Civilization Week 12 Enlightened Absolutism and the causes of the American Revolution

Question 1: What was “enlightened absolutism”?

Enlightened absolutism refers to the ruling practices of several 18th century monarchs, including Frederick the Great of Prussia, Princess Maria Theresa of Austria, and Empress Catherine of Russia. The practice was about valuing rationality in a leader above all else, and ruling explicitly for the good of the majority.

Question 2: What was the constitutional dispute between the colonists and the British government that led to the American Revolution? Give specific examples of how this constitutional dispute was evident in particular events.

The constitutional dispute was mostly over Britain’s excessive taxation and the colonists only having a small amount of legal representation. Britain was ruling from overseas and sending their governors to collect the taxes and enforce British law. For a while this worked, since the colonists were in charge of paying the governors and could revoke that pay if they disagreed with a governors actions. But the British withdrew this privilege, and along with raising import taxes they decided to take on the job of paying the governors themselves. Now the colonists had no way of controlling the governors, and the British products being shipped across seas were much more expensive. This created the protest line of “Taxation without Representation”. Some examples of this taxation are the sugar act, the stamp act, and the tea act. The tea act lead to the infamous Boston Tea Party, as well as coffee becoming a staple of American culture.

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