Absolutism And Constitutionalism

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Absolutism and Constitutionalism differ in the structure of authority in their theoretical governments, with Absolutism giving the government power over the people, and Constitutionalism limiting the government’s power and, in turn, empowering the people. This difference causes Absolutism to cause people to work for their government, and Constitutionalism to cause government to work for its people. Absolutism posited that government should have complete power over its citizens. James I of England compared an absolutist monarch’s power over his kingdom to that of God’s over earth: “God hath power to create or destroy, make or unmake at His pleasure, to give life or sent death, to judge all and to be judged nor accountable to none, to raise …show more content…
Constitutionalism views government from the opposite side: the government must carry out actions for the betterment of the people. Because of this switching of roles, government’s power is limited to ensure they do not gain too much power over the people. Voltaire wrote, “The best government seems to be that in which all ranks of men are equally protected by the laws.” Unlike Absolutism, in which the rulers are like Gods, the government is equal to regular citizens in the eyes of the law. This limits the government’s power in society. Another limit, described by Montesquieu, is the separation of powers. He wrote, “There can be no liberty where the executive, legislative, and judicial powers are united in one person or body of persons, because such concentration is bound to result in arbitrary despotism.” Limiting the government this way gives liberty to the people, which they do not have under Absolutism, and prevents the government from consolidating power to one person or group, which is the purpose of Absolutism. And if the people believe the government is not representing their interests, according to Locke, they can revolt. He wrote, “When legislators try to destroy or take away the property of the people, or try to reduce them to slavery, they put themselves into a state of war with the people who can then refuse to obey the laws.” Locke believes that government should be limited by the will of the people, as opposed to the people being limited by the will of the

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