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Enlightened despot

The term enlightened despot is a direct link to the the Enlightenment, a period in the 18th and early 19th century.

Enlightened despots were monarchs who distinguished themselves from regular despots[?] by the way they governed. Enlightened despots ruled their subjects with the principles of the Enlightenment. This meant that the monarchs ruled with the purpose to develop their subjects. They didn't rule by pleasing the nobility, as regular despots did, but ruled for the well-being of their subjects.

The abolition of serfdom in Europe was achieved by enlightened rulers.

Although their reigns were based upon Enlightenment, their thought about royal power were similar to that of regular despots. Enlightened despots found that they had the right to govern by birth.

Emperor Joseph II once said: "Everything for the people, nothing by the people".

Famous enlightened despots



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