What are the differences between an absolute monarchy and a representative government?

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In an absolute monarchy, in theory at least, the monarch or king rules by his own will. He is answerable to no one except God and natural law, and the people do not have a right to overthrow him or replace him if he displeases them. Louis XIV of France,...

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In an absolute monarchy, in theory at least, the monarch or king rules by his own will. He is answerable to no one except God and natural law, and the people do not have a right to overthrow him or replace him if he displeases them. Louis XIV of France, considered the best example of an absolutist monarch, allegedly said "L'etat c'est moi (I am the state)" and this statement, probably apocryphal, pretty neatly sums up absolutist theory. He was the physical embodiment of France, and in theory, everything he did was justified by virtue of the fact that he ruled by divine right. 

A representative government is more or less the opposite in theory of an absolute government. In a representative government, the people choose, through their vote, officials to make decisions for them. They govern based on the will of the people, and if they do not represent them appropriately, they can be removed from office. Where the monarch is utterly sovereign in an absolutist system, the people are sovereign in a representative government. This means that the powers of government are limited, usually by a written constitution that is itself the product of representatives of the people. Perhaps the best example of a representative government is that of the United States of America. 

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