Enlightened DespotsThis is a featured page

An enlightened despot is a form of absolute monarchy in which rulers were influenced by the Enlightenment. They tended to allow religious toleration, freedom of speech and the press, and the right to hold private property. Most fostered the arts, sciences, and education. Joseph II of Austria is considered an enlightened despot because he has fully embraced the enlightened concept of the social contract. He said, "Everything for the people, nothing by the people." Joseph II had made many reforms throughout his time. One of his reforms is that he ended censorship of the press and theatre. Another one of his reforms is that he abolished brutal punishments.

File:Anton von Maron 006.png Joseph II of Austria

Catherine the Great is considered an enlightened despot because she was a great patron of the arts in Imperial Russia and incorporated many ideas of enlightened philosophers. One of Catherine the Great's reforms is that she set up a Legislative Commission to try to reform the legal system of the empire. Also, She increased healthcare by supervising the building of hospitals and development of vaccines.

File:Johann-Baptist Lampi d. Ä. 007.jpg Catherine the Great of Russia

If people did not follow the monarchs, the church and the monarch would torture them. This served as a threat and showed people that they should not involve themselves in the revolts. Torture such as stretching limbs and being brutally burned were used.

Enlightened Despots - Age of the EnlightenmentThis illustration shows a rebel being put on a wheel and turned around and around into oil and fire in which he would be burned.

Many people decided to revolt against the monarch. They realized it wasn't fair that they had no rights and were strictly led by the monarch. After the monarch was overthrown, people began to realize that they would have to rule themselves. Some people refused to go against the monarch due to cruel punishments and the idea of having to direct the land themselves. Others thought that this may be the start of a new time.

31-Copley1.jpg image by epppieThis illustration portrays citizens revolting against the monarch.

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