers

5. His Reign (r. 1661-1715)

a. Louis writes in journal that La Frond made him loathe “kings of straw”

b. Louis and later advisors will consolidate power more cleverly and not as heavy-handedly

c. Very courteous and stately

d. Short of stature, hence his platform shoes and high wigs

e. Moved his court outside of restless Paris to Palace of Versailles

C. Two Strategies of Consolidation

1. Image creation

a. Propaganda and political image creation

b. When dauphin was born in 1662, Louis appeared dressed as Roman emperor

c. Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (1627-1704) defends divine rights of kings

1) Old Testament cited; only God would judge kings

d. He was in charge of the nation

1) He is reported to have said, “L’état, c’est moi”

e. Versailles

1)  After 1682 this is official residence

2)  Home to important nobles, officials, servants

3)  Consumed his revenue to maintain

4)  Nobles could approach him directly but through high and elaborate etiquette

5)  During King’s rising and dressing, nobles could whisper special requests into his ear

6)  Nobility de facto excluded from real business of gov’t

2. Cooperation

a. Nobles must benefit from his authority

b. Crown usu confers informally with regional parlements

c. Crown would rarely enact economic regulations without consulting local opinion

d. He allows some nobility control over their own region and worked with them

e. He never threatens their local social standing

f. He supports social structure and privileges of nobility

D. Domestic Policy

1. Trade and Commerce

a. Jean-Baptist Colbert (1619-83)

b. He reinvigorates trade and manufacture

1)  Eliminates regulations

2)  Subsidizes ships to New Lands

3)  Abolish tolls on canals and rivers

4)  1 million livres to repair highways

c. Reduces number of tax-exempt nobles

d. France now a major commercial power in Europe

2.  Agriculture (la taille or tax)

a. Lords of land withdrew from active cultivation of land

b. Scattered strips of land consolidated into separate farms managed by tenants

c. Tenant farmers subjected to wide variety of rents and dues

1)  E.g., peasants required to pay a fee for grinding his flour at lord’s mill even though lord no longer maintained a mill for the peasants to use

d. Increases the taille

1) A direct tax on peasantry, the major source of income for royalty

E. Religion Policy

1. Jansenists

a. Cornelius Jansen, Flemish, d. 1638

b. They had become powerful, even confessors to Henry IV, Louis XIII and Louis XIV

c. Rose in opposition to Jesuits who assert free will

d. Followed Augustine that original sin mars free will and could do nothing to secure salvation without divine grace

e. Antoine Arnauld publishes tract against Jesuits for their easy-believism and easy redress for sins

f. Blaise Pascal (1622-62) in his Provincial    Letters defends Jansenists and belongs to Port-Royal, headquarters

1)  Seeks to reconcile growing emphasis on reason of the mind with reasons of heart

g. Bans Jansenist who either recant or go into hiding; and closes Port-Royal

2.  Revokes Edict of Nantes (1685)

a. 1598, Henry IV

b. Hostility btwn Prot. and Cath. still alive

c. 1.75 million Huguenots in 1660

d. Motive: To unify France religiously

e. Acts

1)  Protest schools closed

2)  Ministers exiled

3)  Selective taxation

4)  Non-converting laity forced to be galley slaves

5)  Children ceremoniously baptized

f. Major blunder because it chases away productive people and they serve in foreign armies, notably William of Orange

g. He considers it his most pious act and God is indebted to him

F. Foreign Policy

1. Army

a. Well disciplined and well paid; soldiering a respectable profession

2. War of Devolution (1667-68)

a. He claims that he is owed Spanish Netherlands (Belgium) when Philip IV dies in Spain 1665,thru his wife Marie-Thérèse, from Spain

b. She had renounced her claim to succession on condition of 500k-crown dowry, which was never paid

c. Louis invades Belgium, but coalition of England, Sweden, and United Provinces of Holland stop him

d. Treaty of Aix-la-Chappelle (1668) gives him certain towns bordering Belgium

3. Invasion of Netherlands (1672-79)

a. Treaty of Dover unites France and England in 1670, to bring England back to Catholicism and assist France to invade Holland

b. Louis invades Holland, motivated by

1)  Dutch impudence and boasting over previous war (Sun eclipsed by moon of Dutch cheese)

2)  Unification of Europe under French hegemony

c. Prince of Orange, 27 years old, later to become King William III of England, resists and galvanizes Dutch troops into fierce fighters

d. Result Teaty of Nijmwegen (1678, 79)

1)  Holland independent

2)  French control Mediterranean thru a victory

4. Nine Years War (1689-1697)

a. He wants more of Germany and takes free city of Strasbourg

b. Coalition forms against him:  England, Spain, Sweden, United Provinces and electorates of Saxony, Bavaria, and Palatinate

c. Sidelight

1)  England and France struggle over control over America in King William’s War

2)  Result

a)  Stalemate

b)  Treaty of Ryswick signed by William III of England and Emperor Leopold of Austria

