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Comparing And Contrasting Monarchy Vs. Democracy

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Autor:   •  January 26, 2013  •  2,418 Words (10 Pages)  •  418 Views

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Comparing and Contrasting Monarchy vs. Democracy

As we explore the different but similar worlds of Monarchy and Democracy, Monarchy is described as an individual ruler who functions as the head of state and who achieves his position through heredity. As for Democracy it's based on equality and freedom and it's also known to be the most difficult type of government. In this paper I'll be discussing Monarchy and Democracy's definition, history, the effect they have on our society, also I'll be comparing the two.

Monarchy is a form of government in which supreme authority is vested in a single and usually hereditary figure, such as a king, and whose powers can vary from those of an absolute despot to those of a figure head. (Collins English Dictionary 5th Edition) Tradition says that Rome was ruled by seven kings before the foundation of the Republic. Although the number of kings may be a later invention, their existence is undoubted. In addition to traces of the monarchy in the Republican institutions, there archaeological proof: A form of the Latin word rex ("king"), for example, has been found inscribed on a Roman monument from the early sixth century B.C. The king's power, called imperium (from imperare, "Command"), was very great, embracing religious, military, and judicial affairs. (Noble)

Until 1603 the English and Scottish Crowns were separate, although links between the two were always close - members of the two Royal families intermarried on many occasions. Following the Accession of King James VI of Scotland (I of England) to the English Throne, a single monarch reigned in the United Kingdom. The last four hundred years have seen many changes in the nature of the Monarchy in the United Kingdom. From the end of the 17th century, monarchs lost executive power and they increasingly became subject to Parliament, resulting in today's constitutional Monarchy (The Royal Household)

From the beginning of time, humans have always needed some sort of leader, from Generals to Kings and Emperors to Mayors and Governors. Though today, the monarchs don't play a huge role in government today as they did a couple hundred years ago, they still represent the status of the country. Take England as an example; when Princess Diana died, it was an emotional period for the country and it took Queen Elizabeth the second a long time to admit that she was wrong to fly the flag at half-mast. This shows us that the monarch is just like us, humans. When Bloody Mary took over the throne, the country had no choice but to turn over their religious beliefs or they would be executed. A very dark time in the monarchy to be sure until a red-headed beacon of hope came in the form of Elizabeth the first. Look at France with Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI and how their actions destroyed France and led up to the French Revolution. Though we always seem to argue with the monarchy or our leaders, without them, we would all be lost. Take King George VI of England during World War II who had such a hard time with himself and his speech impediment. He overcame his fear of public speaking and helped his country get through World War II. The monarchy may be dying out but our feelings towards the monarchy needs to change in order to keep them and what they symbolize alive. They symbolize hope and freedom for their people. The monarchs may be regular humans like us but they have been given huge responsibilities in order to keep the morale of their people alive. (HubPages Inc.)

One view as to why modern constitutional monarchies continue to survive is that the individual royal families themselves have remained popular. Today, most contemporary monarchs work to be the embodiment of the state, and the focus of national unity. For example, in many constitutional monarchies the monarch's birthday is a national holiday, and an event marked with public patriotic events and parties; these events can also foster tourism. The sovereign, along with the larger royal families, project a modern image to the citizenry of a monarchy that is both caring and interested in the people and their country. Many members of modern royal families attempt to provide example, frequently making donations or participating in charity events, visiting poor or sick citizens, and making public appearances at high profile sporting or arts events. As long as a monarchy can remain popular in the public eye, there is little reason for the politicians to meddle, and those who do can easily find themselves at the receiving end of harsh public criticism. (Ethereal template)

U.S. president Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) defined democracy as: Democracy is by far the most challenging form of government - both for politicians and for the people. The term democracy comes from the Greek language and means "rule by the (simple) people". The so-called "democracies" in classical antiquity (Athens and Rome) represent precursors of modern democracies. Like modern democracy, they were created as a reaction to a concentration and abuse of power by the rulers. Yet the theory of modern democracy was not formulated until the Age of Enlightment (17th/18th centuries), when philosophers defined the essential elements of democracy: separation of powers, basic civil rights / human rights, religious liberty and separation of church and state.

Democracy - Classical Definition

Often democracy is defined opposite to other types of government:

Monarchy Government by a single ruler (king/queen, emperor)

Aristocracy Government by noblemen (hereditary)

Oligarchy Government by few persons

Theocracy "Government by God" (in reality this means government by religious leaders)

Dictatorship Government by people, that have seized power by force (often: military dictatorship)

Today, the majority of democratic countries in the world are republics, i.e officials are elected. Some well-established democratic countries in Europe, however, (the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg and the Scandinavian countries) are constitutional monarchies, i.e. a king or queen is head of state while the constitution guarantees nevertheless all basic rights as in any democratic republic and sets clear limits to duties and competences of the monarch. Such a king can be regarded as a stabilizing factor rather than as a danger for a democracy. Therefore the classical definition of democracy is little helpful - at least concerning monarchy.

Democracy - Modern Definition



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