Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Charles V Research Paper

Charles V Research Paper

"One of the most significant political figures of the sixteenth century, Charles V was emperor of the Holy Roman Empire" as well as a great portion of Europe (255 Bruccoli). He was born into the Hapsburg family as the son of Philip I the Handsome, the Duke of Burgundy and ruler of the Netherlands, and Charles' mother was Joan the Mad. When Charles was six his father died and he inherited the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and the Franche-Comte. By the age of sixteen Charles was also the king of Castile, the Indies, Aragon, Navagon, Navarre, Sicily, Sardinia, and Naples, after the death of his grandfather and his mother was deemed mentally unsound to rule.

Charles V continued to gain more land when his parental grandfather died in 1519 and he inherited the House of Australia and was later elected Holy Roman Emperor. Charles' career was mostly basted around his struggles with Francis I and his religious controversies with Martin Luther. Throughout the 1500s and 1600s, absolutism was the most widespread political system in use in Europe and parts of Asia.

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Charles ruled like the other monarchs of Europe, with absolute and unshared power, as he claimed that he had the Divine Right of Kings, to keep his land under control. The idea of the Divine Right of Kings evolved in Europe during the Middle Ages. A person who claimed Divine Right of Kings was not to be questioned or disobeyed. This way of ruling became known as absolutism, since the monarch ruled with absolute power. Because Charles V was ruler over so much land, by claiming that he was chosen by god to rule, he was able to bring together his people with as little conflict as possible. The first example of Charles V claiming the Divine Right of Kings was when he began his political career in Spain.

Charles did not speak any Spanish when he claimed his inheritance of Spain and the Spaniards were not happy that an Australian was ruling them. Charles V told the people that he was chosen by God to be a king and that anyone who went against him would be killed. While Charles was in Germany, a group of Castilian cities began to oppose the government. Since Charles was an absolute ruler he could not stand the idea of people going against him. After one year the uprising was ended after the leaders of the Castilian cities were executed. Charles wanted to be the most powerful leader in the world and when he found out about the New World he took advantage of it.

Charles established a new Council of the Indies, which controlled Spain's New World colonial policy. This policy promised ordinances for the government of the Indies and good treatment and preservation of the Indians. Although this was unenforceable it made Charles well respected by his Spanish subjects, which was what he wanted. His Spanish subjects even joked that "Charles spoke French with diplomats, Italian with lovers, German with grooms, but Spanish with God" (255 Bruccoli).

With the people of Spain supporting him, there would be a much smaller chance of rebellion and Charles could claim absolute power. Even before Charles was born there was a rivalry between the Haburg and Valois dynasties. Charles inherited this rivalry as he fought for land in Italy. Charles illustrated his desire for absolutism when he competed against Francis I for power. When both men attempted to be elected for emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Charles V went as far as attempting to bribe the seven electors so that he could gain more power. The reason Charles was able to win the election was because his grandfather had been funding a family that lived in Augsburg, which consisted of one of the electors.

Charles was gaining so much power so quickly that other rulers began to fear him. France was the only force that was really was a threat to Charles' power. Since Charles had the Divine Right of Kings no one could question Charles, and when he attempted to encircle France and limit its power, the people of France realized the only way they could stop him was to make alliances with non-Christians Turks who also did not like Charles. Charles believed that God gave him the right to rule and Francis I could not stand in his way.

Charles showed a little of his hubris when he challenged Francis I to personal combat to determine control of Burgundy and Milan. Charles was a deeply religious man and was enraged when people went against the Roman Catholic faith. When Charles was seventeen a German monk named Martin Luther posted his "Ninety- Five Theses" at a Catholic Church in Wittenberg. Charles made the mistake of while he "was preoccupied with his bitterly fought election as emperor and with the Comuneros' revolt in Spain, he dismissed Luther as an insignificant heretic" (81 Saari).

Conflicts between Protestants and supporters of Charles were started because of Charles ignoring Luther. This was ended on September 25, 1555 with the Peace of Augsburg, which divided his lands into Catholic and Protestant. Charles still believed that he had the Divine Right of Kings and that this agreement was unacceptable and considered it a personal failure. Charles quit participating in politics immediately after the Peace of Augsburg. He moved on to monitoring political developments and perusing his religious devotions until his death. Charles believed his entire life that world peace could only be maintained through a strong emperor, and that he was chosen to do it.
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