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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 central authority and also absolute sovereignty, as vested particularly in a monarch or dictator. The essence of an absolutist mechanism is the the judgment power is not topic to regularized challenge or check by any kind of other agency, be it judicial, legislative, religious, economic, or electoral. King luigi XIV (1643–1715) of France furnished the most familiar assertion that absolutism when he said, “L’état, c’est moi” (“I to be the state”). Absolutism has existed in various forms in all components of the world, including in Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler and also in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin.

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



Among European claims of the High Renaissance, the republic of Venice detailed the only crucial exception come princely rule. Following...

The most generally studied type of absolutism is absolute monarchy, which source in early contemporary Europe and was based on the strong individual leaders of the brand-new nation-states the were developed at the breakup that the middle ages order. The strength of these states was closely connected with the power of your rulers; to strengthen both, the was crucial to curtail the restraints on centralized government that had been worked out by the church, feudal lords, and medieval customary law. By explain the pure authority the the state versus such previous restraints, the monarch together head the state claimed his very own absolute authority.

By the 16th century autarchic absolutism prevailed in lot of west Europe, and also it was widespread in the 17th and also 18th centuries. As well as France, who absolutism to be epitomized by Louis XIV, absolutism exist in a range of other European countries, consisting of Spain, Prussia, and Austria.


The most typical defense of monarchical absolutism, well-known as “the magnificent right that kings” theory, asserted that kings derived their authority from God. This view could justify also tyrannical rule as divinely ordained punishment, administered by rulers, for person sinfulness. In its origins, the divine-right theory may be traced to the middle ages conception the God’s award of temporal power to the politics ruler, while spiritual power was offered to the head of the roman Catholic Church. However, the new national monarchs asserted their authority in every matters and tended to come to be heads that church and also of state, together did King Henry VIII once he became head that the newly developed Church of England in the 16th century. Their strength was pure in a way that was difficult to attain for middle ages monarchs, that were faced by a church the was essentially a rival centre the authority.

More pragmatic disagreements than that of divine right to be also progressed in assistance of absolutism. Follow to some political theorists, finish obedience come a solitary will is important to preserve order and security. The most elaborate statement the this check out was made by the English thinker Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan (1651). A syndicate of power likewise has been justified on the communication of a presumed expertise of pure truth. Neither the sharing of strength nor limits on the exercise appear valid to those who think that they know—and understand absolutely—what is right. This dispute was advanced by Vladimir Ilich Lenin to safeguard the absolute authority of the Communist Party in Russia after 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 Stalin, had Benito Mussolini the Italy, Mao Zedong the China, and also Kim Il-Sung of north Korea, whose child (Kim Jong Il) and also grandson (Kim Jong-Un) continued the pattern of absolutist ascendancy in the country into the 21st century.

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