Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Prime Minister
(1,175 words)

1. To the 17th century

A Prime Minister, or First Minister, in the early modern period was a leading minister who exercised a certain supervisory authority over a ruler’s other ministers. Once the office was fully developed, which – except in Britain – happened only in the 19th century, the incumbent was at the head of a cabinet collectively responsible for government business; in a monarchy, he was in a position to control other ministers’ access to the sovereign.

Even in the late Middle Ages and…

Cite this page
Asch, Ronald G., “Prime Minister”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 02 June 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_025840>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20210107

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