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Elements of Western History since 1500 - Essay Example

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How did the effects of Absolutism and the Enlightenment influence and impact the French Revolution? Absolutism refers to the fact that the ruling class of a nation us not held accountable by the people for their actions (Schwab & Jeanneney 229)…
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Elements of Western History since 1500
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Download file to see previous pages How did the effects of Absolutism and the Enlightenment influence and impact the French Revolution? Absolutism refers to the fact that the ruling class of a nation us not held accountable by the people for their actions (Schwab & Jeanneney 229). In the case of France in the 1600s and the 1700s, this was the case because the ruling class had formed an elite social structure around the monarchy and royal family of the country. This group practiced what is popularly known as oligopoly where this small group of people in the French society controlled all the wealth and power of the nation. The common citizens of France lived under harsh conditions because they had no rights to question or go against the rules and principles of the ruling class. Consequently, the ruling class become more distant from the citizens. Also, due to the fact that the ruling class were seldom questioned of their actions and decisions, there was a trend of inefficiency and corruption in the control of state resources and this affected the poor in France more. This caused the masses in France, who were most affected by the inefficiencies of the ruling class to seek intervention and change. Enlightenment refers to a a trend where scholars and other influential citizens in Sixteenth and Seventh Century Europe sought to question existing trends in the society and rationalize the need for new methods (Wilson & Reill 3). In the case of France, scholars like Voltaire, Montesquieu and D'Holbech sought the “massive salvation of the people” through seeking accountability amongst the ruling class through a constitution, equal rights and egalitarianism and the fair use of scientific methods in ensuring efficiency and a better quality of life. This campaign was accepted by the masses in France and this played a major role in building the consciousness and stirring up a general dissatisfaction and action against the French Monarch and the ruling class. This became the genesis of the French Revolution which sought to destroy the dominance of the ruling class in France and establish a system of equality and the promotion of the welfare of people in the country. Question 2 The differences between constitutional monarchy and absolutist monarchy and how it was established in England and France before, during the 1600s and 1700s. A constitutional monarchy is one that derives its power legitimately through the people and there is a law that spells out the rights and responsibilities of the ruler and the ruled (Wilson & Riell 3). On the other hand, an absolute monarchy is one where the power of the rulers is deemed to emanate from some special attributes or qualities of the monarchs (Wilson & Riell 3). In the case of Medieval Europe, the most popular attribute that supported absolute monarchies was the divine backing of the royal government, confirmed by the earthly powers of the Catholic Church. England practiced a constitutional monarchy that can be traced through the evolution of the the kingdom and its ruling structures. Martland (199) identifies that the British monarchy had simultaneously sought to develop three arms of government since the Norman conquests. This is evident by the fact that the Crown sought to codify the common legal systems of England right after the conquest in the 1200s. This became the foundation for a legal system that was upheld above the King of England and it became the regulatory force of the nation and spelt out the rights and responsibilities of the rulers and the ruled by the 1600s. The second aspect of the English monarchy is the fact that the king, since the 14th Century had a body of sworn advisers who examined every ordinance and pardon of the king before it was passed into law. The third element was the representation of the people of England through a constituted parliament that represented the concerns of the nobles as well as the commoners in a national discourse. These three arms formed some kind of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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