sexta-feira, 5 de abril de 2013


Enlightened Despotism

In class today, we see that the enlightened despotism

characterized as an attempt at modernization adopted

in some countries of Europe in the eighteenth century, more precisely

since 1750, keeping in essence, an absolutist policy.

A group of nations with a typically agrarian economy, with low

urbanization index, dipped in a semi-feudal, marked

by a small commercial development, with a weak bourgeoisie

and dead, was the setting for these transformations. During this period,

some European monarchs and ministers decided to adopt the principles of

Enlightenment to establish social reforms, without relinquishing absolutism.

The foundations of royal power were redefined: the sovereign no longer

identified with the state itself, but became the first server

even for the sake of all subjects.

In this context, sovereign of Prussia, Austria, Russia, Spain

and Portugal launched themselves to undertake a series of reforms that

sought above all to reconcile the absolute authority of the monarch with

proposals for freedom of the Enlightenment, particularly in the present

thought of Voltaire, who fought the privileges of the aristocracy parasitism

and obscurantism of the clergy.

However, these monarchies, the ideals were not successful. Despots

enlightened not realize the great contradiction that would prevent

realization of his intentions. That's because they wanted to force the development their countries, bouncing natural steps of this process: admitted

the ideas of the Enlightenment, issued by the bourgeoisie, but tried to carry them without their participation.

They tried to reform the state from the state itself, through a policy

authoritarian and paternalistic, taking measurements and liberal character, not

However, barring any popular demonstration. "All the people without

the people "was the slogan of enlightened despots. Unsuccessful:

pressured by the nobility and the bourgeoisie without support, were overthrown

the throne or forced to backtrack in its reforms, which therefore

prevented their countries from becoming modern nations in

equal terms with the powers England and France.

The Enlightened Despotism in Eastern Europe

Prussia - The pinnacle of enlightened despotism in Prussia was hit in

government of Frederick the Great (1740-1786). Among its main

measures include:

• Abolished the torture of political prisoners, guaranteeing freedom of expression;

• Adopted a new code of justice;

• It granted freedom of worship to the people;

• He founded schools, making education compulsory;

• Promoted the agricultural and industrial development;

Frederick developed a strong sense of nationalism, demanding full

obedience to his orders. The highlight of his government were

military organizations, which ensured the domestically repressive force

and oversight necessary to state. The reforms implemented by

Prussian ruler, inspired by Enlightenment ideals of the time, were not intended

necessarily the welfare of the population, but the aggrandizement


Austria - The greatest example of enlightened despot was Joseph II (1780-1790)

- The only monarch who actually put into practice the ideas of philosophers

Enlightenment. Its main measures were:

• German as the official language;

• Abolition of slavery;

• Granting of religious freedom;

Russia - Catherine the Great (1762-1796) is considered one of the most celebrated enlightened despots. By assuming, took a number of initiatives,

such as:

• Instituted the Charter of Nobility;

• Over taxes farmers with higher taxes;

• Maintained servitude;

• We conducted a policy of expansion, attracting people into areas

Low density;

• Adopted the mercantilist policy which favored industrial development.

The Enlightened Despotism in Iberia

Spain - With the penetration of Enlightenment ideas in Spain in the reign

Carlos III, his minister Aranda, announced wide-ranging measures aimed

establish a mercantilism conducive to the development of the country. In that

context, intensified colonial exploitation, declined skills

the Holy Office and reshaped the educational system itself.

Portugal - The Portugal in enlightened despotism was exercised by the Marquis

Pombal, Minister of Don José I. At that time, Portugal was trying

recover the finances of the kingdom and the example of Spain, for survival

the nation was essential to strengthen the colonial ties. Pombal tried

reorganize the Portuguese economy, but could not overcome the

severe crisis that the kingdom passed.

In summary, the enlightened despotism was an attempt

by nations that aspired to become powers

example of France and England, and that it used to be

Enlightenment ideals of the time, albeit without success.