Enlightened Despotism Essay by The Research Group

Enlightened Despotism
Examines the theory, three examples (Frederick the Great of Prussia, Catherine the Great of Russia and President Franklin Roosevelt), benefits and the problem of succession.
# 14965 | 1,575 words | 4 sources | 1999 | US
Published on Jul 13, 2003 in History (Leaders) , Political Science (Political Theory)


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The political doctrine of enlightened despotism, after enjoying great prestige in the 18th century, has fallen on hard times in the 19th and 20th centuries. On the level of political theory, it was eclipsed first, in the late 18th century and through much of the 19th century, by the doctrine of limited constitutionalism, whether republican or constitutional monarchy.

From the Paper:

"The political doctrine of enlightened despotism, after enjoying great prestige in the 18th century, has fallen on hard times in the 19th and 20th centuries. On the level of political theory, it was eclipsed first, in the late 18th century and through much of the 19th century, by the doctrine of limited constitutionalism, whether republican or constitutional monarchy. In the 20th century, it has been eclipsed even more forcibly by the doctrine of democracy. Even political systems that are in practice purely despotic now tend to veil themselves in the forms of parliamentary democracy.

Thus, few today will say a good word for despotism, enlightened or otherwise. Yet a strong argument can be made that, in practice, only an enlightened despot can intelligently solve a country's problems, particularly when that country is ..."

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