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Monarchism Explained

Monarchism is advocating monarchy or a form of government in which the supreme authority is vested in a hereditary figure as a political system. 

This ideology can be further subdivided into Constitutional monarchism and Absolute monarchism.

Constitutional Monarchism refers to a monarchy where the country is ruled by a hereditary figure whose power is limited by constitution or a set of rules.

Absolute Monarchism on the other hand is a kind of monarchy where the monarch possesses all autocratic authority. Their actions are not restricted by any law.

Origins Of Monarchism

Monarchism dates back to 3000 BC. The earliest monarchies we are aware of existed in Egypt and Sumer. The concept of monarchy originated in prehistoric times and evolved over centuries. French King Louis XIV perfected a new form of government as 'absolute monarchy', by referring himself as the state. Constitutional monarchy originated in England, when the nobility under King John felt that he had abused his power and forced him to sign a document called the Magna Carta. However, the British monarchy was initially Absolute.

Some Historic Examples of Historic Monarchism

  • Great Britain- The British Empire in the 18th century officially became a constitutional monarchy and remains one to this day.

  • The empire of Japan/The kingdom of Japan- The Japanese Empire after the Meiji restoration in 1868 by Emperor Meiji the Great made Japan a constitutional monarchy built on the European lines and for some brief periods of time, Japan was an absolute Monarchy but for the most part it was a constitutional monarchy.

  • The German Empire- The German Empire formed in 1871 had the Kaiser or the Emperor as a mere figurehead with some powers but all the major powers rested with the Army and The Chancellor.

  • Sweden after the death of King Karl XII- After the death of King Karl XII or King Carolus Rex, Sweden had a constitutional monarchy and continues to have a constitutional monarchy to this day 300 years after it was adopted.

Some Historic Examples of Absolute Monarchism

  • Kingdom of Prussia- From it’s prominence under the 'the Soldier King' Fredrick Wilhelm I to the unification of Germany under König (later on Kaiser) Wilhelm I, Prussia was an absolute Monarchy and had no parliament, constitution or an elected body and the Nation was ran almost entirely by the King.

  • The Russian Empire- The Russian Empire from its founding by Tsar Peter the Great to its end under Tsar Nikolai II was an absolute Monarchy where there was no power to challenge the rule of Tsar and that of the Royal family.

  • Ottoman Empire- The Ottoman Empire from its founding in 1299 to its ending in 1922 was an absolute Monarchy with the only force powerful enough to challenge the power of Sultan being the army itself. 

  • Swedish Empire up until the death of King Karl XII- Swedish Empire was some of the finest examples of an absolute Monarchy at its two peaks, firstly under Emperor Gustav Adolph II and then under Emperor Karl XII.

  • France under Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte- After Napoléon Bonaparte seized power of the French government in 1804, he transformed the Republic into an absolute Monarchy and it stayed that way until France's final surrender after the Battle of Waterloo.

  • Maratha Empire- The Marathas were some of the most dominant nations in modern Indian history and the King held immense power and could remove anyone he deemed unfit at any given point of time.

A Case For Monarchism

  • There is a presence of a large populace devoted to the Monarchy which sparks a sense of patriotism among the public.

  • The lack of political competition allows for more stability in the country.

  • The symbolism attached with the Monarchy allows for citizens to have a greater sense of responsibility to protect that provide.

A Case Against Monarchism

  • A single family or a very small group of people hold a lot of control over the affairs of the country.

  • The lack of political competition acts as a double-edged sword as there is no political body to keep the acts of the royal family in check.

  • A royal system runs like any inherently capitalist system which pushes the poor into more and more poverty and makes the rich richer, this causes 2 things 1 is a huge divide between wages and income between the classes and secondly creates a ripe system for any sort of revolution/ overthrow of government.

  • Curbing of Rights is a very big problem in an absolute monarchy.

  • Any form of dissent isn’t tolerated and heavily reprimanded.

  • A secular system cannot be maintained due to the varying versions of the heavenly mandate which comes to a royal family.

Till Next Time, The Alpha Theory

~Uddeshya Agrawal

~Risika Singh


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