5. Spanish Succession (1701-1714)

a. Charles II dies 1700 because of long illnesses and genetic deformities

b. France and Austria claim Spanish inheritance thru marriages

1)  Louis with Marie-Thérèse

2)  Leopold with Margaret-Thérèse (younger sister)

c. Louis’ grandson, Philip of Anjou had better claim, but Marie-Thérèse had renounced claim to Spanish inheritance in Treaty of Pyrenees (1659)

d. Charles II leaves entire inheritance to Philip of Anjou, and Spain belongs to France

1)  Louis sends troops in Flanders (Belgium)

2)  Removes Dutch soldiers from Spanish territories

3)  Spanish America now open to French ships

e. In 1701, England, Holland and Holy Roman Empire form Grand Alliance

f. Louis recognizes claim of James Edwards, son of James II of England as heir to throne–just to augment stakes of battle

g. This time army is not as well trained and not as financed

h. England has superior weaponry (flintlock rifles, paper cartridges, and ring bayonets) and tactics (maneuverable troop columns rather than traditional deep ones)

i. England wins every major engagement

j. In 1708-09, famines, revolts and uncollectible taxes drives Louis to despair (How can God forsake me, who has done so much for him?)

k. Treaty of Utrecht (1713) and of Rastadt (1714)

1)  Philip of Anjou king of Spain (Philip V)

2)  Gibraltar goes to England

3)  Succession of England to Hanoverian king

l. Although France remains strong and intact, Louis’ ambitions will have to wait until Napoleon

Genealogical Table

The Stuarts: James is the sixth James to be king of Scotland, so up there he is called James VI. At the same time he is the first James to be king of England, so there he is called James I

Alan Massie, The Royal Stuarts: A History of the Family that Shaped Britain (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2010)


I. James I, a Stuart, (r. 1603-1625)

A. Identity

1. Son of Mary Queen of Scots

a. She lived in France since six years old

b. She married French king Francis II

c. She lived in France until husband dies in 1561

d. In 1568 Mary flees Scotland because her lover, earl of Bothwell, suspected, with cause, of killing her legal husband, Lord Darnley; a packed court acquitted Bothwell, and he marries her

e. Outraged Scottish noblemen forced her to abdicate

f. James VI is on throne at one yrs old

h. She is executed in 1587 under Elizabeth, on suspicion of Catholic plots

2. Succession

a. Ascends after childless Elizabeth

b. As a Scot, he was an outsider, and Elizabeth was very popular

c. He is raised Presbyterian

B. Domestic Policy

1. Parliament

a. House of Lords and Commons

b. Consisted of wealthy landed gentry

c. Function was to secure income for king

d. Met when king summoned it

2. “Impositions” levied

a. New customs duties

b. Solely on authority of ill-defined privileges claimed to be attached to office of king

c. Parliament resented this but worked behind scenes to negotiate

3. Divine Right

a. Wrote works, such as Basilicon Doron, the Book of Kings

b. Book advocates absolute royal rule based on a strong ecclesiastical hierarchy

4. Court

a. Governed by favorite, esp. duke of Buckingham, who was rumored to be king’s lover

b. Buck sold patronage and peerages to highest bidders

c. This cheapens rank of nobility

5. Merchants

a. He displeased merchants, giving away monopolies and trading privileges to his favorites

b. This affected the gentry and sometimes nobles

C. Religion policy

1. Puritan Wishes

a. They hope James would further their cause due to his upbringing as Protestant

b. Puritans wish to eliminate elaborate ceremonies and replace hierarchical Episcopal system with a more representative Presbyterian form

2. James’ response

a. He rejects their proposals at conference called Hampton Court in 1604, as Elizabeth I had done, for fear of more religious strife

b. He did ordain translation of Bible, completed in 1611

c. He offends Puritans with his opposition to their view of social activities (conservative)

1)  He believes their “narrowness” prevents Catholics from converting to Anglicanism

d. He issues Book of Sports, permitting games on Sunday for those who attend services of Church of England

1) Too radical, so clergy refuses to read it from pulpit

2)  He rescinds it

3. Emigration

a. Dissenters begin to leave for America because reforms had not gone far enough

b. Business Adventurers in Virginia

D. Foreign Policy

1. Spain

a. Signs peace treaty in 1604

b. Some suspect him of Catholic sympathies

c. Tries to arrange marriage between son and daughter of Spanish king

d. In 1624 England enters into alliance against Spain, because of pressure from Parliament and popular sentiment

