History of Europe

How did monarchs in Europe justify their right to rule?

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January 04, 2009 3:07AM

European monarchs used the Divine Right of Kings to justify every action taken during his or her reign. This came as a result of the Reformation and various other religious struggles within and against the Catholic church. With the Church's power collapsing, Kings such as Henry VIII became keeper of the faith and sought to unite the church. The monarchs began to enforce the idea that they were told directly by God that they were subject to God only. Works such as Hobbe's Leviathan claimed that the sovereign's power came from God and therefore it was sacrilegous to do anything against that power. People accepted that due to their ignorance with the exception of the nobles who saw that the King's unifying power was undermining their own feudal roles.