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absolutism   form of government in which sovereignty is vested in a single person, the king or queen; absolute monarchs in the 16th and 17th centuries based their authority on the theory of the divine right of king  
cabinet system   political system where heads of governmental administrative departments serve as a group to advise the head of state (Prime Minister). All these ministers are drawn from the majority party in the legislature (in Britain the House of Commons) and are respo  
constitutionalism   implies a balance between authority and power of the government on the one hand, and on the other hand the rights and liberties of the subject or citizen; also the limitation of government by law and the rule of law; a constitution may be unwritten (Briti  
Don Quixote   novel authored by Miguel de Cervantes, perhaps the greatest work of Spanish literature. A survey of the entire fabric of Spanish society that can be read on several levels: as a burlesque of chivalric romances; as an exploration of conflicting views (idea  
Dutch East India Company (1602-1798)   joint stock company chartered by the States-General of the Netherlands to expand trade and promote relations between the Xdutch government and its colonial ventures. It established a colony at the Cape of Good Hope (1652), and in the 1630s it paid a retur  
French classicism   style of French art, architecture, and literature (ca. 1600-1750), based on admiration and imitation of Greek and Roman models but with greater exuberance and complexity.  
Fronde   series of violent uprisings during the minority of Louis XIV triggered by oppressive taxation of the common people, ambitions of the nobles, and efforts of the parlement of Paris (highest French judicial body) to check the authority of the crown; the last  
mercantilism   economic theory of European nations in 16th and 17th centuries. It rested on the premise that a nation’s power and wealth were determined by its supply of precious metal which were to be acquired by increasing exports (paid for with gold) and reducing imp  
Peace of Utrecht (1713)   series of treaties that ended the War of the Spanish Succession, ended French expansion in Europe, and marked the rise of the British Empire.  
Puritans   members of a 18th century reform movement within the Church of England that advocated "purifying" it of Roman Catholic elements, such as bishops, elaborate ceremonial, the wedding ring. Calvinist in theology, Puritanism had broad social, ethical and polit  
raison d’etat   political theory articulated by French statesmen Richelieu (158501642) that holds that the interests and needs of the state may take precedence over traditional moral and international law.  
republican government   non-monarchial government. In the American context, traditionally a state governed by representatives elected on a broad basis of suffrage who serve the interests of all the people. Where election depends on the huge infusion of cash from private and corp  
Second Treatise on Civil Government (1690)   English political philosopher John Locke, a justification of the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89 and of the people’s right of revolution; a defense of the rights of property; it supported a system of checks and balances as (later) embodied in the U.S. Cons  
sovereignty   supreme authority in a political community; a modern state is said to be sovereign when it controls the instruments of justice (the courts) and the use of force (military and police powers) within geographical boundaries recognized by other states.  
stadholder   its representative, or chief executive officer in each province; in the 17th century that position was held by the sons of William the Silent of the House of Orange and was largely ceremonial.  
States General   term used by the national assembly of the United Provinces of the Netherlands where the wealthy merchant class held real power; because many issues had to be refereed back to the provinces, the United Provinces was a confederation, or weak union of a stro  
totalitarianism   20th century development that exalted the authority of the state and claimed that right to direct all facets of a state’s culture-law, art, education, economy, religion, etc. in the interests of the state, those interests defined by a dictator, e.g. Hitle  


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