II. Charles I (r. 1625-49)

A. Identity

a. Son of James I

b. A Stuart

B. Domestic policy

1. Parliament

a. Distrusts Duke of Buckingham, so it refuses to fund war adequately

2. Taxes

a. Outside jurisdiction of Parliament

b. New tariffs and duties and collect discontinued taxes

c. “Forced loan,” really a tax theoretically to be repaid

d. Imprisons those who refuse to pay

4. Private property

a. Troops in transit to war zones quartered in private homes

5. Result

a. All this intrudes on local authority of nobility

C. Parliamentary Reaction

1. Convenes in 1628

2. Angry at king

a. Taxes

b. War not going well for England

3. Petition of Right

a. No more forced loans or taxation without consent of Parliament

b. No freeman should be imprisoned without due cause

c. No troops in private homes

d. If he did not sign it, then no funds

e. He signs it, but little hope he would keep his word

D. Years of Personal Rule (1629-1640)

1. Preconditions

a. Buckingham assassinated in 1628

b. Parliament seeks to restrict royalty by prohibiting innovations

1) High church policies (1629)

2. Charles dissolves Parliament (1629)

a. Peace treaty with France (1629) and Spain (1630)

b. Marriage contract with French woman Henrietta Marie, daughter of Henri IV, allows her to hear Catholic Mass at court

c. Thorough, a policy

1) Thomas Wentworth imposes strict efficiency and admin centralization

2)  Goal is royal control over England

d. He sells noble titles, cheapening value and nobility’s local power

e. He surrounds himself with elaborate court

3. Taxes

a. Lawyers search every law, previously neglected

b. Extend existing taxes

1)  In 1634 “ship money” tax moved inland, whereas it had been levied only along coast for naval protection

2)  John Hampden, great landowner, challenges this in court

3)  King prevails in close contest, but now resented

4. Religion

a. He seeks to unify realm (England and Scotland) religiously

b. Wm Laud (1573-1645) appointed bishop of Canterbury

1)  Powerful bishops

2)  Elaborate liturgies

3)  Private devotions, not preaching and listening

4)  Before, as member of the Court of High Commission, Laud had denied puritans right to preach

5. Scotland

a. In 1637 Charles and Laud try to impose English Episcopal system on Scotland

b. Prayerbook almost identical to that of Anglican Book of Common Prayer

c. Scots rebel in 1640, England does not have enough money to wage war, but do anyway

d. Charles forced to summon Parliament

E. Short and Long Parliament

1. Short Parliament (April-May 1640)

a. Parliament convenes with long list of grievances

b. Charles refuses to hear them

c. Dissolves Parliament again

d. Scots invade England and defeat English army at Battle of Newburn in 1640

2. Long Parliament (November 1640 to 1660)

a. Landowners and merchants and puritans, who make up Parliament, resent policies

b. It now has widespread support

c. Th. Wentworth and Laud impeached

1)  Wentworth executed in 1641

2)  Laud imprisoned and executed in 1645

d. It abolishes

1) Court of Star Chamber

2) Court of High Commission

3) Instruments of political and religious thorough, respectively

e. Levying of new taxes and inland extension of “ship money” now illegal

f. No more than three years to elapse before it meets

g. It could not be dissolved without its consent

III. Civil War (1642-46)

A. Causes

1. Ireland

a. Rebellion erupts in Ireland (Oct. 1641)

b. Charles asks for money to suppress it

c. Some in House of Commons loudly remind it of king’s past behavior

d. Parliament should become own commander-in-chief

e. Conservatives appalled by this radical departure from tradition

2. Grand Remonstrance

a. It presents him this on Dec. 1, 1641

b. More than 200 articles of popular and parliamentary grievances

3. Parliament

a. He dissolves parliament in Jan. 1642

b. He sees dissension as chance

c. He intends to arrest leaders

d. Leaders forewarned and escape

e. Majority of Parliament pass Militia Ordinance, giving it power to raise own army

4. Two issues

a. Politics: Absolute monarchy or Parliament?

b. Religion: High Anglican Church vs. decentralized Presbyterian system?

