Absolutism


Absolutism was a prevailing form of government in Europe, between the 16th and 18th centuries. In this system, power was concentrated in a single person, at that time he was the King or Monarch. The King is the one who makes the laws and makes all the decisions. In Europe, once the religious wars and all the disaster that meant for the continent, is when this model of government arises, based on the unique authority.

During this time, in Europe there was a theory, that of the divine right of power. This theory affirmed that the representative of God on earth was the king and whoever was against him was also against God. One of the European kings who faithfully represented absolutism was the French monarch Louis XIV, with his famous phrase “I am the State”.

The king was surrounded by a group of nobles, who fulfilled the role of advisers or assistants to the monarch.

The principles underlying this governance model are presented below:

The divine right: the king acted in the name of God, doing his will.

The command is hereditary and perpetual, which means that when the king dies, power falls to his eldest son and he held it until the day of death.

Absolute power, the monarch did not have to seek advice, much less request permission from any body to make decisions.

Society by strata, during the time of the monarchies, society was divided into classes: the privileged class was made up of the monarchy and the clergy; while in the lower classes were the bourgeois, peasants and other wage earners.

Monopolized administration, all the taxes that were collected were part of the king’s fortune and he used this money to support the army and increase his wealth.

Many European countries maintained this model of government, some of them were: England, Portugal, Austria, France, Spain and Sweden. Being in France where the most complete absolutism was carried out.

It is important to point out that during absolutism there was an increase in inequality and the deterioration of the lower classes, since the privileges were for the representatives of the church and the nobles, whose rights were above the majority, without taking into consideration, the living conditions of others. Absolutism ended up dying out with the French Revolution.