Comparing And Contrasting Monarchy Vs. DemocracyThis print version free essay Comparing And Contrasting Monarchy Vs. Democracy.
Category: History Other
Autor: aihollis 26 January 2013
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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
Because the definition of the term democracy opposite to monarchy and aristocracy rather creates confusion with regard to constitutional monarchies instead of establishing clarity, it is more appropriate to define democracy opposite to authoritarian and totalitarian regimes:
Democracy Form of government, where a constitution guarantees basic personal and political rights, fair and free elections, and independent courts of law.
Totalitarian regime Government by a little group of leaders on the basis of an ideology, that claims general validity for all aspects of life and usually attempts to replace religion. The regime does not tolerate any deviation from its state ideology. Regime opponents are persecuted, tortured, detained in concentration camps and members of ethnic minorities are killed in mass executions (genocide).
Historic examples of totalitarian regimes include: National Socialism (Germany under Hitler, 1933-1945) and Stalinism.
Authoritarian regime Government by a little group of leaders. In contrast to totalitarian regimes, authoritarian regimes have no distinct state ideology and grant some amount of freedom (e.g. economic and cultural) as long as their rule is not jeopardized. The most important goal of authoritarian regimes is the maintenance of power and the personal enrichment on cost of the country and its population.
Theocracy "Government by God": in reality this means government by religious leaders. Usually a certain interpretation of ancient religious laws replaces modern forms of law and is enforced with utmost severity.
Example: Islamic Republic of Iran.
Democracy - Key Elements
In order to deserve the label modern democracy, a country needs to fulfill some basic requirements - and they need not only be written down in it's constitution but must be kept up in everyday life by politicians and authorities:
• Guarantee of basic Human Rights to every individual person vis-à-vis the state and its authorities as well as vis-à-vis any social groups (especially religious institutions) and vis-à-vis other persons.
• Separation of Powers between the institutions of the state:
Government [Executive Power],
Parliament [Legislative Power] und
Courts of Law [Judicative Power]
• Freedom of opinion, speech, press and massmedia
• Religious liberty
• General and equal right to vote (one person, one vote)
• Good Governance (focus on public interest and absence of corruption)
Churchill on Democracy
This famous quote attributed to the former British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) focuses right on the weak spot of democracy:
There is no such thing as the "perfect form of government" on earth, but any other form of government produces even less desirable results than democracy. Until today, no other form of government has been invented that could regulate public affairs better than democracy. (DEMOCRACY-BUILDING.INFO)
Modern democracy had a lot of inspiration from the ancient Greek systems of democracy. The revival of the studies of Greek and Roman civilizations during the period of renaissance led to the heightened interest in democracy and the sciences in Europe during the middle ages (1000 AD to 1700 AD). One of the earliest parliaments of elected representatives, the English Parliament of 1265 which was established by Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester. The introduction of the bill of rights in Britain in 1689 provided freedom of speech and banned cruel or unusual punishment. The Bill of Rights resulted in strengthening the parliament and reduction of authority of the monarchy in Britain. Though it was not a comprehensive democratic setup, it paved the way for major later developments in representative democracy. Meanwhile the cantons (districts) of Swiss federation formed a direct system of democracy in around 1200 AD which continued till date. (Aby The Liberal)
What effects does political democracy have on such development outcomes as economic growth and socioeconomic equality? Competing theoretical models have been proposed that represent each of the possibilities: democracy as facilitating development, democracy as a hindrance to development, and democracy as bearing no independent relationship to development outcomes. Each of these theoretical models is explicated and, then, the evidence from quantitative, cross-national tests of the effects is reviewed. Overall, the evidence provided by the approximately dozen studies for each outcome yields few robust conclusions with respect to the theoretical models. To guide in the evaluation of the evidence, the studies are in turn distinguished by such design characteristics as sample, period observed, measures used, and form of relationship specified. This procedure, while it does not produce definitive support for any of the models, does assist in interpreting the results of past research as well as generating fertile guidelines for future research. (Springer, Part of Springer Science+Business Media)
Modern American democracy is in the form of a democratic republic or a representative democracy. A representative democracy came about in the United States because the colonists were tired of taxation without representation and wanted a more fair system where the people had more say in the rule of the country. They did not desire the Athenian form of democracy however; as they feared it would give the people too much power and would lend control of the government to the uneducated masses. What they came up with was a representative democracy wherein elected representatives rather than direct rule by the people rule the government. These representatives are elected with the idea that they will accurately represent their constituents, but in case some don’t, the U.S. government is divided into three branches to keep corruption in check. These three branches are the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches. No one branch contains absolute power, rather, each branch is balanced off of the others creating a system of checks and balances to protect the principals of democracy. This system is in no way perfect, and this is why we must pursue a more perfect form of democracy and a more perfect union between our citizens, states and country (Pious; Sanford 20-27). (ThinkQuest )
Democracy and Monarchy are two forms of government that show lot of differences between them. Democracy is a form of government in which the power of governing is derived from the people. On the other hand monarchy is a form of government in which an individual called the monarch is given all the political power. The monarch is the head of state in a monarchy. Democracy had its origin in ancient Greece. Monarchy did not have a clear definition. On the other hand constitutional monarchies such as the United Kingdom and Thailand are considered monarchies. On the contrary democracy is a form of government headed by elected representatives.
One of the primary differences between democracy and monarchy is that in democracy all are equal in the eyes of law. On the other hand the monarch is the law in the case of monarchy. It is very important to know that the individuals from the heritage and bloodline get the power and position in the case of monarchy. On the other hand the power lies in the hands of the people to elect the government of their choice. It only means that democracy supports election. Election is people’s choice in democracy.
It is interesting to note that there are different forms of democracy, namely, representative democracy, parliamentary democracy, liberal democracy, constitutional democracy and direct democracy. On the other hand monarchy is also of various forms such as absolute monarchy and constitutional monarchy. There are other types of monarchy too such as elective monarchy and hereditary monarchy. In a hereditary monarchy the position of monarch is inherited by one’s relatives according the customary order of succession.
It is to be understood that democracy is well based on equality and freedom. On the other hand monarchy is different in the sense that the monarch is not restricted by law as he is the one who frames the law in the land. In democracy the citizens are promised in terms of equality and freedom. On the contrary monarchy does not restrict the freedom of the individuals but the privilege depends on the considerations of the monarch. (Aron)
In Conclusion I stated Monarchy and Democracy with details including their definition, history, and most important the effects they both have on society. Monarchy and Democracy are different because democracy is all for equal in the eyes of law. On the other hand monarchy is a form of government in which an individual called the monarch is given all the political power. They are alike because they both pass laws, collect taxes, go to war and most important they run the country.