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ABSOLUTISM

Government in civil society in which the authority is totally vested in the ruler. In theory it is unlimited sovereignty that has no checks or balances either within the political system or from the people who are governed. In practice it is reflected in the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt and the tyrants of pre-Christian Greece and Rome. The governments of Louis XIV in France and the czars of Russia were absolute monarchies. Modern dictatorships under Communism are forms of absolutism. (Etym. Latin absolutus, completed, unfettered, unconditional, from absolvere, to free from, complete: ab-, away from + solvere, to loosen.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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