According to the University of Houston, during the Renaissance (c.1485 - c.1688), most of Europe lived under monarchy, which is rule by a king or queen. This stands in contrast to Florence, Italy, which was a republic where democracy was supported and wealthy families ruled.
Monarchs such as Ferdinand and Isabella, who ruled Spain in the early Renaissance, were absolute monarchs, meaning they ruled with almost no constraints, while Philip II later faced restraints from opposing houses and local assemblies during his rule. In England, Elizabeth I ruled along with a Parliament, and though Parliament did have some voting rights, Elizabeth was for practical purposes an absolute monarch. Germany, still under the Holy Roman Empire, had a vastly complicated system with the Emperor at the top, seven Electors, various princes and the leaders of 80 Imperial Free Cities.