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.
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.Learn More
Many countries have democratic governments under different constitutional forms. France, Germany, India, Ireland and Italy are constitutional republics, while Japan, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada and the United Kingdom are constitutional monarchies. The United States, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico have presidential systems. France has a semi-presidential system, whereas Australia, Canada, India, Pakistan, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have parliamentary systems.Full Answer >
A government creates and enforces the laws that protect the rights and lives of citizens and discourages crime by punishing delinquents. Government provides an ordered, systematic way to ensure the safety of the citizenry. Without a government, people would be less likely to respect contracts and agreements with one another due to the lack of an objective way to settle disputes.Full Answer >
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) contemplated a republic in which a community of people gave up individual rights to promote the good of the community, rather than to a monarch or elected representatives, as stated by the Constitutional Rights Foundation. As a result, voting became the means of expressing the general will of "all the people" and to establish community statues and laws. This type of representation was called "direct democracy."Full Answer >
The term "oligarchy" refers to a form of government that concentrates power in the hands of an elite group, rather than a central figure, an elected assembly or the people at large, and the primary advantages appear to exist for the benefit of that elite group, while the disadvantages apply to the rest of the citizens who have to follow laws written to benefit that small group. Oligarchies often come about as a response to social disaster, such as the fallout in Germany after World War I or the ruling group in the fictitious country of Oceania that emerged in George Orwell's novel "1984."Full Answer >