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Absolutism

The Age of Absolutism was a period during the 18the century when powerful kings ruled especially in Europe. The origin of the word comes from the absolute powers held by the monarchs at the time. These kings were so powerful that people treated them as God, and no one dared to oppose them (Henshall 25). The main difference between absolutism and other forms of kingship in Europe is that there were no checks to the power of monarchs. There were no other governing bodies besides the king. While in earlier models of kingship, there were other governing bodies that would provide checks and balances to powers of the kings, and the king had to consult such bodies on significant decisions. This is the main difference between absolutism and other forms of monarchy that came before.

England had an unusual form of monarchy that helped them avoid absolutism. The country had a parliament that helped to govern the country in addition to the monarchs, and this helped ensure a check on the powers of the kings. Most of the English monarchs were quite democratic and tolerant, for example, Queen Elizabeth the First. However, monarchs such as James I and others that came after him desired more power, and constantly struggled with parliament. James I and his fellow supporters on an absolute monarchy believed that their rule was divine; thus, parliament should not interfere with their powers. This struggle for power between parliament and the monarchy led to a civil war in England between 1642 and 1651. The war almost caused the monarchy to be stripped of all its powers. Today, England retains a constitutional monarchy that contributes to the governance of the country.

Works Cited

Henshall, Nicholas. The Myth of Absolutism: Change & Continuity in Early Modern European Monarchy. Routledge, 2014.

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