Histoire THE AGE OF REVOLUTIONS 1642-1791• • THE NOTIONS

The facts

Definitions of key notions & vocabulary

Political regimes
monarchy: a political regime in which the head of state is a hereditary monarch.
absolute monarchy: when the monarch holds all powers and makes all decisions, justified by the divine right of kings.
arbitrary power: when people in power make decisions without justifying them, so they are viewed as unfair by the people.
tyranny: when people in government abuse their power and oppress the people, don’t respect their rights.
limited/parliamentary/constitutional monarchy: when royal power is limited, controlled by the people represented in a parliament; the monarch is not above the law but must obey it.
republic: a political regime in which the head of state is elected by the people.
confederation: a loose association of states with a weak central government.
federation: a tight association of states with a strong central government.

Political powers
the three powers: the legislative power to pass laws and the budget, the executive power to implement law, the judicial power to apply law.
separation of powers: each power (legislative, executive and judicial) is held by a different player (person or institution) to prevent abuse of power.
balance of powers: the three powers are equally shared between different players to prevent abuse of power.
sovereignty of the people: the nation, the people is the basis of all legitimate power.
representation of the people: when the people take part in political decisions thanks to elected representatives.

Political crisis
revolution: popular uprising leading to drastic political and social change ; based on the right to rebel: if a government doesn’t respect people’s rights, they are justified in overthrowing it.
civil war: a war between different groups in one country to take control of the government or become independent.
colony: a territory controlled and governed from outside, not locally, by an imperial power. Its inhabitants are colonists.
state: a independent, free territory with its own government.

Religious tensions
Anglican, Anglicanism, Church of England: mild form of Protestantism, predominant in England where the monarch is the head of the Church of England.
Catholic, Catholicism: also called papist, Popery by Protestants, as the Pope is the head of the Catholic Church.
Puritan, Puritanism: more radical form of Protestantism.
tolerance: when all religions are officially accepted by the state
persecution, discrimination: when one religion dominates and the others are forbidden or less considered.

Economic tensions
fiscal policy : more revenuefor the government means the people pay more taxes.
trade monopoly: government commercial policy which allows a company to be the only one to trade goods with its colonies - which then can’t trade with better partners or other destinations).