Etymology
Advertisement
absolutism (n.)

1753 in theology, of God's actions; 1830 in political science, "system of government where the power of the sovereign is unrestricted," in which sense it seems to have been introduced by British reformer and parliamentarian Maj. Gen. Thomas Perronet Thompson. See absolute and -ism.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
absolutist (n.)
Origin and meaning of absolutist
1830 in political science, "advocate of despotism" (Thompson), from absolute + -ist on model of French absolutiste (by 1820). From 1835 as an adjective. Compare absolutism. Used in a different sense in metaphysics by the followers of Fichte, Schelling and Hegel.
Related entries & more 
despotism (n.)

1751, "absolute power, unrestricted and unlimited authority," from French despotisme; see despot + -ism. By 1794 as "a political system based on an arbitrary government."

Tyranny is the abuse of absolute power, legal or usurped, and implies oppression. Despotism, in its earlier and still frequent meaning, does not necessarily imply either regard or disregard for the welfare of the subject; but there is also a tendency to give it essentially the same meaning as tyranny, using absolutism or autocracy where an unfavorable meaning is not intended. [Century Dictionary, 1897]
Related entries & more