Monarchism is the advocacy of the establishment, preservation, or restoration of a monarchy as a form of government in a nation. A monarchist is an individual who supports this form of government out of principle, independent from the person, the Monarch.

In this system, the Monarch may be the person who sits on the throne, a pretender, or someone who would otherwise inhabit the throne but has been deposed.



In 1688, the Glorious Revolution and the overthrow of King James II established the principles of constitutional monarchy, which would later be worked out by Montesquieu and other thinkers. However, absolute monarchy, theorized by Hobbes in the Leviathan (1651), remained a dominant principle. In the 18th century, Voltaire and others encouraged "enlightened absolutism", which was embraced by the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II and Catherine II of Russia.

Absolutism continued to be the dominant political principle of sovereignty until the 1789 French Revolution and the regicide against Louis XVI, which established the concept of popular sovereignty upheld by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Monarchy began to be contested by the Republican principe. Counterrevolutionaries, such as Joseph de Maistre or Louis de Bonald, sought the restoration of the Ancien Régime, divided in the three estates of the realm, and the divine right of kings.

Following the ousting of Napoleon I in 1814, the Coalition restored the Bourbon Dynasty in pushing Louis XVIII to the French throne. The ensuing period, called the Restoration, was characterized by a sharp conservative reaction and the re-establishment of the Roman Catholic Church, supported by the ultramontanism movement, as a power in French politics. After the 1830 July Revolution and the overthrow of Charles X, the legitimist branch was defeated and the Orleanists, gathered behind Louis-Philippe, accepted the principle of constitutional monarchy.

The Spring of Nations in 1848 then set the signal for a new wave of revolutions against the European monarchies.

World War I and its aftermath saw the end of three major European monarchies, the Russian Romanov dynasty, the German Hohenzollern dynasty and the Austro-Hungarian Habsburg dynasty. In Russia, the 1917 February revolution resulted in the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II and the establishment of Bolshevik Russia and a civil war between the Bolshevik Red Army and the monarchist White Army from 1917 to 1921.

The rise of the Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919 saw an increase in support for monarchism, however efforts by Hungarian monarchists failed to bring back a royal head of state, and the monarchists settled for a regent, Admiral Miklós Horthy, to represent the monarchy until it could be restored. Horthy was regent from 1920 to 1944. In Germany a number of monarchists gathered around the German National People's Party which demanded the return of the Hohenzollern monarchy and an end to the Weimar Republic. The party retained a large base of support until the rise of Nazism in the 1930s.

With the arrival of Communism in Eastern Europe by 1945, the remaining Eastern European monarchies such as the Kingdom of Romania, the Kingdom of Hungary, the Kingdom of Bulgaria and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia were all abolished and replaced by socialist republics.

The aftermath of World War II also saw the return of monarchist and republican rivalry in Italy, in which a referendum was held on whether Italy should remain a monarchy or become a republic. The republican side won the referendum (by a narrow margin) and the modern Republic of Italy was created.

Monarchism as a political force internationally has substantially diminished since the end of the Second World War, though it had an important role in the 1979 Iranian Revolution and also played a role in the modern political affairs of Nepal. Nepal was one of the last states to have had an absolute monarch, which continued until King Gyanendra of Nepal was peacefully deposed in May 2008 and Nepal became a federal republic. One of the world's oldest monarchies was abolished in Ethiopia in 1974 with the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie.

Constitutional monarchies

Constitutional monarchies form the majority of the current monarchies. Since the middle of the 19th century, some monarchists have stopped defending monarchy on the basis of abstract, universal principles applicable to all nations, or even on the grounds that a monarchy would be the best or most practical government for the nation in question, but on local symbolic grounds that they would be a particular nation's link to the past.

The International Monarchist League, founded in 1943, which has been very influential in Canada and Australia, has always sought to promote monarchy on the grounds that it strengthens popular liberty, both in a democracy and in a dictatorship, because by definition the monarch is not beholden to politicians.

Hence, post-19th century debates on whether to preserve a monarchy or to adopt a republican form of government have often been debates over national identity, with the monarch generally serving as a symbol for other issues.

For example, in countries like Belgium and the Netherlands anti-monarchist talk is often centered around the perceived symbolism of a monarch contrasting with those nation's political culture of egalitarianism. In Belgium, another factor are the anti-Belgian sentiments of the separatist Flemish movement.

In Canada and Australia, by contrast, debates over monarchy represent or represented debates whose driving force concerned each nation's relationship with the United Kingdom and the cultural heritage that that represents. In a nation like Saudi Arabia, finally, opposition to the monarchy may be synonmous with advocacy of democracy or Islamic fundamentalism. As monarchies take many different forms, so too do pro- and anti-monarchy debates.

Otto von Habsburg advocates a form of constitutional monarchy based on the primacy of the supreme judicial function, with hereditary succession. Mediation by a tribunal is warranted if suitability is problematic. [1].

Monarchist groups past and present





see Monarchism in Iran


see Monarchism in France

North America


South America

See also


  1. ^ For a “Directory of Monarchist Organizations,” see Olga S. Opfell, Royalty Who Waits: The 21 Heads of Formerly Regnant Houses of Europe (Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2001), 213-216.

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Monarchism — Mon arch*ism, n. The principles of, or preference for, monarchy. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • monarchism — (n.) from Fr. monarchisme, from monarchie (see MONARCHY (Cf. monarchy)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • monarchism — ► NOUN ▪ support for the principle of monarchy. DERIVATIVES monarchist noun & adjective …   English terms dictionary

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  • monarchism — noun Date: 1838 monarchical government or principles • monarchist noun or adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • monarchism — monarchist, n., adj. monarchistic, adj. /mon euhr kiz euhm/, n. 1. the principles of monarchy. 2. advocacy of monarchical rule. [1830 40; MONARCH(Y) + ISM; cf. F monarchisme, G Monarchismus] * * * …   Universalium

  • monarchism — noun a) Rule by a monarchy b) The advocacy of such a political system …   Wiktionary

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  • monarchism — mon·arch·ism || mÉ‘nÉ™(r)kɪzÉ™m / mÉ’ n. principles or advocacy of monarchy …   English contemporary dictionary

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