10 Main Characteristics of the Absolute Monarchy

The absolute monarchy is a form of government in which there is a monarch who enjoys a total political control without laws that limit it.

It was based on the argument that the king enjoyed a divine right and had the support of the church to maintain that power.

10 Main Characteristics of the Absolute Monarchy

This form of government had its peak during the Middle Ages and the beginning of the modern age, especially with the support of the Catholic Church.

However, governments with these characteristics still exist in countries such as Oman and Brunei.

Most Important Characteristics of Absolute Monarchies

Total political control

The main characteristic of the absolute monarchies was the existence of a king who had absolute political control.

This meant that there were no laws, division of powers, or any other form of control over the decisions or actions of the monarch.

The king enjoyed the authority to set new laws and decrees, sometimes only advised by a group of councilors but without the participation of the people.

In the same way, it had the power to judge those who committed crimes and to establish new taxes.

All the laws and rulings were imposed by the king and therefore this one was located above her. This meant that he could modify them or even exempt himself from the responsibility of complying with them.

Military control

In addition to total political control, the monarch had control over his army. This armed wing was responsible for maintaining the order established by the king as well as the stability of the monarchy.

These were specialized military bodies that were exclusively at the service of the king. They were dedicated specifically to the control of the commoners and the borders to guarantee the sovereignty of the territory.

Hereditary online transfer

Within the absolute monarchy there are no democratic mechanisms that allow the election of any ruler or representative.

Therefore, the new monarchs are directly appointed by the monarchy through mechanisms that they themselves have.

Usually, this mechanism consists of a hereditary transfer of power, where the sons of kings themselves receive the throne.

Therefore, the usual thing in these cases is that the government is kept under the control of the same family throughout the centuries.

Statutory society

The absolute monarchies developed within the context of estamental societies that were characterized by a marked inequality among its members.

In this social order, each person was born within a social level that determined their place for life.

Depending on the state or social level within which a person was, their responsibilities, privileges or limitations were defined.

Within this context it was virtually impossible for any man or woman to change their place in society.

Individuals born into the aristocracy or those who belonged to the clergy could enjoy privileges such as access to positions within the government.

In the meantime, those born within the peasantry or urban peasantry would always be subject to the power of the king.

Divine right

The main reason that sustained absolute monarchies over the centuries was the belief that their right to rule was of divine origin.

The kings were considered as envoys and representatives of the divinity to exercise their will on the earth.

This implied that no person had the right to question their decisions because the monarch acted in the name of a god.

This belief was accepted by the people of the village, who even accepted the king's authority as a way of maintaining peace.

Influence of the clergy

Although the monarchy theoretically gives absolute control to the ruler, throughout history the kings have had a strong influence of the clergy.

In fact, the relationship between churches and monarchies has been instrumental in maintaining their power.

It is considered that even many leaders of the church have had a great power of the absolute monarchies.

This situation arose because the monarchs, in order to make important decisions, had to count on the support of the church, doubting that its power was really absolute.

The influence of the nobility

As part of the exercise of his rule, monarchs usually had the support of ministers and personal counselors.

These people always came from the nobility, therefore their privileges in some cases allowed them to be educated and their opinions had value.

Therefore, on some occasions those councilors could have a strong influence on the monarchs and the decisions they made.

Officials of the monarchy

For the fulfillment of the law, the monarchy counted on a series of officials who were directly related to the town.

These people were busy collecting taxes and keeping the monarch up to date on important events.

Exaltation of the king in art and propaganda

Within the societies operating under the rule of absolute monarchies, the king's image was of great importance.

As a way of maintaining the stability of the monarchy, monarchs were exalted through the dissemination of propagandistic messages.

On the other hand, the artists of the time exalted the image of kings and royal families through their works. From this practice were great sculptural and pictorial works that left traces in the history of art.

Luxury and extravagance

The life of the absolutist monarchs was characterized by a splurge of luxury and splendor that sometimes contrasted with the poverty of the people. This practice included the possession of huge castles, as well as precious metals and precious stones.

Louis XVI, King of France, was one of the most prominent monarchs in this regard. He was popularly known as the"King of the Sun", due to the brilliance enjoyed by the Palace of Versailles during his reign and to the extravagance of the festivals he performed together with the nobles.


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  4. The Times of India. (2010). Learning with the Times: 7 nations still under absolute monarchy. Retrieved from: timesofindia.indiatimes.com
  5. Totally History. (S.F.). Absolute Monarchy. Recovered from: totallyhistory.com

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