The history of Absolutism began during the seventeen century during the transition from Feudalism to Capitalism in England and was known as “The Divine Right of Kings” England was experiencing a complete overthrow of their monarchy and its replacement was first by a Republic and then by a new and weakened monarchy. For England, at the end of the seventeen century they would see the erosion of the monarch’s powers in the “Glorious Revolution”. Absolutism was a form of government where the ruling monarchs were responsible for God and sovereignty was embodied in the King only. Despite the attempts by the Kings in England their idea of Absolutism didn’t hit its full power like it did when King Louis XIV of France took the throne. I believe I share the same opinion of the majority of people throughout this country and even worldwide that there are more cons and weaknesses of Absolutism than there are pros and strengths.
I will start out with the cons and weaknesses. In all reality the notion that one man, a single “leader” could have all this power invested into him with a single view on the entire country’s personal choices, religious beliefs, lifestyle choices, culture and moral values is beyond insane and a form of slavery if you ask me. His views are not shared with the entire country and for a single person to be in control of them all is disturbing beyond belief. These monarchs were recognized as France’s supreme legislators, executors, judicators and ruler of the entire country. In other words, the judge, lawyers and jury! I would say that is a major “con” right there! Absolutism doesn’t take into account and even refuted any historical developments during the scientific revolution during the Enlightenment era. It also debunks science theories, new ideas on creation, morals theories, personal family values, individual lifestyles and evolutionary nature of humanity in general.
It also lacks cultural differences and many of the monarchs seemed intolerant to any cultural diversity. Another weakness is that Absolutism basically ignores the circumstances in which ethical judgments are made and in today’s world in the 20th and 21st centuries those are the very freedoms and liberties we have as Americans. It’s a nightmare looking back in history and learning about these wealthy, selfish and greedy unruly men being the kings and rulers of an entire country. Really one “mind” and “theory” for all? Thank goodness for the Enlightenment era when the intelligent, educated and morally sound men rose to the occasion to change the world in which they lived in from the dark ages into the “light” known as the Enlightenment period! The last “con” of Absolutism that is probably the most dangerous to their society was the fact that there was no Democratic legitimacy because the leader was not elected by the people he inherited the position by either a family passing away or given to them by a retiring king. So any liability and accountability is lacking when it comes to a bad ruling by an inefficient tyrant of a ruler.
Some examples include religion beliefs and castration to the non-believers and followers, a rush to judgment for a crime the accused might not have committed with their “eye for an eye” outlook of cruel punishments because remember there was no trials, jurors and their “government” lacked that liberty to defend yourself and speak your mind in that era. It was a great moment in history when Absolutism hit its shelf life with the age of the Enlightenment on the rise with a more modernized way of thinking. The pros and strengths were hard to gather but taking my biased hat off for a moment I can open my mind to other people’s opinions and different views on Absolutism….I guess. Absolutism can provide a fixed ethical code which gives clear moral judgments in situations where there is a need for ethical guidance.
Their ideas are that morality isn’t based on individual or group preferences but rather on absolute and universal values. Some people feel it’s better to follow then to lead and it allows different societies to share common values. It could bring stability and a more civil society when everyone follows the same ruler, whether they agree with it or not, the ruler sets clear and simple rules which would any avoid conflicts, disagreements and any personal biases because options and consequences are not taken into account.
This would be somewhat beneficial when it comes to decisions on war because decisions are reached and implemented quickly, as there is a no debate and bureaucracy involved. There is a sense of equality within the government because the same rules apply to everyone in every situation. In conclusion, it is common sense that having an Absolute monarchy government over a Democracy is absolutely insane. We have come a long way from the dark ages into the era of the Enlightenment, the Scientific and American revolutions, along with the end result of a strong U.S. Constitution and Bills of Rights that is now the foundation to our country’s civil liberties and freedoms we pride ourselves on and are very thankful to have.
Courtney from Study Moose
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