Modern History Part III
A mechanistic view of the political situation, as it were later attempted by T. Hobbes, was suggested by the strong upswing in the natural sciences. The voyages of discovery confirmed the doctrine of the spherical shape of the earth. The heliocentric system was also underpinned astronomically by N. Copernicus in 1543 (“Copernican turn”). The unity of the world and science, as it has increasingly determined the modern age, has led to the establishment of the new heliocentric worldview.
Political, social and spiritual basic features
In terms of foreign policy, the history of modern times is the history of state systems in which social and intellectual development also took place. It was of fundamental importance that these systems were formed predominantly as orders of nation states and that some of them are still being formed today. The European states of modern times have mostly appeared as nation states or have given themselves predominantly a national interpretation. The roots of this were already in the late Middle Ages. B. achieved in England or France in the 14th century, in Spain in the 15th century, in Italy and Germany only in the national unification of the 19th century.
According to Ezinesports, the modern term nation is in part closely linked to the concept of sovereignty, which is central to the modern history of states. At the beginning of modern times it was in France, England and Spain, where already in the 14th and 15th Having developed a national kingdom and a national church in the 19th century, it was hardly disputed that the bearer of sovereignty – apart from certain restrictions that must be taken into account for England – was kingship. This is how the founder of the modern doctrine of sovereignty, J. Bodin, saw it. But while here the justification of the central ruling power also meant a bond with divine and natural law, T. Hobbes left continued and founded the doctrine of the absolute power of the sovereign, before which there could be no freedom of belief or conscience.
In addition to these theories, which were used to legitimize the rule of the princely and monarchical absolutism of the 16th – 18th centuries. The second line of development was the idea of the people’s state, which Machiavelli described in the »Discorsi…« (printed in 1531), written between 1513 and 1521. The theories of the monarchomachies shifted the primacy of the state function to create order away from the monarch and towards the (leading) estates. What these policy drafts had in common was the intention to overcome denominational civil wars (J. Althusius has recently been interpreted as the author of this bridging). Even if the concept outlined in this regard cannot be called democracy in the modern sense, this approach formed the beginning of a modern theory of legitimation, which was based on the theory of the state of J. Locke on the concept of popular sovereignty in J.-J. Rousseau and the modern doctrine of the separation of powers at Montesquieu.
These theories were partly interpretations of an actual state and social development of the modern era, which v. a. was characterized by a strong emancipatory moment. At first it was also about an emancipation of the bourgeoisie against the nobility. The bourgeoisie had achieved wealth and a certain power in the urban culture and in the rapidly growing monetary economy of modern times. Early capitalism supported by the bourgeoisie of the 15th and 16th centuries (Fugger, Welser, Medici; later risen up in the nobility), through its far-reaching trade and capital connections, was one of the founding elements of world trade and the world transport system of the modern era. This trading power has been sustained since the 16th century by a special performance and economic ethos, which represents a peculiarly secularized form of medieval asceticism and is characterized by an economical, calculating and restrained economic lifestyle. This baseline was established by the Reformation partly strengthened. This was particularly true of the Calvinist Netherlands and England, and later also of the USA. In England there was an important social-historical phenomenon: The leading strata of the bourgeoisie merged with the petty nobility because the title of nobility only ever passed to the eldest son. The later sons mostly had to turn to trade and often married daughters of commoners. The resulting social homogeneity of a middle class was of central importance for the emergence of modern parliamentary democracy and later also for the beginning of the industrial revolution. In East Central Europe, v. a. in Poland and Hungary, the nobility was less socially exclusive and in some regions comprised up to 20% of the population, which was of great importance for political practice there.