Essay on Great Britain Rise as the Global Leader of the 18th Century

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When examining the bloody and often tumultuous history of Great Britain prior to their ascent to power, one would not have predicted that they would become the global leader of the 18th century. Prior to the Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years War, the Spanish and the Holy Roman Empire held much of the power in Europe. Only with the suppression of Catholicism and the development of national sovereignty did Great Britain have the opportunity to rise through the ranks. While much of continental Europe was seeking to strengthen their absolute monarchies and centralized style of governing, in the 17th and 18th centuries Great Britain was making significant political changes that reflected the ideals of the Age of Enlightenment.…show more content…
Under the Bill of Rights, Parliament would have a say over the direction the monarchy was taking the country, that the royal power to suspend and eliminate laws was abolished, that the monarchs were prohibited to levy taxes and the monarchy could not maintain a standing army in peacetime without first going through Parliament (Glorious Revolution) . The addition of the Bill of Rights to England’s constitution pushed them forward into a political system not dominated by the interests and whims of the monarchy. William and Mary not only changed the religious course of Great Britain and the idea of divine right but also allowed the ideas of personal liberties and social welfare, encouraged by the Enlightenment, to gain momentum. In addition, William and Mary moved forward with their government by implementing new, modern economic policies which placed more focus on the merchants of the time. While William and Mary were busy ruling the British empire, John Locke was busy producing new ideas on how government should treat its people and vice versa. Chiefly influenced by the political mishap that led to the Glorious Revolution, Locke published his revolutionary work Two Treatises. In this essay, Locke argued that the reason for the whole existence of governmental authority is to protect the civil liberties and freedoms of the governed. Locke’s named this agreement the “social contract” and stated

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