Absolutism vs Constitutionalism Essay

Absolutism and constitutionalism are two different ways of governing a state. Absolutism is the idea that the ruler has absolute power and authority, while constitutionalism is the idea that the ruler must operate within certain limits set by a constitution.

The difference between absolutism and constitutionalism comes down to who sets the limits on the ruler’s power. In an absolutist system, the ruler sets his own limits, while in a constitutional system, the people or their representatives set the limits on the ruler’s power. This is why absolutism is often associated with dictatorships, while constitutionalism is associated with democracies.

There are pros and cons to both systems. Absolutism can be seen as a way to ensure that the ruler is not limited by the will of the people, and it can also make it easier to get things done since there is no need to negotiate with others. Constitutionalism can be seen as a way to protect the rights of the people and to prevent the ruler from becoming too powerful. It can also lead to gridlock, since everyone has a say in how things are run.

Ultimately, the difference between absolutism and constitutionalism comes down to who has the final say in how a state is run. Absolutism gives all power to the ruler, while constitutionalism splits power between the ruler and the people. Which system is better depends on your point of view. Some people might prefer a system where the ruler is unrestrained, while others might prefer a system where the people have a say in how they are governed.

In the 17th century, the idea of a single individual having absolute power over everyone to create an independent nation was a driving force behind state unification in Europe. The concept’s progress resulted in several methods of running a government, including absolutism and constitutionalism. A strong centralized monarchy with enormous royal authority is at the heart of the first one, whereas the latter is based on a limited monarchy where the monarch is bound by law and parliament. 

The chief difference between the two systems is the idea of sovereignty, absolutism rests with the monarch and in constitutionalism it resides within the people.

In Absolutism, the king has all governing power which he can use at will for the benefit of his state. He is not restricted by any law or constitution and appoints his own officials. The country’s revenue goes to him and he makes all laws. There is no parliament or estates and no right to protest against the king’s decisions. All subjects are declared to be his vassals who must obey him without question.

In Constitutionalism, on the other hand, there are separate branches of government with specified areas of authority. The king or queen is the head of state but is limited by law. The country’s revenue goes to the people and they elect their own officials. There is a parliament or estates which makes laws and there is a right to protest against the government. Subjects are considered citizens with rights.

The origins of Absolutism can be found in France with Louis XIV who proclaimed himself the ‘Sun King’ in 1661. He believed that as an absolute monarch, he was mandated by God to rule his people. All his actions were therefore justified in the name of the state. He centralized power within his court and reduced the influence of the nobility and church. In England, Absolutism emerged under Charles I who ruled from 1625-1649. He wanted to impose absolutist principles on the country but was opposed by the English Parliament which led to the English Civil War. After his execution, Absolutism was abolished and England moved towards a Constitutional system.

Constitutionalism evolved from the Renaissance idea of a contract between the ruler and the people. The first modern constitutional document was the Magna Carta (1215) which limited the power of King John. The English Bill of Rights (1689) enshrined certain rights for citizens and laid down the principle that kings could rule only with the consent of Parliament. In America, the Constitution (1787) created a federal system with a strong central government and guaranteed individual rights. The French Revolution (1789-1799) led to the adoption of the French Constitution (1791) which introduced a limited monarchy.

Absolutism is based on the principle of divine right where the king is given his power by God. Constitutionalism is based on the principle of the rule of law where the king is bound by law. Absolutism concentrates power in the hands of the monarch while constitutionalism distributes power between different branches of government. Absolutism allows for no dissent while constitutionalism allows for freedom of speech and protest. Absolutism is autocratic while constitutionalism is democratic. Absolutism is associated with absolute monarchy while constitutionalism is associated with parliamentary monarchy.

England intended to follow the constitutional model, but the Stuart kings disagreed and clashed with Parliament throughout the century. This dispute concerns how England developed into a global superpower.

Absolutism is a form of government where the monarch has total control and authority over the people and the country. Constitutionalism is a model where the monarch has limited powers and is checked by a parliament or other state institution. The English Civil War was fought between supporters of absolutism (the Cavaliers) and constitutionalism (the Roundheads). The Cavaliers lost, which led to English Parliament becoming supreme.

The Glorious Revolution of 1688 was a bloodless revolution in England in which James II, who claimed divine right of kings, was overthrown in favour of his daughter Mary II and her husband William III. This revolution is important because it legitimized constitutional monarchy as the form of government in England. The Bill of Rights also guaranteed certain rights and freedoms to the people. These include freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom from taxation without representation.

The American Revolution was fought in the late 18th century by the Thirteen Colonies in North America against the British Empire. The colonies were upset over a number of issues, including lack of representation in Parliament, high taxes, and trade restrictions. The colonists believed that they had the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as stated in the Declaration of Independence. They also believed that they had the right to self-government, as stated in the English Bill of Rights. This led to the American Revolution and eventual independence from Britain.

The French Revolution was a watershed event in French and European history. It began in 1789 with the storming of the Bastille and ended in 1799 with the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. The revolution was fueled by a number of factors, including high taxes, food shortages, and inequality. The French people wanted to overthrow the monarchy and establish a constitutional republic. The Revolution was bloody and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

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