Absolutism In England

World History: (17th-19th century) 
Name/School: Carol M. Conti, Blackstone-Millville Regional High School
Grade Level: 9
Topic: Absolutism in England
Lesson: England: From Absolutism to Limited/Constitutional Monarchy

Overview: Using objects from the Historic Deerfield collection to highlight England’s move from Absolutism to Limited/Constitutional Monarchy.

Time: one class period (45 minutes)


  • Student’s notes on English monarchs, 1603-1714
  • Overhead projector
  • Transparency of 18th century Delftware bowls, (Images courtesy of Historic Deerfield)
    • Punch Bowl containing Queen Anne’s Image – HD76.006
    • Punch Bowl containing inscription of George & Sarah Jenings – HD57.109 


  • Concepts (Big idea/central theme): Using objects from the Historic Deerfield collection to highlight England’s move from Absolutism to limited/constitutional monarchy.
  • Content (What students should know): Identify how Delftware bowls created in England reflect both a move to limited/constitutional monarchy and a growing sense of individualism.
  • Skills (What students should be able to do): Develop skills necessary for object study and recognize historical significance of objects.


  • In the previous class, students will have analyzed the factors that led England to move from Absolutism in the 17th-century to a limited monarchy by the18th-century by examining how factors either strengthened or weakened the power of the monarch. In addition, students will have experienced a prior lesson in which they have analyzed objects as a part of historical understanding.
  • Opening activity (homework review): list three facts about Delftware; list two places in which Delftware was made, list one reason why Delftware was popular in the colonies. Use this activity as a means to review the homework assignment, which provided students with background about the Delftware industry.
  • Divide the class in half. Group A will be given a picture of the Delftware bowl containing Queen Anne’s image. Group B will be given a picture of the Delftware bowl containing the names of a British couple who were to be married. Both groups should answer the guiding questions.
    • A.     What is this object?
    • B.     What would this object have been used for?
    • C.     What image(s) is contained within the object?
    • D.     Both of these objects were created in the 18th century in Britain. Approximately when do you think this object was created?
  • Pair up students; one from group A and one from group B. Students should share their images and their answers to the guiding questions. Working with their partner, students should use that information as well as their prior knowledge to determine the following:  How can these objects be used to support the idea that England moved from Absolutism to limited/constitutional monarchy? How do these objects reflect a growing sense of individualism in England?


  • This lesson is part of a larger unit on Absolutism. For the unit evaluation project, students, working with a partner or individually, create a guide to absolute rule (based on the popular “Idiots/Dummies Guides” in which they demonstrate the steps one needs to obtain and hold absolute rule, as well as the steps one needs to avoid. As the final project must include text and images, this concept should be incorporated in the guide.
  • There would also be a quiz following the completion of this segment of the unit. This quiz would include an evaluate question relating to this lesson.

Extension Possibilities/Interdisciplinary Connections:

  • Students could create their own “Delftware” that reflects their sense of individualism or an idea important to them.

Tips and Reflections from Author

  • I hope to give each student a copy of the image; however, given budget restraints I may have to put the image of an overhead.

History/Social Science Curriculum Frameworks Learning Standards:

WHII.2 – Explain why England was the main exception to the growth of absolutism in royal power in Europe.