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What is the Divine Right of Kings, and what are some of its good and bad points?

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kcsk1998 | Student, Grade 10 | Salutatorian

Posted October 4, 2013 at 11:36 AM via web

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What is the Divine Right of Kings, and what are some of its good and bad points?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 4, 2013 at 12:25 PM (Answer #1)

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The main benefits of the idea of the Divine Right of Kings fell to the monarchs themselves.  There were few good points from the point of view of the people whom they ruled.

The Divine Right of Kings held, as its name suggests, that kings ruled by divine right.  That is, they had been appointed to rule by God.  This meant that no one had the right to remove them from power.

This doctrine was, of course, very advantageous for the monarchs themselves.  It helped to make their rule seem legitimate.  That means that it helped to make it seem that they had a right to rule.  This made their rule more acceptable to the people they ruled.  This idea also helped monarchs to fend off claims from the Church.  The Church sometimes tried to claim that it should have power over monarchs because it represented the will of God.

The main negative aspect of this doctrine is that it gave the kings carte blanche to rule as they wished.  This made it bad for the people who were ruled.  Since they were appointed by God, kings did not (they felt) have to give any thought to what anyone on Earth wanted.  Therefore, they could abuse their subjects with impunity.

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