5. Classes

a. Classes join both sides

b. Religion separates them; Puritans favor Parliament

B. Victory for Parliament

1. Scottish allies

a. Solemn League and Covenant (1643)

b. Committed Parliament and Scots to a Presbyterian system of church government

c. Scots never have to worry about imposition of English prayer book

2. Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658)

a. He favors neither episcopal nor Presbyterian system, just Protestant dissenters to worship outside it

b. Reorganizes army into a fanatical, disciplined force

c. Battle of Marston Moor (1644), a decisive victory for Parliament

IV. Oliver Cromwell: English Republic (1649-59)

A. Identity

1. A Puritan, country gentleman

2. Interests

a. Keen on poetry and flowers

b. knowledgeable about husbandry and horses

c.  Tolerant toward and curious about nonconformist types

d. Deeply patriotic

B. Domestic Policy

1. Charles I

a. Though defeated militarily, tries to get Presbyterians and Scots to his side

b. In Dec. 1848, Colonel Thomas Pride blocks Parliament doors from Presbyterians who are majority

c. Independent Rump Parliament, so-called because a “rump” of fewer than fifty men

1)  On Jan 30, 1649, after trial by special court, Charles executed

2)  Monarchy abolished

3)  House of Lords abolished

4)  Anglican Church abolished

d. A Civil War turns into a revolution

e. As tough on Anglicans as Charles had been with puritans

2. Parliament

a. Parliament too slow for Cromwell, who was no politician; both sides frustrated

b. In 1653 Parliament wishes to disband expensive army of 50k men

c. Cromwell marches in and disbands Parliament

d. Various Parliaments tried, but quarreled with them

3. Economy

a. Expensive military inflates budget three time that of Charles

b. In some place, near-chaos reigns

c. Economy suffers

4. Lord Protector

a. After disbanding Parliament, he rules as Lord Protector

5. Prohibitions

a. Intolerant of Anglicans, so he disbands the church

1) Drunkenness

2) Theater-going

3) Dancing

4) Political liberties vanish in name of religious liberties

D. Succession (1658)

1. Army

a. Most England willing to abandon political experiment

b. Son Richard Cromwell lacks charisma and ability of father

c. Negotiations between leaders of army and Charles II (r. 1660-85) restore monarchy (1660)

V. Charles II (r. 1660-85):  Restoration

A. Identity

1. Son of Charles I

2. Stuart

B. Domestic Policy

1. Status quo

a. No requirement to summon Parliament

b. Prominence of Anglican Church, with bishops and prayer books

2. Theatre

a. Once again prospered:  Restoration Theatre

b. Charles lived in France and loved it

C. Religion Policy

1. Catholic?

a. King has secret Catholic sympathies

b. Favors religious tolerance for Catholics and Puritans, so long as they remain loyal

2. Louis XIV

a. Because of war with Holland, Charles needs money

b. He promises Louis XIV that he would announce his conversion to Catholicism as soon as conditions in England permitted (this never happened)

3. Declaration of Indulgence in 1672

a. Suspends all laws against Catholics and Puritans

b. Parliament refuses to fund war with Holland

c. He must repeal it

4. Test Act (1673)

a. Parliament responds

b. Requires all officials of the crown, civil and military, to swear an oath against doctrine of transubstantiation

c. Aimed at James, duke of York, king’s brother and heir to throne, who converted to Catholicism and was devout

5. Rule without Parliament (1681-1685)

a. Charles maintains with Louis XIV’s funds

b. Never summons Parliament

c. He suppresses much opposition

d. Earl of Shaftsbury exiled

e. Executes Whigs leaders for treason

f. And bullies local corporations into electing pro-royalist MPs

C. Foreign Policy

1. Navigation Acts

a. All imports must be carried in English ships or in ships registered to country from which cargo originated

b. Dutch shipping dominance threatened and he launches series of naval battles

c. France and England at war with Holland, in Treaty of Dover

VI. James II (r. 1685-88)

A. Identity

a. Brother of Charles II

b. Devout Catholic

B. Policies

1. Repeals Test Act

2. Dissolves Parliament

3. Catholicism

a. In 1687 he issues Declaration of Indulgence

1)  Suspends all religious tests and permits free worship

b. Openly appoints known Catholics to high positions in Court and army

c. He removes opponents from office with his soldiers

d. Imprisons seven Anglican bishops who refuse to publicize suspension of laws against Catholics

e. On June 20, 1688 his second Catholic wife gives birth to Catholic male heir

f. Many had hoped he would die without a son and leave accession to his two protestant daughters, Mary and Anne

4. Conclusion

a. Seen as attacking local power of nobles, landowners, the Church and other corporate bodies

b. Seen as challenging English liberty and social privilege

c. Goal seen as establishing absolutism, as in Louis XIV’s court

d. Even Tories, the loyalists, could not handle his policies

VII. Glorious Revolution (1688-89)

A. Mary

1. Identity

a. James II’s oldest daughter

b. Protestant

2. William III of Orange

a. Married to him

b. Stadtholder of Netherlands

c. Great-grandson of William the Silent

d. Leader against Louis XIV’s imperial designs

B. Parliament

1. Invitation

a. English nobles summon Mary and her husband to throne, with army

2. James II

a. He flees to France

C. Some Irish defeated in Battle of Boyne (1690)

1. So not a completely bloodless revolution

D. Limitations

1. William

a. Interested in foreign affairs in France and Holland

b. He allows cabinet to run executive branch

c.  When Whigs (later liberal) are in majority, then Whigs run cabinet

d. When Tories (later conservatives) are in majority, then they’re in charge

2. Bill of Rights (1669)

a. Mary and Wm must sign it

b. Limits power of monarchy

c. Monarchs subject to law (Lex Rex)

