Absolute monarchy

Absolute monarchy

Overview
Absolute monarchy is a monarchical
Monarchy
A monarchy is a form of government in which the office of head of state is usually held until death or abdication and is often hereditary and includes a royal house. In some cases, the monarch is elected...

 form of government
Form of government
A form of government, or form of state governance, refers to the set of political institutions by which a government of a state is organized. Synonyms include "regime type" and "system of government".-Empirical and conceptual problems:...

 in which the monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

 exercises ultimate governing authority as head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 and head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

, his or her power not being limited by a constitution or by the law. An absolute monarch thus wields unrestricted political power
Political power
Political power is a type of power held by a group in a society which allows administration of some or all of public resources, including labour, and wealth. There are many ways to obtain possession of such power. At the nation-state level political legitimacy for political power is held by the...

 over the sovereign state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 and its subject people. In an absolute monarchy, the transmission of power is twofold; hereditary and marital. Absolute monarchy differs from limited monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

, in which the monarch’s authority is legally bound or restricted by a constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

.

In theory, the absolute monarch exercises total power over the land and its subject people, yet in practice the monarchy is counter-balanced by political groups from among the social classes and castes of the realm: the aristocracy, clergy
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

 (see caesaropapism
Caesaropapism
Caesaropapism is the idea of combining the power of secular government with, or making it superior to, the spiritual authority of the Church; especially concerning the connection of the Church with government. The term caesaropapism was coined by Max Weber, who defined it as follows: “a secular,...

), bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

, and proletarians
Proletariat
The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...

.

Some monarchies have weak or symbolic parliaments and other governmental bodies that the monarch can alter or dissolve at will.

One of the best examples of an absolute monarch was Louis XIV of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

.
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Encyclopedia
Absolute monarchy is a monarchical
Monarchy
A monarchy is a form of government in which the office of head of state is usually held until death or abdication and is often hereditary and includes a royal house. In some cases, the monarch is elected...

 form of government
Form of government
A form of government, or form of state governance, refers to the set of political institutions by which a government of a state is organized. Synonyms include "regime type" and "system of government".-Empirical and conceptual problems:...

 in which the monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

 exercises ultimate governing authority as head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 and head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

, his or her power not being limited by a constitution or by the law. An absolute monarch thus wields unrestricted political power
Political power
Political power is a type of power held by a group in a society which allows administration of some or all of public resources, including labour, and wealth. There are many ways to obtain possession of such power. At the nation-state level political legitimacy for political power is held by the...

 over the sovereign state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 and its subject people. In an absolute monarchy, the transmission of power is twofold; hereditary and marital. Absolute monarchy differs from limited monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

, in which the monarch’s authority is legally bound or restricted by a constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

.

In theory, the absolute monarch exercises total power over the land and its subject people, yet in practice the monarchy is counter-balanced by political groups from among the social classes and castes of the realm: the aristocracy, clergy
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

 (see caesaropapism
Caesaropapism
Caesaropapism is the idea of combining the power of secular government with, or making it superior to, the spiritual authority of the Church; especially concerning the connection of the Church with government. The term caesaropapism was coined by Max Weber, who defined it as follows: “a secular,...

), bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

, and proletarians
Proletariat
The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...

.

Some monarchies have weak or symbolic parliaments and other governmental bodies that the monarch can alter or dissolve at will.

Historical examples


One of the best examples of an absolute monarch was Louis XIV of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. His alleged statement, "L'état, c'est moi" ("I am the state"), summarizes the fundamental principle of absolute monarchy (sovereignty
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

 being vested in one individual). Although often criticized for his extravagances, such as the Palace of Versailles
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles , or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France. In French it is the Château de Versailles....

, he reigned over France for a long period, and some historians consider him a successful absolute monarch. More recently, revisionist historians have questioned whether Louis' reign should be considered 'absolute', given the reality of the balance of power between the monarch and the nobility.

Absolutism was underpinned by a written constitution for the first time in Europe in the 1665 Kongeloven ("King's Law") of Denmark-Norway, whose § 2 stipulated that the monarch shall from this day forth be revered and considered the most perfect and supreme person on the Earth by all his subjects, standing above all human laws and having no judge above his person, neither in spiritual nor temporal matters, except God alone. This law consequently authorized the king to abolish all other centers of power. Most important was the abolition of the Council of the Realm.

