The authoritarian or absolute monarchy has been the political variation with which the Middle Ages ends and the modern age begins . The power of the kings was limited during the Middle Ages and they fought for the conditions that would allow them to achieve the greatest possible power to impose themselves on the dominion of the feudal lords. Absolute monarchy characteristics
However, behind this there are other interesting situations or aspects that must be analyzed.
When and where did the Authoritarian Monarchies arise?
The political period called authoritarian or absolute monarchy occurred in Europe at the beginning of the modern age and fits in with the development of mercantilism . It arises as a product of the divine or heavenly theory that was protected or sheltered in the ideas turned religious laws that explained its presence. Its beginning was in the 15th century and it was shown as a way of governing, a king as the highest authority or sovereign of the region .
Its genesis is justified by the wars or religious conflicts that occurred in medieval times, as well as the devastation suffered by cities on the European continent, specifically in France, although later it occurred in countries such as Russia, Spain, Sweden, England, Portugal and Austria. Hence the need to be in control of situations, which was based on a divine principle that the representative of God on earth was the king and that, therefore, whoever was against the king was opposed to God. In Europe the deification of the king stated that the representative of God was the king and whoever was against the king disobeyed God. The matter will be better understood when knowing the characterization of the absolute monarchy.
Characteristics of Authoritarian Monarchies
Political power is in the hands of the King, to whom the feudal lords, the serfs and even the bourgeoisie submit, but who pacts with them in the search for balance.
- It is a despotic or oppressive government , since it favors a small group and harms the great mass of the nation’s inhabitants.
- The perks of some groups are maintained , such as the bourgeoisie which became much richer supported by kings in exchange for support for them and the clergy class, papal or Catholic class.
- Nepotism operates in the bureaucratic administration of the state , which favors cronyism, favoritism and the privileges of the few. Absolute monarchy characteristics
- The monarchy is strengthened because:
- Foreign policy focused on diplomacy that favored allied nations to help them become stronger and stronger and jointly face adversaries or opponents.
- Internal politics or cunning to direct power made possible the generation of permanent troops and soldiers who fought in exchange for money or some favors even if they had no political motivation.
- Existence of mechanisms to control capital inflows and outflows used by the monarchical government.
- No recognition of supreme or superior authorities (monarchy) and much less sharing of power with their subordinates.
Causes of Authoritarian Monarchies Absolute monarchy characteristics
The generation of absolutism that was characterized by the concentration of progressive power in the hands of the king or monarch occurred due to the following aspects or factors:
- Fight for supremacy between the clerical class and the imperial or king class.
- Introduction of religious elements or ingredients in the ideological conception of power , which brought with it the twisted, perverse interpretation, or for its own and particular benefit of the Holy Scriptures. The ideology was based on the fact that the king had the divine right to rule.
- Problematic to control the feudal lords, nobles, among others .
- Appearance of a mercantile spirit on the part of those who held the power to obtain valuable metals and constitute great wealth through the conquest of America.
Consequences of Authoritarian Monarchies
Although authoritarian or absolute monarchies relied on the nobility and clergy to obtain political power, it makes clear the following effects or results:
- His performance guarantees the social and economic dominance of the church and the nobility after the collapse of feudalism .
- It causes the emergence of the theory of the divine or heavenly right of the emperor or king , through which the power of the king is strengthened and protects it for its independence from the pope or the highest ecclesiastical authority. Absolute monarchy characteristics
- In order to seize power, arguments must have a religious basis for their acceptance or legitimation.
- The previous thesis was used to grant power to other nations in the king and continue to constitute monarchies in the world , such as that of France and England.
- Although the king governs, he has the support and monitoring of the church and the bourgeoisie , and they maintain themselves financially with his help, that is, the pact is maintained to be his assistants and advisers in decision-making.
- Perpetuation of some monarchies to our time perhaps with small variations.
- Legislation or generation of laws in absolutism fell solely on the monarch or king and, of course, attended to his personal interests, which were confused with those of the State, hence the famous expression of Louis XIV “The state it’s me”.
