An absolute monarchy is defined as a government that is headed by a ruler that is not restrained or limited by a constitution, laws, or regulations. Even if broad privileges are granted to the general population, if this structure is in place for the government, then it meets the qualification of being an absolute monarchy.
Here are the pros and cons of this government structure to evaluate.
List of the Pros of an Absolute Monarchy
1. Laws can be passed quickly to adapt to changing circumstances.
An absolute monarchy can act very quickly during extreme or emergency situations that may occur. There is no need to go through a congressional or parliament body to have decisions made. The monarch in this government structure has the final say on what can happen. If they decree that resources must be made available to a community, then actions can be taken right away to help people.
2. The military within an absolute monarchy tends to be stronger.
An absolute monarchy creates a defensive force that protects their country from harm that is as strong as possible. This is done to protect the family, which also protects the general population at the same time. Many absolute monarchies require able-bodied individuals to serve a minimum amount of time in the military as well, which allows each household to be invested into the welfare of the country in some way.
3. Security levels are high within an absolute monarchy.
Crime can happen anywhere. Within the structure of an absolute monarchy, a strict set of laws that are consistently enforced creates higher levels of security for the general population. To enforce these laws, a higher level of military or police presence is usually seen throughout each community. When laws are broken, actions are swiftly taken to limit the harm an offender might try to cause to others.
4. There is one consistent face for international negotiation.
The international community knows, at all times, who has the final say for any treaty or political negotiation. Monarchs may decide to take on these duties themselves, or they may appoint a specific individual to represent their best interests. Even if they are not directly involved, the final word on any matter of government rests with the monarch when the government is structured as an absolute monarchy.
5. It allows long-term goals to be implemented for the society.
In the United States, a Presidential administration has a maximum of 8 years, under elective circumstances, to implement a strategy to achieve specific long-term goals that benefit everyone. Under the structure of an absolute monarchy, a ruler has a lifetime to implement long-term goals. A family that stays in power can work for multiple generations toward a specific agenda. That makes it much easier to establish oneself as a global leader in a specific area while addressing societal concerns and needs simultaneously.
6. An absolute monarchy can save people a lot of money.
Billions of dollars are spent every 2 years on new election cycles in the United States, and the figure keeps rising. Since 1992, the U.S. taxpayers have spent nearly $40 billion on elections. Similar figures are found in other republics and democracies around the world. Within an absolute monarchy, those funds can be directed toward other needs the society may have. Using the U.S. figure as an example, even if a monarch took a 25% cut off the top from that figure, there would still be enough money left over to solve issues like hunger and poverty.
List of the Cons of an Absolute Monarchy
1. In most instances, citizens in lower socioeconomic classes receive fewer privileges.
The goal of an absolute monarchy is to retain power for as long as possible. To do so, it becomes necessary to place any competitors for the ruling position at a disadvantage should they attempt a coup. Reinforcing power structures by rewarding faithful individuals in the noble class, while restricting the rights of the general population, is a common method used to retain control.
2. Bad leadership can take an excelling nation and cripple it.
Within the context of an absolute monarchy, what the ruler decrees becomes the law of the land. This power can be used for good. It can also be used to commit terrible atrocities or bankrupt the economy while funneling resources toward personal wealth. Because there is absolute power involved, it is difficult for anyone to stop someone with ill intent, since the leader can simply outlaw any opposition to their point of view.
3. It increases the potential of societal rebellion.
An absolute monarchy is able to stay in power for as long as the people allow it, either through desire, intimidation, or outright fear and oppression. Eventually, if the people are being treated poorly for long enough, there is a higher risk of some form of rebellion forming within the country. Rebellions within an absolute monarchy tend to be violent and deadly on both sides.
4. The line of leadership is already established.
People within an absolute monarchy have no say in who gets to be the leader of their nation. Most absolute monarchies are governed by a single family, which then declares, through a line of ascension, who will become the next leader to govern. This type of structure further increases the chances of a rebellion occurring because there is no guarantee on how well a future leader will govern. Some leaders may be forced into the role, even if they don’t want to serve in that position.
5. Military might can be used against the people.
Although having a stronger military can be beneficial within the structure of an absolute monarchy, it can also be problematic for the general population. The military can be used domestically to enforce laws, just as it can be used internationally to protect or expand borders. The structure of an absolute monarchy funnels tax dollars toward the very forces that can be used to oppress the general population in the first place.
6. Popularity becomes a component of governing.
Absolute monarchs are not bound by any restrictions. They must simply stay in power. Remaining popular means ensuring that key components of a society stay pleased with what they are going. Governing within this structure of government becomes less about what the people need, and more about what will keep the monarch popular enough to remain in power.
7. The minority can suppress the majority.
There is no elective process within the structure of an absolute monarchy. Even if the privilege of voting is permitted, the monarch has the final say on all matters. They can simply throw out the vote.
The pros and cons of an absolute monarchy show us that the speed of governing increases under this structure, though that may not always be a benefit. Monarchs are permitted to do virtually anything they want to do in this structure as well, which can lead to oppression and tyranny.
Blog Post Author Credentials
Louise Gaille is the author of this post. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Louise has almost a decade of experience in Banking and Finance. If you have any suggestions on how to make this post better, then go here to contact our team.