The form of government instituted in Sweden
Swedish Empire
The Swedish Empire refers to the Kingdom of Sweden between 1561 and 1721 . During this time, Sweden was one of the great European powers. In Swedish, the period is called Stormaktstiden, literally meaning "the Great Power Era"...

 under king Charles XI
Charles XI of Sweden
Charles XI also Carl, was King of Sweden from 1660 until his death, in a period in Swedish history known as the Swedish empire ....

 and passed on to his son, Charles XII
Charles XII of Sweden
Charles XII also Carl of Sweden, , Latinized to Carolus Rex, Turkish: Demirbaş Şarl, also known as Charles the Habitué was the King of the Swedish Empire from 1697 to 1718...

 is commonly referred to as absolute monarchy; however, the Swedish monarch was never absolute in the sense that he wielded arbitrary power. The monarch still ruled under the law and could only legislate in agreement with the Riksdag of the Estates
Riksdag of the Estates
The Riksdag of the Estates , was the name used for the Estates of the Swedish realm when they were assembled. Until its dissolution in 1866, the institution was the highest authority in Sweden next to the King...

; rather, the absolutism introduced was the monarch's ability to run the government unfettered by the privy council
Privy Council of Sweden
The High Council of Sweden or Council of the Realm consisted originally of those men of noble, common and clergical background, that the king saw fit for advisory service...

, contrary to earlier practice. The absolute rule of Charles XI was instituted by the crown and the Riksdag in order to carry out the Great Reduction
Reduction (Sweden)
In the reductions in Sweden, fiefs that had been granted to the Swedish nobility were returned to the Crown.The first reduction under Charles X Gustav of Sweden in 1655 restored a quarter of "donations" made after 1632. In the Great Reduction of 1680 under Charles XI of Sweden the Crown...

 which would have been made impossible by the privy council, constituted of high nobility. After the death of Charles XII in 1718, the system of absolute rule was largely blamed for the ruination of the realm in the Great Northern War
Great Northern War
The Great Northern War was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in northern Central Europe and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish alliance were Peter I the Great of Russia, Frederick IV of...

, and the reaction tipped the balance of power to the other extreme end of the spectrum, ushering in the Age of Liberty. After half a century of largely unrestricted parliamentary rule proved just as ruinous, King Gustav III
Gustav III of Sweden
Gustav III was King of Sweden from 1771 until his death. He was the eldest son of King Adolph Frederick and Queen Louise Ulrica of Sweden, she a sister of Frederick the Great of Prussia....

 seized back royal power in the coup d'état of 1772, and later once again abolished the privy council under the Union and Security Act in 1789, which, in turn, was rendered void in 1809 when Gustav IV Adolf
Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden
Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden also Gustav Adolph was King of Sweden from 1792 until his abdication in 1809. He was the son of Gustav III of Sweden and his queen consort Sophia Magdalena, eldest daughter of Frederick V of Denmark and his first wife Louise of Great Britain. He was the last Swedish...

 was deposed in a coup and the constitution of 1809
Instrument of Government (1809)
The Instrument of Government adopted on 6 June 1809 by the Riksdag of the Estates was one of the fundamental laws that made up the constitution of Sweden from 1809 to 1974...

 was put in its place.

Until 1905, the Czars of Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 also governed as absolute monarchs. Peter I the Great
Peter I of Russia
Peter the Great, Peter I or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are Old Style. All other dates in this article are New Style. ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his half-brother, Ivan V...

 reduced the power of the nobility
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

 and strengthened the central power of the Czar, establishing a bureaucracy and a police state
Police state
A police state is one in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population...

. This tradition of absolutism, known as the czarist absolutism, was built on by Catherine II the Great
Catherine II of Russia
Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great , Empress of Russia, was born in Stettin, Pomerania, Prussia on as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg...

 and other later Czars. Although Alexander II
Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

 made some reforms and established an independent judicial system, Russia did not have a representative assembly or a constitution until the 1905 Revolution. However, the concept of absolutism was so ingrained in Russia that the Russian Constitution of 1906
Russian Constitution of 1906
The Russian Constitution of 1906 refers to a major revision of the 1832 Fundamental Laws of the Russian Empire, which transformed the formerly absolutist state into one in which the emperor agreed for the first time to share his autocratic power with a parliament. It was enacted on April 23, 1906,...

 still described the czar as an autocrat. Still, Russia became the last European country to abolish absolutism and the only one to do so as late as the 20th century (the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 drafted its first constitution in 1877).

