Divine Right of Kings
By: Mackenzie (Researcher), Celin (Editor), Kelton (Project Coordinator), and Emily (Media Director)
What is your topic?
We learned that The Divine Right of Kings is doctrine in defense of monarchical absolutism, which asserted that kings derived their authority from God and could not therefore be held accountable for their actions by any earthly authority such as a parliament. The original origins of The Divine Right of Kings is rooted from the medieval idea that God had given earthly power to the King, just like how God gave spiritual power and authority to the Church. Of course a lot of people did not agree to this theory, so there were a lot of arguments between peopled based on their religious beliefs.
What caused or led to it?
Jean Bodin, the author of this theory, based its interpretation on the Roman Law (Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome, and the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the 12 Tables (c. 449 BC), to the Corpus Juris Civilis (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor Justinian I. It was mainly caused by the long conflicts of the religious wars in France between Catholics and Huguenots. Jean was trying to end all this confusion, he ended up writing Six Books of the Commonweal which was also published in French.
Who or what was involved?
With the rise of nation-states and the Protestant Reformation, the theory of divine right justified the king’s absolute authority in both political and spiritual matters. The theory came to England under the reign of James I of England. Louis XIV of France (1643–1715), though Catholic, strongly promoted the theory as well. Such doctrines are largely associated with the House of Tudor and the early House of Stuart in Britain and the theology of the Caroline divines who held their tenure at the pleasure of James I of England (VI of Scotland), Charles I and Charles II.
“King Charles 1st”
Where were/are the consequences of this event?
One of the consequences of The Divine Right of Kings is that Charles I was tried, convicted, and executed for high treason in January 1649. To find out why, watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hHLaRKrwfk
The theory of divine right was abandoned in England during the Glorious Revolution of 1688–89. The American and French revolutions of the late 18th century further weakened the theory’s appeal, and by the early 20th century, it had been virtually abandoned. There was a lot of confusion, rage and conflict about the Divine Right of Kings.
How has it shaped the world we live in today?
The Divine Right of Kings has shaped the way we live today by parting the nation state. Later, opposition lead to it led to governments, which limited the power of the King – Parliament for one. And then to a more democratic form of government. We have learned a lot of the past to help shape the world that we live in today. By politics, war, and history etc. we can learn how different the world in the past can be.
Learning Goal: How might the “Divine Right to Rule” be considered a factor that has contributed to conflict and revolution?
The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. “Divine Right of Kings (doctrine)”. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2014
“Main Page.”Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Feb. 2014. Web. 02. Nov. 2014.
(hhtp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles 1 of England)
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine Right of Kings)
(http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Divine Right of Kings.html)
Sources of Images