d. Rule by consent of Parliament

e. Guarantees civil liberties of privileged classes

f. Prohibits Roman Catholics from occupying throne

3. Habeas Corpus Act (1679)

a. Forces authorities to bring all prisoners to speedy trial

4. Settlement Act (1701)

a. Wm and Mary childless

b. If Queen Anne (r. 1702-14) outlives her children, and she does

1) Anne is second daughter of James II and last of Stuart monarchs

c. Then Protestant House of Hanover should accede

d. In 1714, the Elector of Hanover becomes King George I, foreigner rules over England

D. Church

1. Act against Dissenters (1672)

Revolutionary Science and Philosophy

Please see the corresponding post Timeline of the Early Modern World for more dates and tables and information.

I. Introduction

A. Ptolemaic System

1. Geocentric

a. Earth is center

b. Planets and stars moved around earth

c. Planets and heavenly bodies perfectly formed

2. Problem

a. Oblong motions of spheres

1)  Answer:  epicycles, or orbit on orbit, like jewel on ring

b. Another Problem

1)  Immense speed required to move around earth

B. Aristotelian system

1. Geocentric

2. Assumed without question by church

C. Scholasticism

1. Description

a. Medieval system of philosophy

b. Accepts and assumes authority of Bible, church fathers and ancients, esp. Aristotle

D. Renaissance + Reformation = Revolutions

1. Renaissance

a. It gives permission to think

b. Admiration of the “freedom” of Greeks and Romans

2. Reformation

a. This fractured power of church

b. Safe havens created where thinkers are free to express new ideas

3. Revolutions

a. Scientific revolutions

b. Political revolutions in England

c. “Enlightenment” revolutions

4.  Caution

a. Sometimes certain Reformation leaders oppose, due to fear, new ideas of scientists and philosophers

II. Early Scientists

A.  Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543)

1.  Life

a.  Polish astronomer

2.  Work

a.  On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (1543)

3.  Contribution

a. Earth revolves around sun

b. This reduces number of epicycles

c. Planets move in circular orbit; any appearance to contrary is due to observer on earth

d. He keeps many aspects of Ptolemaic system

4.  Reaction: Please see the corresponding post Timeline of the Early Modern World for more dates and tables and information.

III. New Developments

A. Advances: Please see the corresponding post Timeline of the Early Modern World for more dates and tables and information.

B. Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)

1. Life

a. German astronomer

2. Work

a. On the Motion of Mars (1609)

3. Contribution

a. He borrows from Tycho Brahe, Danish astronomer

b. Neoplatonist

1)  It give special place for sun

2)  He wishes to make sun the center

c. Universe operates with mathematical precision

d. Planets moved in elliptical orbit, not circular

e. Why?  Leave it to Newton

C. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

1. Life

a.  Italian scientist from Florence

2. Work

a. Dialogues on the Two Chief Systems of the World (1632)

3. Contribution

a. Telescope recently invented, which he helped devise

b. He turned it to sky

1)  Mountains on moon, spots moving across sun, and this challenges perfection of spheres

2)  Moons orbit around Jupiter, so earth is not center of everything

3)  Heavens much larger than Ptolemaic system would allow

4. Reaction

a. Some scientists refuse to look through telescope, even though standing next to it

1)  “We have Aristotle and the Bible; we don’t need to look”

b. Arrested, recanted, but then under house arrest again

VI. England

A. Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

1.  Life

a. Solicitor General for James I

b. Lord Chamberlain

c. Accused of bribes and banned

2. Work

a. Novum Organum (1620) (Please see the corresponding post Timeline of the Early Modern World for more dates and tables and information.)

3. Goal

a. Reconstruct all Arts, Science, Philosophy

1)  Scholasticism paid too much attention to ancient authorities and none at all to world around them

2)  Learning should have utility, and not be confined to university

4.  Method

a. Reclassification

1)  Reclassify knowledge

2)  Allow no assumptions just because it comes from ancient authority

b. Induction

1)  Collect empirical data and observations

2)  Hypothesize into a theory

3)  Test theory

c. Conclusions

1)  To exam cacti in 10 sq miles can be done  by examining 3 sections

d. This is foundation for modern science, but we must not forget Aristotle

B.  Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)

1. Life

a. Son of clergyman

b. B.A. from Oxford

c. Meets Galileo in Florence (1629-30; 1634-37)

d. Meets Descartes in Paris (1630s)

e. Translates Thucydides (1628) and is deeply impressed with T’s anti-democratic views

f. Writes in England, which is protestant bastion

g. Just before revolution (1642-46) he flees to France (1640) and stays for eleven years

2. Work

a. Leviathan (1651) (Please see the corresponding post Timeline of the Early Modern World for more dates and tables and information.)

