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Absolutism DBQ

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In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries there were two main forms of government. The two main forms of government were democracy and absolutism. Both of these types of government were effective in there own ways. Absolutism was the most effective type of government during that time period. Absolutism is when the ruler has complete authority over the government and the lives of the people of their nation. Many rulers had a democracy government but absolutism was more effective because the rulers had all the power and it was hard to take advantage of them instead of a democracy where many rulers can get over thrown by the people of that country.

Two forms of government that were used during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were democracy and absolutism. Both of these forms of governments were effective in there own ways, absolutism was more effective. Machiavelli wrote “The Prince” which was a simply a textbook on monarchy. He said the best way to rule was to be feared. Machiavelli wrote in his book that “Men have less hesitation in offending a man who is loved than one who is feared, for love is held by a bond of obligation which, as men are wicked, is broken whenever personal advantage suggests it” (Document 1). King James I also believed that absolutism was the way to rule. He thought that kings were like gods therefore he believed in divine right. Divine Right is the authority to rule directly from God.

“The state of monarchy is the supremest thing upon earth; for kings are not only God’s lieutenants upon earth, and sit upon God’s throne, but even by God himself they are called gods” (Document 2). Another person that ruled in absolutism was Thomas Hobbes. He felt that people were naturally cruel unless controlled strictly by law. He was not very popular because John Locke overshadowed him. Hobbes wrote a book named “Leviathan” says that life would be constant warfare without a strong government to control man’s natural impulses.

Even though absolutism was the most common form of government during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries many rulers believed in democracy. Democracy is power of the people under a free electoral system. Some people that believe in democracy were King Louis XIV, John Locke, Voltaire, and Montesquieu. King Louis XIV said, “The interest of the state must come first”(Document 3). Voltaire believed in freedom of speech. He said “I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (Document 4). John Locke, who wrote the Two Treaties on Government, believed that people were born with natural rights, which were “life, liberty and property”, and he also believed that the government had to protect these rights. Montesquieu wrote “The Spirit of the Laws” believed in separation of powers. In his book it says “There can be no liberty where the executive, legislative, and judicial powers are united in one person of body of persons, because such concentration is bound to result in arbitrary despotism”. Those three powers became the 3 branches of government that separated the power of our government (Document 6).

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries there were two forms of government. Both of these types of government were good but overall absolutism was better because the ruler had more power and control.

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