book: western civilization volume 1: to 1715 (chapter 8,9,10)

Rise of National Monarchies in Europe

The emergent of the nation-state in Europe happened after the 1500s. Before this, the social and political environment did not allow for national monarchies and the concept was not even conceivable. The emergent was therefore triggered by several important forces in the history of Europe that necessitated separation and formation of national states. This paper will explore these forces and shed more light on why the formation of national monarchies was necessary for Europe.

The first major force that necessitated the formation of national monarchies is the collapse of feudalism. Since the beginning of the ninth century, Europe subscribed to feudalism, a system of unifying all Europeans based on an agricultural economy, distinctive social classes, and interdependence. This significantly led to unity while it lasted. The system was, however, unsustainable with industrialization and Renaissance. The collapse of the system led to the manifestation of previously ignored divisions and formation of nation states.

Another unifying factor in Europe was a common language and religion. This, however, changed with the revolution in the Roman Catholic Church that led to fragmentation of the citizens into different denominations. Political interference into these fragments led to the weakening of the unity and ultimate formation of states and nations that were also different in their religious affiliation. In addition, as trade with the Far East and empires in China intensified, greed for power and control led to the fragmentation of the strong European Empire and formation of different nations who sought to control own resources and trade linkages.

However, the region still retained some of its unifying factors including power structures and trade partnership at least for another century post the nationalism era. The formation of national monarchies in Europe was, therefore, triggered by the failure of the Feudalism and the religious, economic and political forces that forced fragmentation.

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