Changes in Western Political Philosophy Essay

Changes in Western Political Philosophy Essay

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The Age of Absolutism refers to the European history that comprises from the sixteenth century to the end of the eighteenth century. The key element of Absolutism is having the national government solely in the hands of one person, the monarch. At the beginning, Absolutism appeared as a solution to the violent disorders and crises Europe was facing during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Furthermore, those who supported Absolutism justified the kingship by arguing that the king ruled by the will of God; “God establishes king as his ministers, and reigns through them over the peoples” (document 26, page 135). Anyone who opposed the king constituted rebellion against God itself because “the Prince [was] the minister of God” (document 26, page 135). Therefore, “the person of the king [was] sacred, and that it [was] a sacrilege to attack him” (document 26, page 135). Moreover, those who practice Absolutism claimed that God’s purpose in instituting an absolute, centralized monarchy was to protect and guide society; God instituted the kings for the welfare of the people. For that reason, the kings could not do as they please, they should always act in the best interest of society; “the kings must respect their own power and use it only to the public good” (document 26, page 136). Absolutism, called for a total submission towards the king. “The title of king [was] the title of a father” (document 26, page 136); consequently, kings should be honored and respected; people “owed unlimited obedience to the prince” (document 26, page 137). Furthermore, Absolutists monarchies were characterized of a centralized government that controlled most judicial activity, a standing military under the direct control of the king, and a national ta...


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...e, many thinkers believed that human progress could be found through education; society would become perfect if people were free to use their reason. The School of Mars was created to train elite boys for service to the revolution; “they [would] come from the heart of the new generation…to dedicate their nightly toil and their blood to their country” (document 33, page 162). People were concerned with the idea of obtaining liberal, perfect institutions. For instance, Simon Bolivar desired to “see America fashioned into the greatest nation in the world, greatest not so much by virtue of her area and wealth as by her freedom and glory” (document 35, page 169). Concepts such as freedom from oppression, natural rights, and new ways of thinking about governmental structure came from the Enlightenment philosophies and laid the foundations for both modern Europe and America.

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