I, the god of my world, have managed to create what I think is a new kind of monarchy! (sticks out chest in pride) Despite my continued insistence that this monarchy is completely different from others before it, the people keep thinking about the classic forms of monarchy...more on that later.

The monarchy (I prefer to call it a democratic monarchy) exists in our far future: it spans multiple star systems, but does not rule over the entirety of the Milky Way galaxy. I decided that I hated the classic forms of nobility and instead chose to expand the royal family, those who would definitely have royal blood. I mean, the empire is larger than those previously seen in history...

The Emperor/Empress, instead of directly ruling over the Empire, instead heads the Judicial branch of government (judicial, executive, and legislative, hence the democratic monarchy). While the Emperor/Empress can directly rule, usually it falls to the Crown Prince/Princess to be the head of the executive branch. The legislative branch is headed by the Imperial Assembly, which is made up of representatives from the various planets in the Empire as well as sovereign states (either sovereign states that exist on parts of a planet much like today's Earth nations or sovereign states that consist of several planets).

Setting aside the Imperial Assembly, the Crown Prince/Princess usually succeeds the Emperor/Empress when he or she dies. When this happens, a new Crown Prince/Princess is chosen from among the children of the royal family. (I think there is an age range to qualify someone for this, but dear me, I haven't paid attention so closely yet.) Part of the democratic process comes from this election/coronation: All of the eligible candidates (setting aside those who voluntarily decided to give up ascending the throne) would be in the running, trying to prove their case through their past accomplishments, and sucking up to the people. (How these humans manage to ascend to the throne is currently beyond me, I have other things to focus on.)

Now, the Empire also happens to be in a world where magic and psionic powers exist. It was founded after a cataclysmic world war that drove almost all of the people who could use magic and psionic powers into space, who knows where they all went? The catch here is that people could suddenly be born with magic and psionic powers, so over the years the population with those powers would slowly form and increase in number. To counteract any sort of traditional assassination attempt, and some other reason, the first Emperor decided to have multiple children, and encourage those children to have multiple children, so even if not all ascend to the throne, the royal bloodline would theoretically be hard to kill off. (Mates for members of the royal family would be taken from the people of the Empire, though. God says no incest and inbreeding a la Hapsburg.)

The other reason is that since this Empire is based upon a rather unorthodox monarchy where one family bears the burdens of leadership, it would be cruel to force leadership upon those uninterested in it, or those whose talents are needed elsewhere. So having multiple children would increase the chance of capable royals serving in government in appropriate places, or even serving the Empire in the public sector.

But there are no (scoffs) nobles. All members of the royal family are considered as royalty a la Britannian Empire (Code Geass).

How would society in the Empire, as well as the inner politics of the vast royal family, work out?

Extra) Would there also be internal power struggles in the royal family and how would it work out? (The kind where after the Crown Prince/Princess was chosen, another candidate decides he or she is better fit for that role, or even as Emperor/Empress.)

Extra) So there are those people who absolutely slobber over the idea of a more classic authoritarian monarchy, instead of one corrupted by democratic ideals. What sort of civil wars would erupt in this empire over these two differing forms of monarchy?


closed as too broad by Cyn, Measure of despare., Rekesoft, bukwyrm, Frostfyre Apr 8 at 12:39

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ I think this question is too broad for this SE. You're asking for an entire society across the galaxy. Think about Earth and if you could generalize Earth culture, now multiply that greatly. In addition, things like whether or not intrigue exists are again highly culturally dependent. In U.S. history, the Articles of Confederation did not work well. In the Netherlands, a similar government did. If you're able to get more of those details you haven't thought of yet and narrow down your questions to more specific things, that would be better for us to help you. And I also recommend the sandbox. $\endgroup$ – mVitus Apr 8 at 1:40
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site JunKyoya, please take the tour and read up in our help centre about how we work: How to Ask I second the suggestion of mVitus, the sandbox would help you narrow your question down to fit here: worldbuilding.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7183/… $\endgroup$ – Measure of despare. Apr 8 at 2:09
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    $\begingroup$ This sounds remarkably like the system of Imperial Circles in the Holy Roman Empire when the Emperor was always elected from the House of Hasburg. Who you reference in your question. Elective Monarchies predate Hereditary Monarchies, so have been combined with many types of democracy before. $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Apr 8 at 8:25

So... When you strip away all the backstory, agenda, and spaciness, what you seem to be describing is;

1) three branches of government - executive, legislative and a judiciary
2) the Prince heads up the executive branch, but the judiciary is the 'senior' position
3) therefore one starts as ruler in the executive branch, and succeeds to the judiciary

If I've got this wrong, let me know in comments but this isn't terribly far removed from modern democracies.

Let's take Australia, Canada and other 'Commonwealth' democracies as an example. In these cases, the legislative branch of government is elected, and then they appoint a Governor General (head of state, also of the executive branch) which has varying levels of authority. In Australia for instance the position is largely ceremonial because a Govenor General by the name of John Kerr actually exercised his power in the '70s, meaning that the legislative branch effectively took that power away for subsequent GGs, but I digress.

The government also appoints (or at least has a role in the appointment of) judges who sit on the High Court (similar to the Supreme Court in the US and he House of Lords in Britain) meaning that there is no true democratic process involved in the appointments of these positions, but there is also no relative power.

The judiciary (for example) can only interpret the law that already exists. Even in the US, the president doesn't have direct control over the laws of the land or even administrative functions outside of times of war - hence the recent declaration of emergency to force the government in the US to allocate funds to a glorified fence, but again I digress.

The point is, that if you're saying that your legislative branch is elected, your head of state is (sort of) elected, and the judiciary is populated by the head of state as the head of the judiciary retires or dies, then this is just a variation on existing themes.

It's also very similar to the relationship between the Emperor and the Senate for most of the history of the Roman Empire.

So to cover the issue of internal power struggles, well you've got a large pool of people wanting the executive power, and ultimately they'll play political games to undercut their opponents in the eyes of those that make the decision and promote their own case. The legislative arm of government will undercut the power base of the emperor and the judge as much as possible, and they'll each work in concert to do the same back to the legislative assembly.

Given that most people would rather be head of the executive arm instead of the judiciary, what won't happen is discord between the emperor and the judge. In point of fact, the emperor is probably going to make every effort to ensure the happy, healthy and good life of the judge to prolong their role as president.

Bottom line however is that in such an environment, you're unlikely to have a large number of civil wars over the role of emperor or judge, for the same reason that you don't have those fights today; all the power is really in the legislative arm of the government and because they're elected positions and probably term limited to boot, true power will be shared to a much greater degree than it would be in the other arms of the government, and certainly more attainable.

In point of fact, unlike what happened in the Roman Empire what's likely to happen here is that all your royals will eventually corner the market on seats in the legislative arm (unless they're explicitly prohibited from serving there) and as you say, there's always going to be royals who aren't interested in taking on the mantle of leadership. If you put some other disincentives on it as well, like a vow of poverty, well you further decrease competition for the roles.

So ultimately the answer to your question comes down to one of balance. Ideally, the balance of power lies with the elected officials, and the royal positions are similar to those currently in place in Britain insofar as the House of Lords acts as a court of final appeal and the Queen has no power to change the will of the House of Commons. In such a case, you still have a stable society with little political infighting. If on the other hand the legislative arm has little power, like in the Roman Empire, you're going to get the same periodic blood baths that occurred in that environment.


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