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Dbq on Absolutism Essay

In a rule using suppression, backed up by the claim to divine authority, an absolute monarchy embodies the omnipotent government reign. Such power was given solely to the head of the state without any constituted restraints. During the Reformation up to the seventeenth century, Europe’s social system started to have conflict as to whether absolute power should be appointed to the king. The king’s subjects, mostly nobles, supported their kings right to absolute power because they got the benefit of political leadership roles and were also given royal protection. The common-folk and the servants were against it because absolutism abused the power in ruling over the peasants as the king, which tended to be restricting. Certain factors of absolutism with the ideals of the nobility would bring strength to the economy that was based on domestic and foreign trade, land holdings, a centralized government, and an increase in military fortitude.

The upper class invested their fortunes into becoming political leaders and to serve by the king. Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the French Minister of Finance, advised King Louis XIV to pursue the conditions of domestic and foreign trade. With a surplus of money came a surplus of labor, his people were able to earn a living and travel across the waters for profit. Money is the foundation of any world order; if the nation has a solid foundation, then the benefit of the nobles are higher, exposing the reason of the nobles true motives to supporting the king. (Document1) In regards to property the lands were all held in the hands of the kings from the secular and the ecclesiastical classes. It’s a trade between the nobles and monarchs to do as they please with their land, like being a mandate for example. (Document 9) The king is to rule “under the divine law” and his subordinates must follow obediently.

These servants would not question any authority given by the king for their belief of divinity. (Document 7) The Civil Servants ranged from every social class. They were fully responsible for carrying out their duties to the king. (Document 11) The monarchs were held to being mandates that were to be just and defensive of the king’s people. To reassure the people laws were created. (Document 4) The Sovereign is absolute; the freedom is driven by a central power to rearrange issues rather than deprive natural rights. (Document 8) Inherently, absolutism seems to be supported by mostly bishops and rulers. On the flip side, no human asks to be held back from his or her rightful freedom. Before there was a time where government did not matter because we had the “state of nature”.

Thomas Hobbes wrote Leviathan to protest the monarchy, yet Hobbes was a supporter of central power, which leads to absolutism. His view was that if absolutism weren’t around, man’s common trait of corruption would hold supreme power. He believed that strong assertive figures could grasp liberty by ruling over the hearts of men and defending their nations. (Document 2) Thomas Hobbes’s philosophy was not popularly supported because many rulers take advantage of such power, such as the German peasants of Swabia were said to be another mans property. According to the scripture and the “divine rule” it is completely unethical to identify a man as anything other than a man, a slave for example.

Yet tolerating religion was also deemed unacceptable, so the peasants revolted. Hobbes philosophy was always contradicted because the people of an absolute monarch were always in rebellion. (Document 3) The levy of taxes continued to strive as they would during any other oppression. The nobles and clergies were represented in “stereotypes” for standing by the king. The highest of the social ranking were exempt from such taxes. Only the laboring citizens were imposed upon with taxes. (Document 5)

In a perfect world, an absolute monarch that is entrusted with “divine power” would balance their role in ruling. In reality, the benefits of the ruler along with those of the nobility were too good when it came to the power. The higher-class ranks would come to an agreement of centralizing powers so a stronger nation is made. If the nation is strong enough the nobles only benefit more, so as a result the tension is inevitable between the upper and lower class. On the peasant’s side, they’re paid low and can barely make a living.

To build onto the plight of the poor they were given heavy taxes to pay. Their natural rights were clearly revoked. From a certain view, absolutism is viewed as a sign of strength for a full force nation and its economy, military, and political engagements. When it gets down to the point, if the lower-class are being belittled, the only other balancing factor is tyranny. Thus the proper role of an absolute monarch would be to achieve a sense of balance in protecting the natural rights of his men, no matter the class, and to continue to hold ultimate power over his land.


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