3. Ideas

a. People viewed in thoroughly materialistic and mechanical way

b. Mental processes derived only from physical sensations

c. All motivations are ego-centered, intended to increase pleasure, minimize pain

d. Humans could use reason to accomplish great things

e. People in natural state are inclined to “perpetual and restless desire”

f. This breeds enmity and strife and competition

4. Outcome

a. Absolute rule must control these passions

b. People escape natural state by entering into social contract, by which they agree to be controlled by sovereignty, once ruler got in power

c. He supports Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, and Charles II over Parliament

d. He does not support divine right of kings, which only angers extreme royalists, not king

C. John Locke (1632-1704)

1. Life

a. Born in Puritan family

b. Father fought with Parliament in Civil War

c. Read Bacon, Descartes, and Newton

d. B.A. (1656) and M.A. (1658), Oxford

e. Secretary to Lord Shaftsbury

f. Gets involved in Protestant politics

g. He is exiled to Holland and returns with William and Mary in 1689

2. Work

a. Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690)

b. Two Treatises of Government (1690) (Please see the corresponding post Timeline of the Early Modern World for more dates and tables and information.)

3.  Ideas in Essay

a. We are born in this world as a blank slate, tabula rasa

b. We do not have innate ideas

c. All knowledge is derived from direct sensuous experience

d. People do not know external world in itself, but the results of interaction of mind with outside world

See Outline of John Locke’s Theory of Knowledge

5.  Ideas in Two Treatises

a. Man should enjoy in his natural state, the right to freedom and pursuit of the natural rights, life, liberty, property

b. Humans in natural state will use reason to pursue pleasure or the good

c. No one, not even kings, should harm another, since all are made in image of God

d. People enter into social contract with government and kings only to allow government and kings to “umpire” their disputes and preserve natural rights

C. Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

1. Life

a. English scientist

b. Devout Christian (though Arian)

2. Work

a. The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687)

3. Ideas

a. Planets and all other physical objects in universe move through mutual attraction

b. Gravity explains why planets move orderly and not chaotically

c. Mutual attraction of planets makes orbit elliptical

d. Induction, not deduction must be guiding principle

e. Therefore, he opposes Descartes and supports Bacon

f. He seeks to reconcile science and faith

1)  Universe is so precisely created (e.g. so that it does not collide) that God created it

IV. France

A. René Descartes (1596-1650)

1.  Life

a. Trained in Jesuit schools; law degree

b. He was going to publish Rules for the Direction of the Mind in 1633

c. This concludes that body is like a machine

d. But Galileo’s condemnation makes him hesitate

e. He writes in Holland and in Sweden, two Protestant nations

2. Work

a. Discourse on Method (1637)

b. Meditations (1641)

3. Ideas (Please see the corresponding post Timeline of the Early Modern World for more dates and tables and information.)

a. Doubt and skepticism

b. He proposed to doubt everything, even his own existence

c. Maybe an evil genie had made him dream he was existing

d. He concludes that he does exist because he is thinking

e. Even doubt is thinking

f. Cogito, ergo sum

g. This extreme skepticism is foundation for  modern philosophy

h. However, induction wins out over deduction

Click on Outline of Descartes’s Meditation I and II

4. Caution

a. He deduces existence of God based on reason

b. God is good, so humans are not deceived

c. Descartes would have been saddened to see his ideas used for atheism

B. Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

1. Life: Please see the corresponding post Timeline of the Early Modern World for more dates and tables and information.

a. Son of magistrate of old ennobled family

b. After mother died, moved to Paris (1631)

c. Educated by his father and was gifted in math

d. At 16 he wrote a treatise on conic sections (1639)

e. Two Jansenist friends converted him to Jansenism, a “puritan” movement in the Catholic church

f. On Nov. 23, 1654, he had a conversion experience

g. Thereafter became associated with Port-Royal, convent of the Jansenist group

h. The Sorbonne denounces its beliefs and imposes   anti-Jansenist formulary that must be signed

i. Pascal refuses to sign a second formulary and withdraws from controversy (1661)

2.  Works

a. Pensées (idea in 1657; published 1670)

3.  Ideas

a. Ally reason and faith

b. But faith has preeminence

c. Reason is limited when contemplating such issues as existence of God or eternity or the Trinity

Church and Orthodoxy

See the corresponding post Timeline of the Early Modern World!

