Q:

What are characteristics of a monarchy?

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Quick Answer

Monarchy is a historical form of government that places most or all of the ruling power in the hands of a single individual. Monarchies such as those in medieval Europe operated on the principle of divine right, which posits that kings and queens derive their right to rule from a deity.

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Full Answer

Two main types of monarchies exist: absolute monarchies and constitutional monarchies. Historical absolute monarchies focused more on divine right, which was passed down through inheritance, typically to the eldest son. Absolute monarchies often existed in countries that operated under the feudal system. This system placed the monarch above a group of landed barons who were expected to show fealty and provide the monarch with any and all resources requested from their respective provinces.

Constitutional monarchies, on the other hand, do not grant the monarch full power. Instead, the monarch must share power with a legislative body and operate within previously established parameters of law. The royal family of England is a modern-day example of a constitutional monarchy, although the royal family of the United Kingdom holds little to no political power. Decisions are made by Parliament's House of Lords and House of Commons. Many monarchies as of 2015 are mostly ceremonial and cultural in nature.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the differences between a monarchy and a democracy?

    A:

    There are many differences between a monarchy and a democracy, the main one being that a monarchy bestows the power to make decisions and laws. In a democracy, the people of a nation hold some powers of government.

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  • Q:

    How does a monarchy work?

    A:

    Robert Wilde explains on About.com that a monarchy works by investing complete sovereignty in one person, called the monarch, who is the head of state. A monarch holds this position until death or abdication.

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  • Q:

    What are the advantages of a monarchy?

    A:

    A major advantage of a monarchy is that only one person makes the decisions for the entire nation, which eliminates decision-making time and reduces political arguments. A monarchy is a form of government that has one ruler and a chain of command governing the nation. Varying forms of monarchies exist.

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  • Q:

    What is a dual monarchy ?

    A:

    A dual monarchy is when one monarch rules over two self-governing kingdoms, sharing government structures like the military and foreign policy. The term usually refers to Austria-Hungary, which existed from 1867 to 1918.

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