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Civilization history - Essay Example

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What were the most important differences between absolutism and constitutionalism, and how did they establish order? What accounts for the success of absolutism in some parts of Europe and its failure in others? How was Elizabeth I of England able to succeed in ruling England…
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The term ‘absolutism’ indicates the absolute monarchical power enjoyed by the rulers during the 17th and 18th century. The main features of absolutism are the ending of feudal partitioning, consolidation of power with the monarch, increase in state power, unification of state laws, and a fall in the influence of Church and nobles on the rulers. Moreover, absolutism is marked by the existence of ideologies that justified the absolute power of monarchs. On the other hand, ‘constitutionalism’ refers to the principle that the government derives its power from the people; and hence, is limited by a body of fundamental laws. So, constitutionalism argues that government is not free to do anything as its power is limited. Instead, it is bound to follow the rules and procedures which are set out in the constitutional law of the community. According to Birn, one can say that while absolutism is based on the concept of the absolute power of the ruler, constitutionalism believes in the balance of power between government power and the rights of people1.
Absolutism in Europe tried to ensure order by developing both philosophical and secular ideologies that support the absolute power of the monarch. Some examples are the divine right theory of Bishop Jacques Bossuet (1627-1704) and the Leviathan from Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679). The rulers took all the decisions in absolutism and all the decisions came from the ruler. Also, the ruler ensured control over religion and economy. Another important feature was the clear class distinctions. On the other hand, the methods adopted by constitutionalism were entirely different. As constitutionalism took birth, it replaced the absolute power policy by a rule by law. In addition, the concept of social contract arose as the very basis of government. Thus, the rules developed are the rules that are ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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