Monarchy In Early Modern Europe

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At the start of the early-modern period of European history, feudalism was dying, and countries looked to strong, centralized governments for leadership. The popular political theory to address this new development was absolutism. Absolute monarchs reduced the power of nobles in order to consolidate the nation’s leadership under one banner. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Europe’s political landscape was dominated by this form of government. Monarchy was seen by the early modern Europeans as the best form of government for a variety of reasons. It held religious justifications, followed the natural order of authority, and brought great wealth and power to its nation.
A substantial source of strength for monarchy was the religious justification of the divine right of kings. This principle claimed that kings were anointed and derived their power directly from God. Essentially, rulers, “act as the ministers of God and as His lieutenants on earth. It is through them that God exercises his empire” (Western 775). The Christian religion was paramount in the lives of nearly all Europeans and legitimized the idea that God acted directly through a monarch. Divine direction even played a part in the …show more content…

Saint Augustine wrote in The City of God, “Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies” (Western 363). Any set of laws a government has established will inevitably result in injustice, because it is impossible for a law to be written that addresses every variable. How, then, does the government fulfill its purpose? One possible answer is absolutism. Absolutism is a political theory where absolute power is vested in one ruler. Absolutist rulers practiced the power of Absolutis Legibus, or the ability to suspend the law for the sake of justice. The belief that God exerts his will through monarchs granted kings this ability, for God himself utilized Absolutis

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