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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 political doctrine and practice of unlimited centralized authority and absolute sovereignty, together vested specifically in a monarch or dictator. The significance of an absolutist device is that 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 louis XIV (1643–1715) of France furnished the most acquainted assertion of absolutism once he said, “L’état, c’est moi” (“I to be the state”). Absolutism has actually existed in various forms in all components of the world, consisting of in Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler and in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin.

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



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

The most generally studied form of pure is pure monarchy, which source in early modern-day Europe and also was based upon the solid individual leader of the new nation-states the were produced at the breakup of the medieval order. The strength of these states was closely connected with the strength of your rulers; to strengthen both, it was necessary to curtail the restraints on centralized government that had been worked out by the church, feudal lords, and medieval customary law. By declare the absolute authority that the state against such former restraints, the monarch as head the state declared his very own absolute authority.

By the 16th century monarchical absolutism dominated in much of west Europe, and also it was prevalent in the 17th and 18th centuries. As well as France, whose absolutism to be epitomized through Louis XIV, absolutism existed in a selection of other European countries, consisting of Spain, Prussia, and Austria.


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

More pragmatic arguments than that of magnificent right to be also advanced in assistance of absolutism. According to part political theorists, complete obedience to a single will is important to preserve order and security. The most elaborate statement the this check out was make by the English thinker Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan (1651). A syndicate of power also has been justified top top the communication of a presumed expertise of pure truth. No the sharing of power nor boundaries on its exercise show up valid to those who think that lock know—and recognize absolutely—what is right. This discussion was progressed by Vladimir Ilich Lenin to protect the absolute authority that the Communist Party in Russia after ~ the Bolshevik change in 1917.


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Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin, 1918.
Tass/Sovfoto

Absolutist rulers who arised later in the 20th century, in addition to Hitler and also Stalin, included Benito Mussolini the 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 dominance in the country into the 21st century.

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The editor of Encyclopaedia tasiilaq.netThis short article was most recently revised and also updated through Brian Duignan, senior Editor.