England and the Austrian Habsburg Empire from the late 16th century through the late 18th century

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England and the Austrian, Habsburg Empire were both influenced by many of the same pressures during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Each nation witnessed segments of their society demand religious freedom, and each struggled with the issue of Monarchial government and who possessed the right to the throne. These were the pressures faced by both nations and, though there were similarities between the issues, each nation took a very different approach to solving their problems. England would emerge from the 18th century capable of leading its citizens through a form of representative government; the Austrian, Habsburg Empire would find itself marginalized and absorbed by surrounding nations due to lack of unity and single purpose. England was successful at resolving its crises because, through compromise, it developed a stronger central government in the form of Constitutional Monarchy.

The Austrian, Habsburg Empire was, in the literal sense, disconnected; its holdings ranged in size from the large territory of Spain, to smaller territories, such as the Netherlands which were bordered by competing nations. An inherent problem of maintaining control of such a sprawling empire was the fact that there were many dissimilar communities with unique cultures and ways of thinking. This dynamic made it difficult for the House of Habsburg to exercise control and to unify its empire. Religion proved to be the most difficult matter to control, attempts to do so resulted in the Thirty Years’ War.

Early in the 17th century, Ferdinand I ascended to the throne of the Habsburg, Austrian Empire. Ferdinand was a devout Catholic and his subjects in his Bohemian territory believed that the right to practice Protestantism, granted to them by...

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... Constitutional Monarchy form of government was the solution not only the problems of the moment, but also the overarching issue guiding a nation and ensuring unity of effort.

The Austrian, Habsburg Empire and England faced issues common to many European nations of the time. Religion and leadership were at the forefront of these crises. What set the two nations apart and ensured England’s survival was that England, not necessarily consciously, made improvements to their government while they addressed their smaller individual problems. With each growing pain came compromise. Through compromise, the English developed into a Constitutional Monarchy; this representative type of government, guided by a Bill of Rights, established checks and balances that inherently support a strong, unified nation as opposed to the self interests of individual factions.

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