Throughout much of history, the Divine Right of Kings
Divine Right of Kings
The divine right of kings or divine-right theory of kingship is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God...

 was the theological justification for absolute monarchy. Many Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an kings, such as the Tsars of Russia, claimed that they held supreme autocratic power by divine right, and that their subjects had no rights to limit their power. James I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

 and Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 of England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 tried to import this principle; fears that Charles I was attempting to establish absolutist government along European lines were a major cause of the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

. By the 19th century, the Divine Right was regarded as an obsolete theory in most countries in the Western world
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

, except in Russia where it was still given credence as the official justification for the Tsar's power.

Prussia


In Brandenburg-Prussia
Brandenburg-Prussia
Brandenburg-Prussia is the historiographic denomination for the Early Modern realm of the Brandenburgian Hohenzollerns between 1618 and 1701. Based in the Electorate of Brandenburg, the main branch of the Hohenzollern intermarried with the branch ruling the Duchy of Prussia, and secured succession...

, the concept of absolute monarch took a notable turn from the above with its emphasis on the monarch as the "first servant of the state", but it also echoed many of the important characteristics of Absolutism. Frederick William (r.1640–1688), known as the Great Elector, used the uncertainties of the final stages of the Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

 to consolidate his territories into the dominant kingdom in northern Germany, whilst increasing his power over his subjects. His actions largely originated the militaristic streak of the Hohenzollern.

In 1653, the Diet of Brandenburg met for the last time and gave Frederick William the power to raise taxes without its consent, a strong indicator of absolutism. Frederick William enjoyed support from the nobles, who enabled the Great Elector to undermine the Diet and other representative assemblies. The leading families saw their future in cooperation with the central government and worked to establish absolutist power.

The most significant indicator of the nobles' success was the establishment of two tax rates – one for the cities and the other for the countryside - to the great advantage of the latter, which the nobles ruled. The nobles served in the upper levels of the elector's army and bureaucracy, but they also won new prosperity for themselves. The support of the Elector enabled the imposition of serfdom and the consolidation of land holdings into vast estates.

They became known as Junker
Junker
A Junker was a member of the landed nobility of Prussia and eastern Germany. These families were mostly part of the German Uradel and carried on the colonization and Christianization of the northeastern European territories during the medieval Ostsiedlung. The abbreviation of Junker is Jkr...

s (from the German for young lord, jung Herr). Frederick William faced resistance from representative assemblies and long-independent cities in his realm. City leaders often revolted at the imposition of Electorate authority. The last notable effort was the uprising of the city of Königsberg
Königsberg
Königsberg was the capital of East Prussia from the Late Middle Ages until 1945 as well as the northernmost and easternmost German city with 286,666 inhabitants . Due to the multicultural society in and around the city, there are several local names for it...

 which allied with the Estates General of Prussia to refuse to pay taxes. Frederick William crushed this revolt in 1662, by marching into the city with thousands of troops. A similar approach was used with the towns of Cleves.

Contemporary monarchies


The popularity of the notion of absolute monarchy declined substantially after the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 which promoted theories of government based on popular sovereignty
Popular sovereignty
Popular sovereignty or the sovereignty of the people is the political principle that the legitimacy of the state is created and sustained by the will or consent of its people, who are the source of all political power. It is closely associated with Republicanism and the social contract...

.

Many nations formerly with absolute monarchies, such as Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, have moved towards constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

, although in some cases the monarch retains tremendous power, to the point that the parliament's influence on political life is negligible. In Bhutan
Bhutan
Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China...

, the government moved from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy following planned parliamentary elections to the Tshogdu
Tshogdu
The Tshogdu was the unicameral legislature of Bhutan until 31 July 2007. The legislature had a total of 150 members...

 in 2003, and the election of a National Assembly in 2008.

Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

 had several swings between constitutional rule and direct rule related to the Nepalese Civil War, the Maoist insurgency, and the 2001 Nepalese royal massacre
Nepalese royal massacre
The Nepalese royal massacre occurred on Friday, June 1, 2001, at a house in the grounds of the Narayanhity Royal Palace, then the residence of the Nepalese monarchy, when the heir to the throne, Prince Dipendra killed nine members of his family and himself. However, it hasn't been proven that...

. The Nepalese monarchy was abolished on May 28, 2008.

