Most people would like to have a choice in who leads their country, and so many people are more attracted to democracies. Dividing out the power to govern among many people who the voters see as the most fit for the job also seems like a better idea than bestowing all or a great amount of it in one individual, who may not even be a good leader for this country even if they do have royal blood. So, in a modern world where most countries would likely to be democracies, why might one country that has already established as a democracy in the Western world want to switch to a monarchy instead? What kind of situations might this happen in and are there any instances of this in real life?

I'd prefer non-violent, gradual reasons, but if there must be some kind of revolt or violent seizing of power, I'll make do. The monarchy would also preferably stay in place for a long amount of time, so the king/queen wouldn't be overthrown within a couple of months after taking their throne.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it sounds like a question for Politics SE. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Jan 23 '18 at 5:07
  • $\begingroup$ A monarchy is basically an old form of dicatorship. Can you specify why you want a monarchy? $\endgroup$ – Fred Jan 23 '18 at 6:55
  • $\begingroup$ This definitely is not a worldbuilding question. Also, there are historical examples that can be analysed to answer your question. (France and Germany, for example) $\endgroup$ – Burki Jan 23 '18 at 8:21
  • $\begingroup$ it happened in Norway. $\endgroup$ – Jasen Jan 23 '18 at 9:20

Ultimately, even democracies need a good old-fashioned dictator from time to time to get things done. This is in essence the rationale behind the declarations of State of Emergency by certain governments; what they're saying is that while the emergency is happening, voting is suspended, the constitution is suspended, and everyone has to do what the leader says.

In practice in most democracies, this is used to marshal responses to cyclones (or typhoons, hurricanes or tornadoes depending on your region), tsunamis, volcano eruptions or other natural disasters. Generally, nothing is really done that would violate the constitution anyway, and when all is back under control the state of emergency is lifted.

That said, many of the countries affected by the 'Arab Spring' had States of Emergency in force for around 30 years, with the leaders clinging to power via that method. So, it can be abused.

Imagine a nation where they're faced with constant threats; war, famine, natural disaster. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs dictates that the populace just want to survive. Their sense of significance (represented by their ability to vote) is no longer as important to them as that sense of security they get from a competent government managing armies, food supplies, disaster relief, etc.

In such a case, a long term benevolent leader who has proven to be fair and competent in distribution of vital supplies, dealing with insurgents, etc. may be seen as a viable 'permanent' alternative to constantly having to vote for someone who says one thing to get voted in and then always does something else. Reliability and trust comes into play here and it may well be that electing someone like our 'hero' on a permanent basis means the populace can focus on the day to day of their lives, and leave the strategic planning with someone they can trust.

What history has taught us though is that the competence of the father is not always visited upon the son. (Not saying this selection should be along gender lines, this is just a figure of speech.) In that sense, I suspect that instead of a traditional hereditary monarchy, you'd have a council select a new leader for a lifetime appointment upon the death of the last king or queen. Kind of like a supreme court judge appointment in the USA; selection based on competency and the council then reverts back to executing the orders of the new monarch and in time sets about succession planning when the time is appropriate.


I'm going to stay on the idea of "want", reasons a country might "want" monarchy rather than democracy.

1) Cult of personality. Someone with a celebrity or even god-like status or whose recent heroic acts saved or altered the country. Such a person could be swept into power on the shoulders of the masses, even bypassing elections. Moreover, if the person has bloodties to an early monarchy it could be argued as righting an old wrong.

2) Failure unique to democracy or seen to be unique to democracy. a) corruption ie a supposedly democratic system in which voting is rigged, positions are sold, etc. b) gerrymandering ie some votes are rendered null due to complicated rules such as regional districting with tricky maps. c) disproportionate representation: democracy is still majority rule. If the majority is of a caste, class or ethnicity divided from or hostile to the minorities, a single charismatic ruler might be seen to unite them all.

3) Marriage as both a how and why. Uniting the Republic with a Kingdom and accepting the rule of the Monarchs. There would need to be a compelling reason (technological, magical, financial advances) to make this appealing or necessary. Unless it were done by conquest: "Hi, we're your Kings. Parliament is disbanded."

4) Religion or prophecy. A belief of the people that is older and stronger than the rule of law or voting. A prophecy can be exploited to undermine political rivals or avert a catastrophe such as civil war or Brexit.

5) Magic. A person with powers, technology or allies powerful enough for them to ascend/create the throne.

6) War. Civil war in which one side declares a monarchy. War treaty in which the country is given away to one of the victors or forced to accept treaty conditions as part of its surrender. Annexed.

7) Coup. An elected executive official who disbands other branches of government or voting for an indefinite period. Or who is catapulted into leadership through the plot of the military or intelligencia.

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    $\begingroup$ Or maybe you're Norway. $\endgroup$ – Jasen Jan 23 '18 at 9:20

History offers some examples.

Germany elected Hitler because he promised to restore Germany as an economic power. He became the Fuhrer (chief) and kaiser (Caesar / emperor) once his National Socialist Workers party held a majority. Had he not over reached into Russia, we might be seeing the third generation of the Hitler dynasty today.

The Baath party in Iraq was elected, Saddam, the hired muscle (equivalent to the paid rioters in US politics), became a monarch by walking into the elected president's office one day and saying "get out of my office". Had his counter intelligence operation of exaggerating the country's progress with nuclear and biological weapons capabilities not backfired, he might still be in power today, or retiring and turning power over to his sons.

On a more hypothetical note, in times of crisis it may be more desirable to have continuity of leadership than regular elections. If the leader is well liked and competent, and his/her offspring are equally so, I can see that evolving into a monarchy. In the USA, there is a tradition that presidents can serve no more than two terms, but other countries have no such rules. In Canada, Trudeau 1 governed 15 years for example. See @timb s answer for a better explanation.

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    $\begingroup$ Hi Pojo-Guy. Good answer; I just thought I'd add that term limits are also a historically recent development; Franklin Delanor Roosevelt was elected to 4 terms as I recall, and died in office. While there were some other presidents between he and his uncle Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, there was a dynastic element to Franklin's ascendance. Also, the 4 terms covered WW2; a time of crisis. Having him in power for so long arguably aided the US quite a bit during that time because of the stability in his relationship with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Jan 23 '18 at 8:12

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