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Key People:Frederick IIArmand-Jean du Plessis, cardinal et duc de RichelieuNicholas ILouis XIVCharles XII...(Show more)Related Topics:political systemideologydictatorshipenlightened despotismneoabsolutism...(Show more)

absolutism, the politics doctrine and also practice that unlimited central authority and absolute sovereignty, as vested particularly in a monarch or dictator. The significance of one absolutist system is the the ruling power is not topic to regularized an obstacle or examine by any other agency, be it judicial, legislative, religious, economic, or electoral. King louis XIV (1643–1715) of France furnished the most acquainted assertion the absolutism once he said, “L’état, c’est moi” (“I am the state”). Absolutism has actually existed in various forms in all parts of the world, consisting of in Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler and also in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin.

A quick treatment of absolutism follows. For full treatment, see European history and Culture: Absolutism.



Among European states of the High Renaissance, the republic that Venice noted the only necessary exception to princely rule. Following...

The most generally studied form of pure is absolute monarchy, which originated in early modern Europe and also was based upon the solid individual leaders of the new nation-states the were produced at the breakup of the medieval order. The power of these claims was closely linked with the power of their rulers; to combine both, the was necessary to curtail the restraints on central government that had actually been exercised by the church, feudal lords, and medieval customary law. By explain the pure authority that the state versus such former restraints, the monarch together head that state asserted his very own absolute authority.

By the 16th century monarchical absolutism prevailed in lot of western Europe, and also it was extensive in the 17th and 18th centuries. As well as France, who absolutism was epitomized through Louis XIV, absolutism exist in a selection of various other European countries, consisting of Spain, Prussia, and also Austria.


The most typical defense of autarchic absolutism, recognized as “the divine right of kings” theory, asserted the kings derived their government from God. This view might justify even tyrannical ascendancy as divinely ordained punishment, administered by rulers, for human being sinfulness. In the origins, the divine-right theory might be traced come the medieval conception that God’s award of temporal strength to the political ruler, while spiritual power was offered to the head that the roman inn Catholic Church. However, the new national queens asserted their authority in all matters and also tended to end up being heads that church as well as of state, together did King Henry VIII when he became head the the newly developed Church that England in the 16th century. Their strength was absolute in a method that was impossible to achieve for middle ages monarchs, who were challenged by a church that was essentially a rival centre of authority.

More pragmatic arguments than the of divine right were also progressed in support of absolutism. Follow to part political theorists, complete obedience come a single will is crucial to maintain order and also security. The most intricate statement of this check out was do by the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan (1651). A monopoly of power also has to be justified on the basis of a presumed knowledge of pure truth. Neither the sharing of strength nor borders on its exercise show up valid come those who think that they know—and understand absolutely—what is right. This discussion was advanced by Vladimir Ilich Lenin to safeguard the absolute authority that the Communist Party in Russia ~ the Bolshevik transformation in 1917.


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Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin, 1918.
Tass/Sovfoto

Absolutist rulers who emerged later in the 20th century, in enhancement to Hitler and also Stalin, included Benito Mussolini of Italy, Mao Zedong the China, and Kim Il-Sung of phibìc Korea, whose child (Kim Jong Il) and grandson (Kim Jong-Un) continued the pattern of absolutist rule in the nation into the 21st century.

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