Prompt: Evaluate the extent to which rulers of the early modern period (1450-1750) differed in their methods of establishing authority.
In the period 1450-1750, new land-based empires started to form. Many of these empires were formed through gunpowder. Before these gunpowder empires rose, Tamerlane conquered the Golden Horde, the Mongol army. This set the stage for the gunpowder empires to grow and flourish, ending the supreme rule of the Mongol Empire. Although some methods of establishing authority such as practices such as filial piety in East Asia and the Divine Right of Kings in Europe were the same, because each empire used their own methods of establishing authority, the extent to which rulers differed in their methods of establishing authority was very high.
Although many differences in establishing authority occurred between empires in the period 1450-1750, there were some similarities that must be taken into consideration. Document 3 compares the English Monarchy to God, and to fathers of his people. The reason for this document is to prove to the English Parliament the importance of the way they run their state, by using the Divine Right of Kings. The speech is emphasizing why their method works, by painting the image that the monarchy is a father to the rest of the nation. This shows that the English empire had similar ways in establish authority to France, by the depiction of the image in Document 5. Document 5 is a painting of Louis XIV being crowned after his accomplishment of successfully sieging Maastricht. In the painting, you can see an angel crowning him. The angel in the painting is representing the heavens and God, giving him power, which is showing the use of the Divine Right of Kings. The angel is crowning Louis XIV, letting him carry out God’s will. Document 4 depicts the customs of their government and nation, which involves filial piety. Filial piety was used in Song Dynasty, when China was just beginning to flourish. Filial piety is a respect for elders, and those of higher power than you. In the previous time period, filial piety influenced much of East Asia. This shows that one of the Qing dynasty’s way of establishing authority is similar to the ways of much of East Asia.
Although there are small continuities in ways of establishing authority between different states, the main way states established power in different states differs drastically in the period 1450-1750. Document 1 is a letter describing how the Ottoman Empire establishes authority. The document says the Sultan appoints officers and officials based on merit, not by wealth or rank. The Ottoman Empire often gave many opportunities to young Christian boys who did not have much, by establishing the devshirme system. The boys received a great education and later had the opportunity to become Janissaries, or even bureaucrat officials. This shows that the Ottoman Empire established power by appointing people that were good at what they did, not if they were wealthy. The Ottoman Empire did not follow the filial piety system as East Asia did, by respecting people of a higher class than you. This document was a letter to the Ottoman Empire from an Austrian, who was in threat of an invasion. The audience of this document is extremely important because as a letter, the likeliness of a person to be much more honest than in a speech is much greater. In the letter, the Austrian is praising the Ottomans way of appointing people. The intimacy of the letter shows the sincerity of the words, and shows the wonder in the Ottoman’s different way of running things. Document 2 describes how the Incans were extremely skilled in conquering other areas in ways that did not ensue great havoc. They did so in a way which did not include war, and by providing proper resources to the nation being conquered. This shows that the Incan empire established their power extremely differently than the Ottoman Empire, who would conquer the lands they took over through battle and bloodshed, like when they conquered Constantinople. The Incan Empire also differed from another empire in the Americas, the Aztecs, as they conquered land through military force.
Although there are continuities between the ways rulers would establish authority in the period 1450-1750, such as implementing ideas like the Divine Right of Kings and using war to establish power, because every nation had something unique to the way they established authority, the differences between the nations is far greater than the similarities.