- When the monarchy was imposed , the existence of a stable and fixed army or war body was generated .
- Emergence of social classes . The monarchy divided society into:
- Privileged classes: the nobility and the clergy.
- The bourgeoisie: merchants or businessmen and bankers.
- Lower class: peasants, workers or wage earners.
- Centralization of the State Administration : the collection of taxes was part of the wealth of the king in order to accumulate wealth and maintain the army.
- Terrible social and economic conditions for the general population due to the abuses of power, the tyranny and arbitrariness of the monarch.
- Enrichment of the monarch or king and his family .
- Revolutions and revolts .
Countries in which Authoritarian Monarchies occurred
Next we will mention and explain a little about some of the countries in which the Authoritarian Monarchies system predominated, these are:
- France: This country was characterized by having the most complete absolutist monarchy. The most prominent monarchs who represented him were: Louis XIII, Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI . Absolute monarchy characteristics
- Russia: The government of this country became known as Tsarism, a word that derives from Zar or king, which is why it is practically run with the same principles of absolutism. The distinguished Russian monarchs are Peter I, Ivan IV, Michael III, Catherine the Great and Nicholas II.
- Spain: The monarchs that stand out are Felipe V, Fernando VII, Fernando V and José I.
- England: The English kings were very particular in their monarchy, since they admitted the coexistence with a parliament or congress of deputies. The most relevant and well-known commissioners were: Carlos II, Jacobo II, Enrique VII and Isabel I.
- Sweden: In this country, the most prominent monarchs were: Carlos X and Carlos XI, the latter is famous for the reconstruction of Sweden after the war period.
Fall of Authoritarian Monarchies Absolute monarchy characteristics
“Power corrupts man and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This famous phrase was fulfilled in the case of the monarchies discussed in this writing. This fact ruined the absolutist and authoritarian monarchical government at the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the modern age, because the absolute power was arbitrary from the political point of view, there was also intransigence on the religious plane coupled with the preservation of privileges social for a small group and economic limitations for another group .
So, this became something inconceivable and difficult to tolerate by the largest sectors of the inhabitants, among others the peasantry and the bourgeoisie . Then, ideas arose that promoted the dissolution of the present regime and encouraged a change in the social, political and economic order that was more rational and not inspired by religious ideas or principles such as those that sustained the monarchy. The equality of the population was thought in contrast to the great existing inequalities . They also dreamed of freedom of worship, free trade and limiting the power of the rulers a bit, since the kings decreased in quality in terms of prestige at that time.
Due to the oppression that the people suffered due to the arbitrariness of the kings, those who spent the State’s income as and when it seemed to them, appointed officials, went to war and peace at will, legislated, charged with taxes and even had funds available. the assets of the other social actors at their will; Popular actions began to be promoted to defend the country’s economy and its interests, and that was how all this caused the so-called bourgeois revolution or liberal revolution carried out by the bourgeois class, which were constituted in large-scale political movements. Paradoxically, after the bourgeoisie supported the king, it became its biggest questioner for how it exercised authoritarian and tyrannical power. Absolute monarchy characteristics
Of course, the bourgeoisie sought to eliminate obstacles to trade and obstacles to their progress and the defense of individual rights, but they were joined by other large social groups that were also oppressed and wanted their liberation. This promoted changes in the internal part of the nation, but there was another event such as the French Revolution in 1789, which was characterized by another series of conflicts that contributed to the collapse of absolute monarchy in other nations .
Definitely, when freedoms are threatened and the economic and social conditions of the population are detrimental, as they were threatened and deteriorated in the time of absolutism, there is no doubt that there are adverse reactions that lead to unfortunate consequences. Bad results brought revolts and uprisings for some authoritarian monarchs or kings such as death . Some of them, in several European countries, were slaughtered and executed. It should be noted that perhaps in order not to have a sad end as well, in Spain there is currently the monarchy but it hides under the facade of a constitutional monarchy, another invention of the rulers to perpetuate themselves in power.