DBQ2: Views of Absolutism


Jacques Benigne Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux, served as tutor to the French heir to the throne.  Bossuet strongly supported absolutism in this excerpt from his treatise titled Politics Derived from Holy Writ.

We have already seen that all power is of God...Rulers then act as the ministers of God and as his lieutenants on earth.  It is through them that God exercises his empire...The royal throne is not the throne of a man, but the throne of God himself...

Note what is said in Ecclesiasticus: "God has given to every people its ruler."...He therefore governs all peoples and gives them their kings...

But kings, although their power comes from on high,...must employ it with fear and self-restraint, as a thing coming from God and of which God will demand an account...

God is infinite, God is all.  The prince, as prince, is not regarded as a private person: he is a public personage, all the state is him; the will of all the people is included in his.  As all perfection and all strength are united in God, so all the power of individuals is united in the person of the prince.

Document 3
a. On what basis does Bossuet justify absolutism?
b. Does Bossuet think there are any limitations on the king's power?  Why or why not?

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