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Encyclopedia > Enlightened despotism

Enlightened absolutism (also known as enlightened despotism) is the absolutist rule of an enlightened monarch . This is a reference to the so-called Enlightenment, a historical period of the 18th and early 19th centuries. The main Enlightenment-era proponent of this system was Voltaire, who regularly corresponded with several of the rulers of this time.


Enlightened monarchs were monarchs who distinguished themselves from traditional monarchs in the way they governed. Specifically, Enlightened Monarchs ruled their subjects using the principles of the Enlightenment. In order to be considered "enlightened", they must allow religious toleration, freedom of speech and press, and the right to hold private property. They must foster the arts, sciences, and educations. Above all, they must not be arbitrary in their rules; they must obey the laws and enforce them fairly for all subjects.


Although their reigns were influenced by Enlightenment ideas, their beliefs about royal power were often similar to those of traditional monarchs. Many enlightened monarchs believed that they had the right to govern by birth.


In effect, the monarchs ruled with the intent of improving the lives of their subjects in order to strengthen or reinforce their authority.


The abolition of serfdom in Europe was achieved by enlightened rulers.


In the spirit of Enlightened absolutism, Emperor Joseph II of the Holy Roman Empire once said: "Everything for the people, nothing by the people".


Some enlightened monarchs

References


  Results from FactBites:
 
Palacio Real (Royal Palace) | Museum/Attraction Review | Madrid | Frommers.com (457 words)
It was begun in 1738 on the site of the Madrid Alcázar, which burned to the ground in 1734.
Some of its 2,000 rooms -- which that "enlightened despot" Charles III called home -- are open to the public; others are still used for state business.
The palace was last used as a royal residence in 1931, before King Alfonso XIII and his wife, Victoria Eugénie, fled Spain.
Bambooweb: Enlightened absolutism (220 words)
The term enlightened absolutism refers to the absolutist rule of an enlightened monarch (or enlightened despot).
This is a reference to the so-called Enlightenment, a historical period of the 18th and early 19th centuries.
Enlightened despots were monarchs who distinguished themselves from traditional despots in the way they governed.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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