In the wake of the Reformation, two countries experienced a century of great change, and whether growth or decline, this change was drastic. After Elizabeth I died at the turn of the century, James I took the throne of England and took absolutism with him. He and the next five successors would oversee the growth of England from an erratic, absolutist monarchy to a working, stable Constitutional monarchy. France was not fortunate enough to experience such growth. In contrast, it experienced great decline because the country did not evolve and continued with absolutism even a century after England had proven that type of governing was not effective.
There are several aspects of each country that are interesting to compare. The foremost of these aspects being the political, economic, religious and social situations. Despite numerous similarities in some of these categories, the extreme differences, in the end, caused them to take different courses in their evolution toward modern government.
The politics of England during the 17th century follow two absolute monarchs, a dictator, two more monarchs, and then the first constitutional monarch ever.
When James I became the first Stuart king of England in the dawn of the 17th century, he was completely unfamiliar with the English Parliament. He believed in the Divine Right of Kings, or the belief that kings had a divine right to their authority and were responsible only to him. He did not feel responsible to Parliament or his people, or that he had to share his power with anyone. In this way he introduced absolutism to England.
His son Charles I became England's second absolute monarch in 1625. He was similarly foolish in terms of relations with Parliament; however, because of his many foolish wars he needed the money that Parliament guaranteed him. There was...