Meaning of enlightened despotism

What is Enlightened Despotism:

Enlightened despotism is a political regime that characterized the eighteenth century whose motto was "Everything for the people, but without the people."

Enlightened despotism is framed within Absolutism but using the ideologies of the Enlightenment to maintain the absolute monarchy that reigned since the 16th century.

Enlightened Despotism, also referred to as Enlightened Absolutism, is considered a post-Absolutism phase where the monarch concentrates all the power that is considered a divine right.

See also Absolutism.

Due to the influence of the Renaissance, which extends throughout Europe until the seventeenth century, the rulers already acted as patrons of the arts, spreading the movement towards letters, thus gestating the Enlightenment movement in the eighteenth century, also known as "The century of reason ".

See also:

  • Renaissance
  • Illustration

The ideological movement of the Enlightenment was against the institutions and threatened the absolutist regime. Under this context, enlightened Despotism was born as a strategy so that monarchs could maintain their absolute power using the argument that the State had the role of protective father of their children as subjects.

The enlightened despots using Despotism, as an absolutist regime, together with the Enlightenment, as a symbol of reason, create the slogan "Everything for the people, but without the people" thus maintaining their absolute power while introducing reforms to renew the constructions in the cities and in the fields.

Despite the improvements, the freedom that the Enlightenment sought did not exist in this regime and the recession continued. The enlightened, supported by the bourgeoisie, an emerging mercantile class, began to spread the notion of the free man to the people. Thus begins the growing social and political conflicts that then lead to civil wars and finally ends in the French Revolution in 1789, putting an end to enlightened despotism.

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