Absolutism As Primary Form Of Government Absolutism essay example
Absolutist rulers had several main goals for successive reign over the people. The first being to eliminate or weaken the national representative assemblies. Next rulers looked to gain support from small local and provincial assemblies. The nobility was always dependant on the king, meaning the king chose his nobility freely, without influence from any outside source.
Lastly, nobility was in control and responsible for collecting taxes and other benefits for the king. "Despite it's pretensions to represent a political theory, absolutism was fundamentally a mechanism designed to assist ambitious monarchs in their determination to increase their own power through conquest and display" (Text 598). Louis the fourteenth was considered the quintessential absolutist because he truly assumed and embodied absolute control over France. He had very specific rules for politeness that were strictly applied to his citizens. He also was very arrogant, he loved to hear what people were saying especially when it was about him. Louis was very specific in what he expected from his nobility and carefully set up his government so there was less room for error and even less for dissent.
According to Jacques-Benign e Bousset, a preacher and tutor to Louis the fourteenth's son, there were four characteristics to royal authority. The first of being, royal authority is sacred. Second, royal authority is paternal. Third, it is absolute. Fourth, All power comes from God. (Text 596) To summarize Bousset he believes that, like God, a king is a father figure.
To be idolized, respected and loved. So if God is the father of earth then his sons are the fathers of people, or kings. This makes a king both divine and un disputable, as a descendant of God. "Royal authority is absolute...
The prince need account to no one for what he ordains... without this absolute authority, he can do no good nor suppress evil... ". (Text 596). Sir Robert Filmer supported Bousset in the same sense. He believed that from the very first government, which he stated was Gods rule over the earth, that the people had no power or prosperity over anything. God was King, never did the people have power over God (Text 597).
The two of them also portrayed God and a King as a Father figure to be followed without question. Filmer states in the text, "I cannot find one place or text in the bible where any power... is given to a people either to govern themselves, or to chose themselves governors, or to alter the manner of government at their pleasure" (Text 597). Filmer, Bousset and others would fall under the pressure of the "glorious revolution", an anti-absolutist wave in response their writings. Around 1690 John Locke published Two Treatises on Government, the contents of it seriously refuted the ideas of men like Bousset and Filmer. Locke Firmly believed, "The only law was the law of nature (which Locke equated with the law of reason), by which individuals enforced for themselves their natural rights to life, liberty, and property" (Text 610). Furthermore he says that government was created to maintain unity, and its sole power was the law of nature (reason).
And if, at anytime a government become tyrannical in any way, the people have the right to overthrow the government and enact a new one. "Locke condemned absolutism in every form" (Text 611). He believed no government or person could ever take away or control the natural rights of an individual. From what I have read and deducted for the previous topics it is easy to believe that one of the absolutist ruled countries revolted.
I'm more surprised that more countries ruled the same never revolted. King Louis had a strangle like hold on the people of his country and his war debts were beyond surmountable. The entire economy suffered in king Louis attempts for supremacy. Even with great mind of Jean Baptiste Colbert, Louis could not find enough money from his people to fund his war paths. All these internal problems in France collided, head-on with the ideas of the "glorious revolution" fueled by men like John Locke.
Locke and others were instrumental in the ideas and beliefs behind the French and American revolution. Absolutist rule was prevalent in England for as long as the common folk could stand it. It seems as if the discontent and need for change was felt and sometimes expressed by the lower classes but with such tyrannical rulers these people were punished, severely. As soon as the pressure of change and new ideas is felt from the intellectuals, the respected, the masses then respond often violently.
As was the case in the French Revolution..