Absolutist and Constitutional Systems

Topics: Political philosophy, Government, Form of government Pages: 3 (731 words) Published: March 13, 2011
During the sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe was going through very hard times. Some of the European nation was developing an absolutist system which is “a system of government in which the ruler claims sole and uncontestable power.” (Hunt 483) and some of the European nation was developing a constitutional system which is “a system in which the ruler shares power with an assembly of elected representatives.” (Hunt 484) Absolutism and constitutionalism faced huge competition with each other because “constitutionalism led to weakness in Poland-Lithuania but provided strong foundations for state power in England, the Dutch Republic, and the British North American colonies.” (Hunt 484) These English colonies found their most lasting appearance in the writings of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.

Many people in Europe preferred absolutist systems and many people also preferred the constitutional systems. Thomas Hobbes justified absolute authority and Locke provided the basis for constitutionalism. The both of them argued that all authority came not from divine rights but from social contract among citizens. John Locke was a British philosopher who rejected the idea that Kings had a divine right to rule. Instead, he argued that people are the source of power, not Kings. Locke also argued that people are born with certain "natural" or "inalienable" rights. These include the right to "life, liberty Kanter

and property." He believed that government did not give people these rights, they are born with them and no government could take them away. According to Locke, people formed governments to protect their rights which he called a "social contract." People agreed to obey the government and in return, government had the responsibility to protect peoples natural rights. “Locke’s views promoted the belief that “all men are created equal,” a belief that challenged absolutist.” (Hunt 505)

The countries that gained a constitutional system was England, The Dutch...
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