By the late 16th century, many influential political thinkers as well as princes and their advisors became convinced that absolutism held the only hope for the future. Pressures toward absolutism came from three needs experienced by heads of state and their advisors: 1 to bring and end to religious discord; 2 to surmount the problems created by changes in the European economy; 3 to enable their military forces to compete successfully in warfare transformed by gunpowder weapons. Without soldiers and sailors trained and equipped to employ these weapons effectively, they could neither defend their territory nor protect their people or their interests.
The conflicting religious ideologies of the 16th century nearly destroyed France and sparked murderous conflict in the Netherlands and Germany. Many feared that Europe was becoming ungovernable. The massacres of Catholic Henry III of France 1589, Protestant William the Silent of the Dutch Republic 1584, and Protestant turned Catholic Henry IV of France 1610 after 19 failed attempts, as well as countless massacres and wars provoked by religious differences, impelled a new approach to governing. One of the new ways of governing was called POLITIQUE: the acceptance of religious diversity so long as the peace of the community remained unbroken. Jean Bodin's work 6 Books of the Commonweal 1576 originated a theory of modern sovereignty when he argued that "the first and chief mark of a sovereign prince" - the power upon which other people depend - was that he must be able to make law without consulting anyone else. His legislative authority must be subject to no one else on earth - not to popes, emperors, customs, courts or assemblies. He is not even limited by laws that he himself made. Bodin's theory emphasized that in France, for example, someone had to weird enough power to maintain public order, or the nation would continue to tear itself apart in religious civil wars until there were no pieces left that were big enough to tear apart.