Democracy vs Absolutism

Topics: Separation of powers, Democracy, Political philosophy Pages: 2 (744 words) Published: October 16, 2005
A democracy is when the common people are considered as the primary source of political power. Although democracy and absolutism had advantages and disadvantages, democracy was a more effective type of government for it limited royal power and protected the rights of the people socially, politically, and economically. Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, tension arose between the two different types of governments, the democracy and absolute monarchs. The enlightenment was a great period of establishment of democracy. Throughout the enlightenment there were philosophes who believed greatly in a democratic government. Some of the most familiar philosophes were Voltaire, John Locke, Montesquieu, and Rousseau. Each one of these philosophes were humanists and believed in natural rights. John Locke quotes an example of natural rights in document 5. Locke states in this document that all men are born with the natural rights of life liberty, and property, the government is to protect these rights, and if the government chooses not to protect these rights, the people have the power to overthrow the government. Freedom of speech and religion were crucial beliefs in the mind of Voltaire. In doc. 4, he is quoted "I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." This quote evidently states Voltaire's strong faith in freedom of speech. Freedom of speech had a huge role in democracy because, in an absolute monarch, people did not have right of Freedom of Speech. The king had absolute control and the people lacked certain liberties. Doc. 4 also quotes "The best government seems to be that in which all ranks of men are equally protected by the laws." In this passage Voltaire states that the best type of government is a democracy because all men are protected and treated equally by government where as in an absolute monarch people are treated as they are ranked socially. Until the enlightenment, Absolutism was the core type...
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