Textbook Notes (363,234)
Canada (158,276)
History (100)
HIS109Y1 (16)

Seminar 6 - Absolutism.doc

5 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto St. George
Kenneth Bartlett

HIS109Y1 Western Civilizations: p. 456 - 478 & Vol. 2: p. 130 - 143, 147 - 158, 166 - 173 & Seminar 6 - Absolutism November 5th & November 7th/2012 Perspectives From the Past: p. 130 - 143, 147 - 158, 166 - 173 On Sovereignty Jean Bodin -> published the Six Livres de la Republique which argued an absolutist theory of the royal government -> sovereignty is indivisible and cannot be shared amongst separate agencies -> he was also a spokesperson against increased taxation and religious uniformity - the sovereignty of a monarch is not altered by the presence of the “estates” - the main point of a sovereign majesty is giving the law to its subjects in general without their consent - contempt towards the sovereignty is contempt towards God - he must be able to make laws without the consent of the people or else the majesty is their equal - a tyrant is someone who makes himself into a sovereign by his own authority - if a prince is elected or has the divine right to the throne, it makes no difference whether he is evil; killing a sovereign prince is treason 1) The definition of sovereignty is the absolute and perpetual power of a commonwealth. 2) Both Machiavelli and Bodin believe in absolutism and the authority of the prince to rule by any means. 3) Bodin argues that sovereignty cannot be mixed since power can only belong to one ruler; division amongst multiple agencies will only cause chaos and inefficiency. 4) It is perfectly reasonable to resist the advances of a tyrant. 5) A sovereign ruler who has come to the throne by divine right or election cannot be tyrant, even if the acts they commit are cruel. 6) Since a sovereign cannot be a tyrant, they cannot be resisted. Doing so would be treason. Leviathan Thomas Hobbes -> a forceful argument for political absolutism which is necessary to compel order in society - in the natural society, every many must use his own strength for protection against others - forming cities and kingdoms is an important tool to increase security (aka Commonwealth) - in such a commonwealth, the ruler is a “leviathan” since this authority has so much power and strength which enables him to enforce peace at home and provide mutual aid against enemies abroad - this sovereign power can be attained in two ways: one by natural force and two when men voluntarily agree to submit themselves - it is the job of the sovereign to make good laws, that is laws which are needed for the good of the people 1) Hobbe’s view of human nature is pessimistic; the strong take advantage of the weak and life is not ideal. 2) Human motivation for joining into society is the selfish need for protection and security which cannot be provided in man’s natural state. 3) The purpose of the state is to provide this security for the weak. 4) Human beings come together to form a political society to ensure that their interests are protected. 5) The responsibilities of the sovereign revolve around providing this security from foreign invaders as well as domestic forces which sometimes break the laws set forth by the sovereign. 6) No, Hobbes thinks that human nature is permanent and the only way for the living conditions of humanity to improve is for an absolute ruler to provide inalienable laws. Two Treatises of Government John Locke -> a philosopher who contributed greatly to the enlightenment -> this work was published anonymously -> denied the concept of an absolute monarch as the only system of government and replaced this theory with a model based upon natural law where consent of the governed is needed for a ruler to be legitimate - all men are created equal, however children are not born into this full state of equality - their parents have a type of rule/jurisdiction over them until they come of age - this power belongs to the father as long as he remains an effective guardian; if he quits his care of them he loses his power over them - this metaphor of a father can be used to describe a sovereign leader - God created man with the inclination to be a part of society for necessity and convenience - man is born into perfect freedom with uncontrolled enjoyment of all his rights (equal with all other men) - he has the right to life, liberty and estate without the intrusion of other men - however the inclination to be a part of society which causes men to five up some of their freedoms so that these rights can be ensured by a sovereign ruler - no one can be subject to the political power of this ruler without their consent - those who submit to this society are bound by the will of the majority 1) The nature of political society according to Locke is to unite the will of the majority in order to protect everyone’s natural right to life, liberty and estate. 2) This political society comes into being when people give consent for a ruler to provide this protection. 3) This theo
More Less

Related notes for HIS109Y1

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.