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Bringing an End to Absolute Monarchy

13 Mar 2017History Essays

During the age of enlightenment, also known widely as the age of reason, various new philosophies and views emerged. The main concept of these new philosophies and views became centered on rationalistic perception, as their focus shifted from what was supposedly defined by the gods to the reason behind things. With this, a sense of questioning the placement of authority developed (Rempel, 2007). Along with this, the scientific revolution, which encompasses several centuries in development, provided the people with a sense of power. This power is in relation to the newly gained abilities to finally be able to perceive those what used to be inconceivable (Hooker, 1999a). Hence, during these times, the reliance of men to gods considerably lessened, in effect questioning the god-given right of the ruling class.

During the enlightenment era, several notable figures spread the new concepts and thoughts. Voltaire, Rousseau, Hume, Montesquieu, and others led the path towards change (Rempel, 2007). The success of their venture in effect caused the absolute monarchies to accept and adapt to the new philosophies, thus creating the so-called enlightened monarchies, which created more policies to help the commoners (Hooker, 1999b). Their agenda of holding unto power was however cut short as the discontentment of people still continued to rise due to poor economy and hunger. Therefore, due to these factors, along with the focus on reason, the French revolution was initiated, which in turn led to the eventual abolishment of monarchial rule.

Thus, the rationalistic change in views of the common classes during the age of enlightenment and the scientific revolution led the monarchial way of ruling to its conclusion. The people no longer believed that divine right was enough in order to properly and efficiently rule the country and its people. The perception of unequal treatment between the ruling class and the working class likewise prompted the end of centralized monarchies.

References

  • Hooker, R. (1999a, June 6). The scientific revolution. World Civilizations – The European Enlightenment.
  • Hooker, R. (1999b, June 6). Absolute monarchy and enlightened absolutism. World Civilizations – The European Enlightenment. 
  • Rempel, G. (2007, May 3). The age of enlightenment. Western New England College.

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