I. Catholic

A. Gallicanism

B. Jansenism (see above)

II. Lutheranism

A. Philip Melancthon (1497-1560)

B. Formula of Concord (1577)

C. Lutheran Scholasticism

III. Reformed

A. Jacobus Arminius

B. Synod of Dort (1618-1619)

Baroque Literature

I. Introduction

A. Description

1. Grandeur

a. Epics, classical plays, and lofty themes

2. Verbosity

a. Takes the Renaissance one step further

b. Calderón is more wordy than previous writers

c. Ornate language

d. Dynamic rhetoric

3. Mixture

a. Blend classical with biblical themes (Paradise Lost)

b. Old world with new world

c. Theatrical spectacle

4. Love of power

a. Debate between right and wrong

b. Classical themes

5. Love of unusual and extreme

a. Conceit is literary device blending unusual ideas together to surprise and even impress

1)  John Donne compares compass with soul’s connection with another soul

2)  Tear-floods, sigh-tempests

b. Exotic

1)  New world with old world

c. Juxtaposes two extremes, such as honor to king and duty, or family ties

d. Comedy of manners exploits misunderstandings

e. Person doomed by passion, e.g. Phèdre

II. France

A. Molière: Jean-Baptist Poquelin (1622-1673)

1. Life

a. Penname is Molière

b. Born and dies in Paris

c. From a bourgeois family and receives a respectable education

d. A playwright, director, and producer

e. Founds the Illustre Theatre (1643), which goes bankrupt (1645)

f. Tours the provinces with his troupe for thirteen years

g. Marries Armande Béjart, 20 years younger

h. He comes under the patronage of Louis’ brother, Philip (ca. 1662)

i. In 1665 his troupe became the Troupe du Roi (Troupe of the King)

j. Dies while performing title role in Le Malade imaginaire

2.  Works

a. Tartuffe (1664)

1)  Controversy:  Molière is an enemy of every restraint or convention that impeded human development

2)  Cardinal vice of his age was hypocrisy, prevalent in the 17th C.

3)  Play is a sociological study of the effects not of religion but of the decadent religiosity on life

4)  In the three-act version (unknown), was attacked by religionists, and even the King succumbed and banned it, but did not abandon his author

5)  It was revised and replayed in August 1667 and was promptly banned again

6)  On Feb. 5, 1669, after the “Peace of the Pope” between Pope Clement IX and Louis XIV, it was allowed and was a smash ever since


Act I: Family members describe Tartuffe; the grandmother (Pernelle) likes him, the others don’t; it is revealed that Mariane is pledged to Valère; Orgon (head of household) returns from brief trip, and he cares more for Tartuffe than for his wife; Cléante, his bro-in-law, urges moderation in Orgon’s view of Tartuffe.

Act II: Orgon reveals to his daughter Mariane that she must marry Tartuffe, not Valère; Dorine, Mariane’s maid, argues with Orgon; Mariane threatens suicide to Dorine.

Act III: Tartuffe finally appears, is smug with Dorine, telling her to cover her bosom; Elmire, Orgon’s wife, meets with Tartuffe to dissuade him from the marriage; he makes a pass at her (hypocrite!), which she repels; Damis, Orgon’s son, was hiding and hears the sexual advance; Damis reports it to Orgon in Tartuffe’s presence, but Orgon does not believe him and is so indignant that he severs Damis from his will and inserts Tartuffe.

Act IV: The family persuades Orgon to put Tartuffe to the test; Orgon hides under the table while Elmire is alone with Tartuffe; they are about to commit the act when Orgon reveals himself; Tartuffe threatens blackmail; Orgon mentions some strongbox

Act V: Orgon reveals that the strongbox belonged to a certain Argas, who gave it to Orgon for safe keeping, then fled ; Mme Pernelle does not believe that Tartuffe is corrupt, and Orgon is angry with her; Monsieur Loyal shows up with an eviction notice; Valère urges Orgon to flee because the King’s guards are on their way; too late, they arrive and are about to arrest Orgon, but arrest Tartuffe instead; explanation: the King’s men were watching Tartuffe because of some other fraud, and Orgon had done some noble deed in the past.

