‘The Philosophes were enemies to the Absolutist Regime’ How far do you agree with this verdict?
The philosophes were a group of radical thinkers and writers, who spoke out against the absolute monarch and his regime during a period known as the Enlightenment. Their extreme views and ideas made the people of France, who were being governed under the absolute monarch Louis XVI, begin to question society, the monarch and religion, and although not all of them apposed absolute monarchy, what they wrote sparked off an age of questioning and a desire for reason, where the church and the absolutist regime were undermined more and more as time went on.
The absolutist regime allowed the monarch to rule the land and citizens freely, with total power over the people, aristocracy and clergy. It meant Louis could choose his ministers and decide on policy without answering to anybody. He did not have to consult his subjects and they did not have the right to criticize him. The regime linked in a great deal with the Divine Right of Kings, the belief that the monarch was chosen by god and therefore only accountable to god.
In theory the absolutist regime sounds rather despotic and was great breeding grounds for a dictatorship. But in practice the most of the French found it acceptable. Louis did not abuse his power and often found his power limited by his subjects who under the Right of Remonstrance could criticise his policy. He also felt he was duty bound to behave responsibly whilst upholding law and to respect the nobles’ privileges. It was difficult for one man to rule a country of such great size on his own, and so Louis needed help to enforce law and order around the country, resulting in his power being shared.
However, there was a small group of people who did not find this regime acceptable and criticised the absolutist monarch and everything, from religion and education to war and politics, making way for more radical group of thinkers who spread...