Unusually in an era when many nations have moved towards decreased monarchical power, Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked alpine country in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east. Its area is just over , and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz. The biggest town is Schaan...

 has moved towards expanding the power of the monarch: the Prince of Liechtenstein was given expanded powers after a referendum
Liechtenstein constitutional referendum, 2003
The constitutional referendum regarding the Prince’s powers was a national vote held in Liechtenstein on 14 March 2003. The referendum was two part, consisting of a "Princely Initiative" and a "Constitution Peace Initiative"...

 amending the Constitution of Liechtenstein
Constitution of Liechtenstein
There has been a written constitution in the Principality of Liechtenstein since 5 October 1921. It was granted by Johann II, Prince of Liechtenstein, and established the rule of parliamentary democracy mixed with that of constitutional monarchy. It has twelve chapters covering the...

 in 2004.

In Tonga
Tonga
Tonga, officially the Kingdom of Tonga , is a state and an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, comprising 176 islands scattered over of ocean in the South Pacific...

 the king had majority control of the parliament until 2010.

Among the few nations where the monarch still claims full power (as head of both state and government) are Brunei
Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

, Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

, Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 and Swaziland
Swaziland
Swaziland, officially the Kingdom of Swaziland , and sometimes called Ngwane or Swatini, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, bordered to the north, south and west by South Africa, and to the east by Mozambique...

.

Scholarship


Anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

, sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

, and ethology
Ethology
Ethology is the scientific study of animal behavior, and a sub-topic of zoology....

 as well as various other disciplines such as political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 attempt to explain the rise of absolute monarchy ranging from extrapolation generally, to Marxist explanations
18 Brumaire
The coup of 18 Brumaire was the coup d'état by which General Napoleon Bonaparte overthrew the French Directory, replacing it with the French Consulate...

 in terms of the class struggle
Class struggle
Class struggle is the active expression of a class conflict looked at from any kind of socialist perspective. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote "The [written] history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle"....

 as the underlying dynamic of human historical development generally and absolute monarchy in particular.

According to Norbert Elias's The Civilizing Process
The Civilizing Process
The book The Civilizing Process written by German sociologist Norbert Elias is an influential work in sociology and Elias' most important work. It was first published in 1939 in German as Über den Prozeß der Zivilisation. Because of the World War it was virtually ignored, but republished in the...

, monarchs such as Louis XIV could enjoy such great power because of the then structure of the societies: more precisely, they could play off against each other two rival classes, namely the rising bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

, who grew wealthy from commerce and industrial production, and the nobility
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

, who lived off the land and administrative functions.

See also

  • Absolutism (European history)
    Absolutism (European history)
    Absolutism or The Age of Absolutism is a historiographical term used to describe a form of monarchical power that is unrestrained by all other institutions, such as churches, legislatures, or social elites...

  • Jacques Bossuet
  • Constitutional monarchy
    Constitutional monarchy
    Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

  • Democracy
    Democracy
    Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

  • Dictatorship
    Dictatorship
    A dictatorship is defined as an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by an individual, the dictator. It has three possible meanings:...

  • Enlightened absolutism
    Enlightened absolutism
    Enlightened absolutism is a form of absolute monarchy or despotism in which rulers were influenced by the Enlightenment. Enlightened monarchs embraced the principles of the Enlightenment, especially its emphasis upon rationality, and applied them to their territories...

  • Thomas Hobbes
    Thomas Hobbes
    Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury , in some older texts Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury, was an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy...

  • Monarchomachs
    Monarchomachs
    The Monarchomachs were originally French Huguenot theorists who opposed absolute monarchy at the end of the 16th century, known in particular for having theoretically justified tyrannicide...

     (opponents of absolute monarchy in the context of the French Wars of Religion
    French Wars of Religion
    The French Wars of Religion is the name given to a period of civil infighting and military operations, primarily fought between French Catholics and Protestants . The conflict involved the factional disputes between the aristocratic houses of France, such as the House of Bourbon and House of Guise...

    , who theorized the right of rebellion and legitimized tyrannicide
    Tyrannicide
    Tyrannicide literally means the killing of a tyrant, or one who has committed the act. Typically, the term is taken to mean the killing or assassination of tyrants for the common good. The term "tyrannicide" does not apply to tyrants killed in battle or killed by an enemy in an armed conflict...

    )
  • Totalitarianism
    Totalitarianism
    Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...