Absolute Monarchy Dbq

Words: 1258
Pages: 6

During the 16th and 17th centuries, there were various political views regarding the most effective way of governing in Europe. An analysis of the documents clearly shows that at the time, two major political views emerged in Europe. Supporters of an absolute monarchy believed handing all governing power to one individual was best because the rulers could legally be strict and harsh, complementing some belief that humans are inherently evil and need to be set in their place through strict rule. Others believed rulers had divine right or benefitted from the monarchy and therefore supported its prevalence. Supporters of a limited monarchy believed an individual’s power in government should not be unlimited and that power should be spread to multiple …show more content…
16th and 17th century kings seemingly all possessed similar views. King James I of England strongly held to his belief that kings have divine right, taking on the role of gods on Earth. King James I’s point of view makes his writings unreliable, since he himself was a king and therefore would make excuses or generate beliefs like divine right to give him an argument for maintaining the power of an absolute monarch (Doc. 1). Louis XIV of France also supported an absolute monarchy, but didn’t use divine right as his reasoning. He instead claimed that in government, the state’s interest must come before that of the people. Louis XIV’s writings are also unreliable as they are influenced by his kingly desire to maintain absolute power (Doc. 4). Other influential documents of the time likewise sustain such speculation. Machiavelli’s The Prince, explains that all “are ungrateful, fickle, and deceitful” and should therefore be ruled over by a single monarch. He believed that an absolute monarchy would expose the people to strictness that prevented corruption. For this reason, he derived that a feared ruler will be more successful in their rule than one who is loved because that fear is attached to the dread of the punishment, in his mind proving that the people will be obedient to a ruler whom they fear (Doc. 3). Other writings that would support absolutism alongside Machiavelli’s, Louis XIV’s, and James I’s are those of philosopher Thomas Hobbes. His views mirrored Machiavelli’s in that all people are innately wicked and are not to be trusted, and therefore supported one person having full political control to crack down on those citizens who inside, harbor evil