The Government During the Age of Absolutism and the Enlightenment

722 Words3 Pages
During the Age of Absolutism, views of how government should have been run were drastically different that the views of Enlightenment thinkers. The fundamental difference between these two views of government – absolutism and Enlightenment – was that, in an absolute view of government, it stated that it should be run by a monarch – such as a king or a queen – and that he or she should have complete and unquestionable authority over everything, whereas the Enlightenment resulted in the development of new ideas, many of which criticized absolute monarchies, such as the idea that the fundamental function of government was to protect it's people's rights. The Enlightenment thinkers all had different ideas, and all to varying degrees, but the…show more content…
This was the exact opposite of the absolutist view of government, which said that the king was the ultimate power and that his people had to serve him. Here, Lock was saying that the people were the ultimate power and that the government had to serve them. Locke then goes on to reject absolutism and says that the best form of government would be one with limited power that was accepted by all its citizens. In other words, it would be republicanism. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, possibly the most controversial thinker, also believed that people were naturally innocent at birth. He thought that people became corrupted once they were exposed to society, and they needed to subordinate to the community. However, Rousseau also felt that the control of government and society should also be kept minimal. Like Locke, Rousseau also thought people shouldn't give their rights to a king, but unlike him, Rousseau thought that they should instead give them to the community. However, this still differs from the absolutist view, which stated that the ruler had the ultimate power and that people had no rights and had to succumb to him. Baron de Montesquieu, a early French philosophe, rejected absolutism in favor of Britain's limited monarchy. He admired the British in that they protected themselves from tyranny by dividing themselves into three branches. He felt that separation of powers and checks and
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