|About the Book|
The first three quarters of the 18th century saw the dynastic principle and the institution of monarchy politically supreme throughout the world. Two seminal events, the American war of independence and the French revolution, served to change allMoreThe first three quarters of the 18th century saw the dynastic principle and the institution of monarchy politically supreme throughout the world. Two seminal events, the American war of independence and the French revolution, served to change all this. The United States emerged as a vigorous democratic republic which soon led to the permanent adoption of republican forms throughout most of the American continent. The revolution in France, by contrast, proved to be the opening chapter of a struggle for supremacy in Europe between reform and reaction that was to last for over 100 years. Not until the First World War was the issue finally resolved, with the institution of monarchy henceforth playing only an incidental role in world affairs.The book traces and analyses this long decline of monarchy and the corresponding rise of the republic to become the most common form of government today. The institutional divide, however, persists. Almost every nation in the world today is clearly and consciously labeled either republic or monarchy but the difference between the two is no longer simply one of function in government. There are hereditary monarchs and republican presidents who exercise authority within the framework of a constitution- there are hereditary monarchs and republican presidents who still wield autocratic powers, and there are those of both titles who function purely as ceremonial heads of state. The days when monarchy stood as the symbol of old fashioned privilege and aristocratic oppression and the republic as the vision of liberty, equality and fraternity are long past .The author, while certainly sympathetic to the idea of constitutional monarchy, presents asbalanced an approach as possible in considering all aspects of this republican-royal dichotomy, how this has come about, and the future prospects of those kingdoms which remain.