Absolutist State definition/origin and formation/characteristics

It is a state that centralizes all political and economic power in the hands of just one person , usually a monarch or dictator. Absolutist State definition

The essence of this type of government is that the person who has absolute and unlimited power is not subject to challenge or regulation by any other body or institution. Even if this is judicial, legislative, religious, economic or electoral.

Below you will find a summary of the origin, formation and main characteristics of an Absolutist State.

The origin and formation of the Absolutist State

The Absolutist State emerged in the Middle Ages, in the socioeconomic scenario of the feudal system. However, feudalism was going through crises, as it was questioned why power was centralized only in the hands of feudal lords. Absolutist State definition

It is during this crisis that the capitalist economic model has its beginnings in the means of production. This happened because it was believed that, at that time, feudalism served as an obstacle to economic development.

It is during this gradual change in modes of production that power begins to be centralized in the hands of kings .

Feudal lords lose political and economic strength, while national forces (war power) and the benefits granted to the nobility begin to grow.

It is in this context, between the 16th and 18th centuries, that the Absolutist State was born and consolidated, with unlimited political and economic power in the hands of the monarchs. Absolutist State definition

The characteristics of the Absolutist State

Among the main characteristics of the absolutist state are:

  • the kings pass to decree the laws and to decide juridical problems. There was no constitution that could challenge their will and actions,
  • were also responsible for choosing the amount to be charged in taxes for the population and traders,
  • the king controlled the national forces. Any action of the State’s military power was below the monarch’s will,
  • above the king there was only God, since in an Absolutist State the king was considered as the chosen of the Divine to govern the people.

The consolidation of the Absolutist State throughout history

Absolutism exists in various forms in all parts of the world, including Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler and the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. Absolutist State definition

The most commonly studied form of absolutism is absolute monarchy , which originated in early modern Europe and was based on the strong individual leaders of the new nation-states that were created in the disruption of the medieval order.

The power of these states was closely associated with the power of their rulers. To strengthen both, it was necessary to reduce restrictions on centralized government exercised by the church and feudal lords.

In claiming the absolute authority of the state against such prior restrictions, the monarch as head of state demanded his own absolute authority .

In the 16th century, monarchical absolutism prevailed in much of Western Europe, and it was widespread in the 17th and 18th centuries. Absolutist State definition

In addition to France, whose ideology was epitomized by King Louis XIV, absolutism existed in a variety of other European countries, including Spain, Prussia, and Austria.

The theorists of absolutism

According to some political theorists, complete obedience to the will of a single person is necessary to maintain order and security.

The most elaborate statement of this view was made by the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes in his work Leviathan. Absolutist State definition

The monopoly of power was also justified on the basis of an assumed knowledge of absolute truth.

This argument was advanced by Vladimir Ilich Lenin to defend the absolute authority of the Communist Party in Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.

Niccolò Machiavelli was one of the main theorists of absolutism. By observing the conflicts that took place between the kingdoms, and the agreements that were made to please the bourgeoisie and the nobility, the author elaborated the work The Prince , which was a study on how a king could conquer power and keep it.

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