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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 practice the unlimited centralized authority and also absolute sovereignty, as vested particularly in a monarch or dictator. The significance of one absolutist device is the the ruling power is not topic to regularized difficulty or check by any kind of other agency, be it judicial, legislative, religious, economic, or electoral. King luigi XIV (1643–1715) the France furnished the most familiar assertion of absolutism when he said, “L’état, c’est moi” (“I to be 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 short treatment of absolutism follows. For complete treatment, see European history and Culture: Absolutism.



Among European states of the High Renaissance, the republic the Venice detailed the only vital exception to princely rule. Following...

The most generally studied form of pure is pure monarchy, which source in early modern Europe and was based upon the solid individual leaders of the new nation-states the were developed at the breakup the the medieval order. The strength of these claims was closely associated with the power of their rulers; to strengthen both, it was essential to curtail the restraints on central government that had actually been worked out by the church, feudal lords, and also medieval customary law. By claiming the pure authority of the state against such previous restraints, the monarch together head that state claimed his very own absolute authority.

By the 16th century autarchic absolutism dominated in lot of western Europe, and also it was extensive in the 17th and also 18th centuries. Besides France, whose absolutism was epitomized by Louis XIV, absolutism existed in a variety of various other European countries, consisting of Spain, Prussia, and Austria.


The most typical defense of autarchic absolutism, well-known as “the magnificent right that kings” theory, asserted the kings acquired their authority from God. This view could justify even tyrannical ascendancy as divinely ordained punishment, administered by rulers, for human being sinfulness. In that origins, the divine-right theory might be traced come the middle ages conception the God’s award of temporal strength to the politics ruler, while spiritual power was offered to the head the the roman inn Catholic Church. However, the new national kings asserted your authority in every matters and also tended to become heads the church and of state, together did King Henry VIII once he came to be head that the newly created Church the England in the 16th century. Their power was pure in a way that was difficult to achieve for medieval monarchs, that were confronted by a church that was essentially a competitor centre the authority.

More pragmatic disagreements than the of magnificent right were also progressed in support of absolutism. Follow to part political theorists, finish obedience come a solitary will is necessary to keep order and security. The most intricate statement that this see was made by the English thinker Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan (1651). A monopoly of power likewise has been justified top top the basis of a presumed expertise of pure truth. No the share of strength nor limits on its exercise show up valid come those who think that castle know—and recognize absolutely—what is right. This debate was progressed by Vladimir Ilich Lenin to safeguard the absolute authority of the Communist Party in Russia ~ the Bolshevik change in 1917.


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Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin, 1918.
Tass/Sovfoto

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

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The editors of Encyclopaedia chathamtownfc.netThis write-up was most recently revised and also updated by Brian Duignan.