Enlightened Absolutism Essay Prompt

Dbq on Absolutism and Democracy Essay

699 WordsOct 30th, 20053 Pages

There were many forms of government through the 17th and 18th century. Two forms of government that were used a lot were democracy and absolutism. The form of government during these centuries that was most effective was democracy. Many rulers used absolutism in their countries. They believed rulers should have complete control over the country. Prince Machiavelli believed the best way to rule was to be feared and thought that the only way people would listen to him was if he was mean and scary. He thought if he was nice and loved then they would not fear him and end up taking advantage of him. (doc1) King James also believed absolutism was the way to go. He believed in divine right and that it was the only way to keep the country…show more content…

John Locke also believed that government should protect people's natural rights and people can revolt if the government fails or tries to take away peoples natural rights which were life, liberty and property. (doc5) Locke also wrote the 2 treaties of government where he argued that people form government to protect natural rights and the best kind of government had limited power and was accepted by all citizens. Montesquieu also believed that democracy was the best form of government and thought that the best way to protect liberty was to have the three branches of government legislative-creates laws, judicial-interprets laws and executive-enforces laws.(doc 6) He came up with the concept checks and balances which made sure that none of the branches of government had to much power, because they would watch over each other. In a book The Spirit of Laws he explained how he thought that this was the best government and how it was better than other governments throughout history and was a great way to protect liberty. Another ruler who believed that democracy was the best form of government as Rousseau. He believed that people in there natural state were mostly good. He put his faith in the "general will", and believed that the majority of the people should set forth their ideas about government. He put his ideas about society into the social contract.

In the 17th and 18th century a democracy was the most effective form of

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  1. For at least a century before the reign of Louis XIV, what trends in Europe had been preparing the way for monarchical absolutism?
  2. Explain the relationship between the growth of absolutism and the "iron century" in Europe.
  3. What factors, if any, limited the exercise of complete absolutism?
  4. What elements within European states were most likely to oppose absolutism? What tactics did the rulers use in dealing with these elements?
  5. Describe Louis XIV's use of theater to centralize state power in the royal person.
  6. What did the Quietists and the Jansenists teach? Why did Louis XIV consider these groups a threat? How did he deal with that threat?
  7. How did Colbert's policies as finance minister illustrate the objectives of mercantilism?
  8. What aspect of Colbert's reform program was most successful? Why? Did his sovereign master help or hinder its success?
  9. What were the difficulties in the way of establishing absolutism in Germany? Did these difficulties discourage the various princes from trying?
  10. By what instruments did Frederick William, the "Great Elector," make Brandenburg-Prussia a strongly centralized state?
  11. Which elements of society under absolutist regimes were best able to retain their privileges in succeeding eras?
  12. How did the absolutism of Peter the Great (Tsar Peter I) differ from that of his western European counterparts?
  13. Describe some of the outward displays of monarchical authority used by European rulers to illustrate their ideas of royal authority.
  14. Both Charles II and his brother James II favored absolute rule. Why did revolution come under James rather than under Charles?
  15. How did the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 and its aftermath ensure that the English monarchy would henceforth be limited?
  16. What aspects or consequences of the Revolution of 1688 could be considered as less than "glorious"?
  17. On what grounds did John Locke establish the right of revolution? Why were his theories particularly useful to the leaders of the English Revolution of 1688?
  18. What is meant by the emergence of a "state system"? How did this differ from what preceded it?
  19. The growth of foreign ministries and embassies in European capitals reflected a desire to achieve international stability. Why was diplomacy also "a weapon in the armory of the absolutist state"?
  20. How was the character of warfare changing during this period?
  21. What wars resulted from Louis XIV's threat to the European balance of power?
  22. What were the stakes at issue in the War of the Spanish Succession?
  23. Summarize the provisions of the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713. What particular advantages accrued to the British?
  24. Explain the term "enlightened absolutism." How did it differ from its predecessor? To what extent did the absolutism of eighteenth-century rulers become enlightened?
  25. Why did the Catholic rulers Maria Theresa and Joseph II enact measures restricting the liberties of the Church?
  26. Why was Catherine the Great able to establish a more nearly total absolutism in Russia than were contemporary Habsburg rulers in Austria?
  27. How did the role of the English gentry in local government differ from that of the Continental aristocracy? By what means did they maintain their preponderant influence in the central government of England during the eighteenth century?
  28. What significant shift in the European balance of power occurred in the second half of the eighteenth century? What brought about this shift?
  29. Summarize the provisions of the Treaty of Paris of 1763.
  30. What is the significance of the Treaty of Paris signed by the British in 1783?
  31. Although seemingly essential to the maintenance of a European balance of power, Poland was unable to retain its independent existence. Explain why.
  1. A longing for stability after exhausting crises and conflicts helps explain popular support of, or tolerance for, absolutist rulers. Does the rise of totalitarian regimes in our own day offer a parallel? Develop this theme as concretely as you can, making reference both to historical precedents and contemporary affairs.
  2. The year is 1689. You are twenty years old and live in London. How does the prospect before you differ from the one that would confront you if you were living in Moscow?
  3. To what extent was the English Glorious Revolution a conservative revolution? To what extent is it appropriate to call it a "revolution" at all?
  4. Make a critique of "enlightened absolutism" as exemplified by the personality, character, and rule of Frederick the Great.
  5. Study the career of Catherine the Great and assess the effects of her rule.

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