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How did absolute monarchs justify their rule philosophically?

Absolute monarchs justified their rule philosophically through the doctrine of the divine right of kings.

The doctrine of the divine right of kings was a political and religious doctrine that asserted that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving their right to rule directly from the will of God. This doctrine was a significant aspect of the broader concept of absolute monarchy, which held that the monarch has absolute power over their kingdom and its people. The divine right of kings was used to justify the absolute power of monarchs, arguing that they were chosen by God and therefore their decisions were beyond question or criticism.

The divine right of kings was not a universally accepted concept, and it faced significant opposition from various quarters. However, it was a powerful tool for monarchs to legitimise their rule and suppress dissent. It was often used in conjunction with other philosophical and political theories that supported absolute monarchy, such as the theory of the social contract, which argued that people willingly surrender their freedom to a ruler in exchange for protection and order.

In addition to the divine right of kings, absolute monarchs also justified their rule through the concept of paternalism. This philosophy held that the monarch, like a father, had a duty to care for and protect their subjects. This justified the monarch's absolute power as necessary for the welfare of the people. Paternalism also reinforced the social hierarchy, with the monarch at the top, and helped to maintain social stability.

Furthermore, some absolute monarchs justified their rule through the theory of Machiavellianism, which held that the ends justify the means. This theory, named after the Italian political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli, argued that a ruler should use any means necessary, including deceit and treachery, to maintain their power and protect their state. This provided a philosophical justification for the often ruthless actions of absolute monarchs.

In conclusion, absolute monarchs justified their rule philosophically through a combination of the divine right of kings, paternalism, and Machiavellianism. These theories provided a moral and philosophical framework that legitimised the absolute power of the monarch and helped to maintain their authority and control over their kingdom and its people.

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