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The Old Regime and the Enlightenment

absolute monarchy

Unrestrained power. Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries

old regime/ancien regime

The Political and Social system that existed in France before the French Revolution


state ruled over by a single person, as a king or queen

divine right

belief that a rulers authority comes directly from god.

constitutional monarchy

A King or Queen is the official head of state but power is limited by a constitution.


increase their wealth and power by obtaining large amounts of gold and silver and by selling more goods than they bought


a movement in the 18th century that advocated the use of reason in the reappraisal of accepted ideas and social institution

social contract

the idea that an entire society agrees to be governed by its general will

The Wealth of the Nations

written by Adam Smith, promoted laissez-faire, free-market economy, and supply-and-demand economics

laissez faire

the doctrine that government should not interfere in commercial affairs


thinkers of the Enlightenment


A political ideology that emphasizes the civil rights of citizens, representative government, and the protection of private property.


a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.


an economic system in which the central government directs all major economic decisions

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