B. Jean Racine (1639-99)

1.  Life

a. Born into family of civil servants

b. Orphaned in 1643

c. Educated at Port-Royal (1649-53)

d. Breaks with Port-Royal, which strongly opposes   theatrical pursuits

e. After Phèdre, (1677) appointed king’s historiographer

f. Retires from theater and marries Catherine de Romanet (1677), who bears him seven children

2.  Works

a. Phèdre (1677)

II. England

A. John Donne (1572-1631)

1. Life

a. B. in London to Roman Catholic parents

b. Father was prosperous tradesman

c. Studies at Oxford (1584-87)

d. In 1590s renounces Catholicism for Anglicanism

e. In 1601 dismissed from high bureaucratic position because of secret marriage with 16 year old Anne More

f. Eloquent preacher, he is reader in divinity at Lincoln’s Inn (1616)

g. Dean of St. Paul’s (1621)

h. Poems published in 1633, two years after his death

i. Dies in London

2. Works (Please see the corresponding post Timeline of the Early Modern World for more dates and tables and information.)

B. John Milton (1608-1674)

1. Life

a. He was a Puritan

b. He went blind, so he had his daughters write out his dictation

c. He favored Cromwell’s Republic

2. Works

a. Paradise Lost (1667)

b. Paradise Regained (1671)

C. Aphra Behn (?1640-1689)

1. Life

a. Unknown when and where she was born

b. As a child, travels to Suriname, Dutch Guiana

c. Returns ca. 1658 and marries a London merchant named Behn

d. After his death (1666), she is sent to Netherlands as spy

e. Unrewarded for services, she spends time in debtors prison

f. She turns to writing as means of support

g. She spurns another marriage and lives a Bohemian existence

h. Dies in London and is buried in Westminster Abbey

2. Works

a. “A Willing Mistress”

b. Oroonoko (1688)

1)  Love between black slave-prince and woman slave (class difference in a restricted world)

Baroque Art and Architecture

I. Florid Baroque

A.  Introduction

1. Same as Counter-Reformation Baroque at the Council of Trent (1545-1563): counter the Reform. “by means of the stories of the mysteries of our Redemption portrayed by paintings or other representations, [whereby] the people [shall] be instructed and confirmed in the habit of remembering, and continually revolving in mind the articles of faith.”

2. The Council further relig. art to be directed toward clarity (to increase understanding), realism (to make it more directly meaningful, and emotion (to arouse religious fervor)

3. St. Peter’s Basilica: Bramante’s and Maderno’s and Bernini’s St. Peter’s Basilica (get rid of Greek Cross shape [pagan], elongate it to a Latin Cross, and abolish even, symmetric lines)

4. Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680)

a. Baldacchino (ornate, twisting columns, not many straight lines)

b. The Ecstasy of St. Teresa (emotional, naturalistic, religious)

5. Michelangelo Merisi (1573-1610) (a.k.a. Caravaggio)

a. The Martyrdom of St. Matthew (close up gives dramatic immediacy)

6. Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653)

a. Student of Caravaggio

b. Judith and Her Maidservant with Head of Holofernes (chiaracuro, up close, dramatic)

7. Andrea Pozzo (1642-1709)

a. Allegory of the Missionary work of the Jesuits (this breaks away from realism; it moves

8. Peter-Paul Rubens (1577-1640)

a. In Flanders embraces ornateness and drama

9. Diego Velásquez (1599-1660)

a. Tones down intense drama for a little illusion

II. Classical Baroque

A. Introduction

1. Architecture designed to display absolutism and secularism

2. In painting, Classical dominates with myths, idealized human bodies

B. Examples

1. Palais de Varsailles

2. Nicolas Poussaint (1594-1665)

a.  Et in Arcadia Ego

III. Restrained Baroque (a.k.a. Protestant)

A. Introduction

1. Netherlands, led by sober-minded, middle-class burghers

2. Paintings used for home decorations: still life, landscapes, portraits, and genre (slice-of-life)

3. Religion should have a moral

B. Examples

1. Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)

a. The Blinding of Samson early, is influenced by Caravaggio

b. The Militia Company of Captain Frans Banning is dramatic and moves

2. Jan Vermeer (1632-1675)

a. The Lacemaker (bourgeois order and comfort, realistic, metaphor of virtuous household

3. Judith Leyster (1609-1660)

a. Self-portrait

4. Anthony Van Dyke (1599-1641)

a. A pupil of Rubens, now in England

b. James Stuart (aristocratic tastes, but restrained

5. Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723)

a. He borrowed from two sources: Classical Baroque and Palais of Versailles, and High Renaissance and its pure classical form

b. St. Paul’s Cathedral


The modern world began in the 1600s, particularly in England. The English curtailed the king’s power. They instituted the Bill of Rights. Immigrants voyaged to America. Political theory, particularly of John Locke, was written. René Descartes is the founder of modern philosophy.

Sleepy Western world, wake up! Reclaim your good heritage, like your true biblical Christian faith, rather than empty religion. No longer focus on your bad past! And don’t allow leftists and Islamists to browbeat you with it. You fought for your liberty!

Now live as free people!

Timeline of the Early Modern World


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s