The View of Absolute Monarchies

The extent to which rulers and their subjects viewed the role of an absolute monarch was different. The time of this political issue on absolute monarchies was around the 1600s. There were people for the absolute monarchies, people with their own monarchies and people against monarchies. Each one had there own idea for what the role of the monarchy was the people against it thought it was oppressive the people for it thought it was because people couldn’t rule on their own and the rulers viewed it as a chance to gain more power.

There were people in this time that did not like the idea of an absolute monarchy because they were being oppressed. An example of this would be The Twelve Articles a declaration of German peasants in 1524 (Doc 3). The article said that the peasants were enslaved basically and that it was wrong. There is no direct tie to an absolute monarchy anywhere in the article given but one may infer that the slavery of peasants in Germany can be tied to an absolute monarchy.

Another person against the idea of absolute monarchy is Arthur Young an English agricultural scientist (Doc 5). While traveling France for three years he saw their monarchy was oppressive because of the heavy taxes. The poor must pay while a lot while the rich pay no taxes what so ever. This mans bias will obviously be against because he is from England where they have a constitutional monarchy and this person is significant because he sees the difference between constitutional and absolute monarchy first hand.

Adam Olearius a German diplomat traveling to Moscow (Doc 6) says that their absolute monarchy is oppressive and that the common person lives as a slave under a “harsh yolk”. He also goes onto say “…the people have been much oppressed by them… and have not been protected by the higher authorities. ” This source is pretty reliable because the man was a diplomat from Germany and even though his POV should have been for this monarchy he is surprisingly against it.

These are the reasons they did not like the monarchy, thought it was oppressive and wanted it gone. Then there was another group of people who were for the absolute monarchy. These people were for the absolute monarchy because they thought people could not rule on their own therefore they need an absolute monarchy and ruler. The book Leviathan written by Thomas Hobbes (Doc 2) was a book mainly known for how a big philosopher back in the 1600s talked about the idea of an absolute monarchy and how great it was.

He wrote that the reason it was a good idea was because people were greedy, always fought over power and were violent so therefore they could not rule and were not fit to therefore he says they need an absolute monarch to control them. This is a very reliable source because of its popularity and it being a published book and not just some account. A French bishop Jacques Bossuet (Doc 7) believed that the royal authority was sacred absolute and paternal and is submitted to reason.

He also went on to write about how rulers also had Divine Right from god. He does say that people need to listen to the ruler so that is why he is in this category. All in all though this document isn’t that important and doesn’t give that good of an example because it only gives one indication about him being for an absolute monarchy but here instead of him wanting an absolute monarchy because humans cant rule on their own he wants it because he a bishop believes in divine right and therefore there should be an absolute monarchy.

The last group of people who had ideas were the rulers of these monarchies, which will obviously have a bias obviously towards a pro absolute monarchy type of government. They like the idea because they get more power than if they had a constitutional monarchy. King James the 6th of Scotland (Doc 4) says that the parliament is ruled by the king and doesn’t do anything at all and shouldn’t. This is an argument showing that he doesn’t want parliament to have power therefore giving him more power under the monarchy.

He also talks a little bit about how people need him to make laws, which is also an argument for this type of monarchy. This document is reliable because the information comes from a book written by James himself. His POV is of a king and he just wants more power. Catherine the Great empress of Russia (Doc 8) wrote an instruction to the Legislative Commission of 1767. The legislative commission is a group of representatives who made new laws. The laws that Catherine wanted passed were rule that the sovereign was absolute and the Extent of Dominion requires an absolute power to be vested in that person who rules it.

This shows that she wanted an absolute monarchy in Russia and that she also talks about how the absolute monarchy is not to take away peoples natural liberties but to correct their actions to obtain the supreme good. She says a man may do whatever he wants but she is still in favor of an absolute monarchy very much so but instead for power she wants it because humans cannot rule themselves and because she wants power. The last example of this would be Louis 14th king of France (Doc 9) writing a letter to his heir.

He wrote in the letter that kings are absolute rulers and should therefore have an absolute monarchy as well. He also wrote that the King has full disposal or use over both things secular and ecclesiastical or religious. Louis also is in favor of this monarchy because of the power that comes with it. This is written to his heir so he is trying to keep the absolute monarchy alive. It is a reliable source and it is shown through the POV of an absolute monarch who will obviously like the idea of an absolute monarchy.

The extent of to which rulers and their subjects viewed the role of an absolute monarchy was different and ranged from the people against it thinking it was oppressive to people think it was for a greater good to the rulers thinking the monarchy gave them more power. There were also other views like Divine Right but they aren’t big compared to the others. This view ended the trend of an absolute monarchy and started the trend of a constitutional monarchy because of uprisings and revolts this really. This trend revolutionizes governments and set the basis for our governments today.