Constitutionalism vs Absolutism

Topics: Constitution, Constitutional monarchy, Absolute monarchy Pages: 2 (352 words) Published: November 1, 2012
In the following paragraphs I’m going to explain what constitutionalism is, and how it differs from absolutism.

Constitutionalism is the way a state or country governs it’s people based off of laws set forth to protect the people’s rights and liberties. These laws are called constitutions, for example the Constitution of the United States. There are two types of constitutional governments, republican and monarchy. Within a constitutional republic the sovereign is elected by the people to govern according to the constitutional laws. Constitutional monarchy is almost the same, except a king or queen rules according to the constitutional laws, but is given some political authority. As with constitutional republic a constitutional monarchy’s powers rest in the electorates. The best example of constitutionalism is John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government. He states, “liberty to follow one’s own will in anything that isn’t forbidden by the rule, and not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man.” (John Locke)

The difference between constitutionalism and absolutism is that the king or sovereign is believed to be ordained by God. There are no rules or regulations for the sovereign to run his state. This gives him the ultimate power to rule over his subjects as he sees fit. No one can challenge his authority because his word is God’s word, to question the king, would be questioning God, and this would be considered treason. (Mike Cox) The infamous Louis XIV, other wise known as the “Sun King”, governed by this mentality. He has been heard saying, “I am the State!” You also have Thomas Hobbe’s Leviathan, which goes on to describe how people need an absolute ruler to keep the peace and discourage civil war.

To conclude, I have given you a descriptive explanation on constitutionalism, and described how it differs from absolutism. As you see it is a matter of how much power a sovereign has over his...
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