Types of Monarchy

Absolute Monarchy :

It is such monarchical form of government where the monarch has the power to rule his or her land or state and its citizens freely. All the people, land and properties of the nation belong to him/her. In an absolute monarchy there is no constitution or body of law above what is decreed by the sovereign (king or queen). As a theory of civics, absolute monarchy puts total trust in well-bred and well-trained monarchs raised for the role from birth.

One of the best-known historical examples of an absolute monarch was Louis XIV of France. His alleged statement, L'état, c'est moi (The State, It is me), summarizes the fundamental principle of absolute monarchy (sovereignty being vested in one individual). Although often criticized for his extravagance, his best-known legacy being the huge Palace of Versailles, he reigned over France for a long period, and some historians consider him a successful absolute monarch. More recently, revisionist historians have questioned whether Louis' reign should be considered 'absolute', given the reality of the balance of power between the monarch and the nobility.

Until 1905, the Tsars of Russia also governed as absolute monarchs. Peter the Great reduced the power of the nobility and strengthened the central power of the Tsar, establishing a bureaucracy and a police state. This tradition of absolutism was built on by Catherine the Great and other later Tsars. Although Alexander II made some reforms and established an independent judicial system, Russia did not have a representative assembly or a constitution until the 1905 Revolution.

Throughout much of history, the Divine Right of Kings was the theological justification for absolute monarchy. Many European kings, such as the Tsars of Russia, claimed that they held supreme autocratic power by divine right, and that their subjects had no right to limit their power. James I and Charles I of England tried to import this principle; fears that Charles I was attempting to establish absolutist government along European lines was a major cause of the English Civil War. By the 19th century, the Divine Right was regarded as an obsolete theory in most countries in the Western World, except in Russia where it was still given credence as the official justification for the Tsar's power.

Current existing absolute monarchies are Brunei, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland and Vatican City.

Constitutional Monarchy :

It is such a constitutional government where the monarch is bound by national constitution. Most constitutional monarchies have a parliamentary system in which the hereditary or elected king or the queen is the head of the state with executive power and directly or indirectly elected prime minister is the head of the government. This type of monarchy is known as Limited Monarchy too.

Constitutional monarchy occurred in Europe after the French Revolution. General Napoleon Bonaparte is considered the first monarch proclaiming himself as embodiment of the nation, rather than as a divinely-appointed ruler; this interpretation of monarchy is basic to continental constitutional monarchies. G.W.F. Hegel, in Philosophy of Right (1820) justified it philosophically, according well with evolving contemporary political theory and with the Protestant Christian view of Natural Law. Hegel forecast a constitutional monarch of limited powers, whose function is embodying the national character and constitutional continuity in emergencies, per the development of constitutional monarchy in Europe and Japan. Moreover, the ceremonial office of president (e.g. European and Israeli parliamentary democracies), is a contemporary type of Hegel's constitutional monarch (whether elected or appointed), yet, his forecast of the form of government suitable to the modern world might be perceived as prophetic. The Russian and French presidents, with their stronger powers, might be Hegelian, wielding power suited to the national will embodied.

Current existing constitutional monarchies are mostly associated with Western European countries such as the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Luxembourg, Monaco, Liechtenstein, and Sweden. In such cases it is the prime minister who holds the day-to-day powers of governance, while the King or Queen (or other monarch, such as a Grand Duke, in the case of Luxembourg, or Prince in the case of Monaco and Liechtenstein) retains only minor to no powers. Different nations grant different powers to their monarchs. In the Netherlands, Denmark and in Belgium, for example, the Monarch formally appoints a representative to preside over the creation of a coalition government following a parliamentary election, while in Norway the King chairs special meetings of the cabinet.

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