Dictatorship vs. Monarchy - The Line Between Tyranny and Royal Decree | Inquirer

Dictatorship vs. Monarchy – The Line Between Tyranny and Royal Decree

/ 10:02 AM March 22, 2022

Most countries have democracy as their form of government, so most people have become used to it. Many of us can’t imagine living in a country that follows a different set of rules. Yet, history has numerous examples of monarchies and dictatorships.

You might be wondering why we still have articles like this that discuss the past. Why bother learning about the difference between dictatorship vs monarchy? That’s because the deeper you look into the past, the farther you can sneak into the future!

Let’s start by discussing more details about monarchy and dictatorship. Later, you’ll see that they may come in different forms, and they have qualities that set each other apart. More importantly, we will talk about why people should learn details about the past.

What is a monarchy?

This is a king.

When you hear monarchy, perhaps you remember the leaders from the Game of Thrones series. If you prefer non-fiction, you may have admired historical movies like The KIng’s Speech.

Real monarchies had fewer dragons, but their way of governance is mostly similar. You had kings and queens who ruled with supreme power and authority over their subjects.

They were the head of the country’s royal family. Its sons became the future kings. Back then, most women didn’t have the opportunity to hold supreme powers.


We did have examples of such great women, such as Queen Elizabeth II. However, royal family daughters usually wedded with neighboring kingdoms to solidify alliances.

By now you can see that monarchies mostly involve a royal family holding supreme power over a nation. Eventually, this family affair placed religion into the mix.

Take King Louis XVI as an example. The last king of France used the Catholic Church as an effective tool to control the populace.


Absolute monarchy or monarchy dictatorship

When a royal family holds absolute power over a population, that’s called absolute monarchy. You may also call it a monarchy dictatorship since their royal decree is unquestionable.

They swiftly stomped out any form of opposition. To keep the masses in line, they levied heavy taxes on them. Only those with royal blood may ascend to the throne.

Similar to a dictatorship, an absolute monarchy has a single person holding all authority. That person was in charge of law-making, interpreting the constitution, and implementing them.

That’s why it’s easy to mistake monarchy and dictatorship as the same thing. However, royal leaders weren’t always absolute monarchs.

Read More: Queen Elizabeth marks 70 years on the throne

Constitutional monarchy or limited monarchy

Nowadays, many countries still keep their royal families, but they are under the rule of a different political system. This is where the terms limited monarchy or constitutional monarchy came from.

The king just serves as a symbolic head of state. They’re like a part of a country’s history, so the nation decides to keep their designation. However, they don’t have any great powers of government.

Instead, they just appear to the public at important national events. They may even serve as foreign dignitaries. Let’s take the Emperor of Japan as an example.

He may have a role in opening its Parliament, but only when the cabinet allows it. On the other hand, Queen Elizabeth II can have emergency powers over the British government.

Under “grave constitutional crisis”, she can overrule the Prime Minister. However, this is unlikely to happen as the Queen must remain neutral on political issues.

If you’re familiar with the British Royal Family, you might know about the Queen’s knighting ceremonies. She has appointed various celebrities for the role, such as Ian McKellan and Anthony Hopkins.

Similar to constitutional monarchy, this is mostly symbolic. It doesn’t provide a single person with real authority over a nation. Yet, it’s not the only way to gain such power.

What is a dictatorship?

These are people protesting a dictatorship.

Sometimes, a single person and his army may take over the national leader by force. In turn, the army acquires great powers, and a dictator takes on absolute power over the country.

You can say that monarchy and dictatorship are similar because they both involve one person holding all the power. Aren’t absolute monarchies headed by a single person as well?

The main difference is how the line of succession works. A monarchy appoints new leaders from the sons of the royal family. On the other hand, a dictatorship only gives power to one person.

A dictatorship and a monarchy also rely on a government ruled by force. Both of them take down anything that may challenge their rule over a nation.

North Korea is one modern example of a dictatorship. Meanwhile, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin are well-known dictators of the past. Fortunately, most countries do not apply this sort of governance.

Why learn about monarchy vs. dictatorship and history?

This is a person reading a history book.

You might be wondering why you should take time to learn the difference between dictatorship vs. monarchy. Most readers like you probably live in a democratic country.

If you think about it, many democracies started after the people fought their oppressive regimes. Through the efforts of those from the past, we now enjoy freedom.

Instead of relying on dictatorship and monarchy, we can now have an elected government. It may have problems, but choosing national leaders was not possible centuries ago.

Here are the other reasons why you should learn about history:

  • History may focus on a significant figure, but it’s not just “his story.” Many people shaped our modern world through their collective efforts. This can help you understand the world as a whole, instead of just from your country’s point of view.
  • Reading history lets you live the lives of those who came before you. Just as fiction novels transport you to different worlds, historical stories can deepen your understanding of how people act and think.
  • If you’ve been following the recent Ukraine-Russia conflict, you may have noticed that Ukrainians take time to protect their monuments. This may seem strange during a war, but Ukrainians see these artifacts as parts of themselves. That’s because history can serve as an anchor to your national identity, so you’re more motivated to defend it.

The best reason to study history is that it lets you see events that may unfold. Let’s use investments as an example. Many people swear by gold as the ultimate inflation hedge.

That’s because nations eventually returned to it after shunning it as a store of value. If you look deeper into history, it turns out that gold may not be as effective as it seems.

That’s because, in times of crisis, governments tend to lose money. They may confiscate the precious metals from citizens to fund its operations.

It happened several times in the United States. Now, Pakistan may do the same to resolve its foreign exchange crisis. That’s why more people are turning to other assets, especially cryptocurrency.

Final thoughts

We just discussed the difference between dictatorship vs. monarchy. The former is marked by a single person while the latter comes from several generations of a royal family.

Note that this article doesn’t offer investment advice. It only used gold and cryptocurrency as examples for studying history. You should speak to a financial advisor for that type of assistance.

Still, you can learn more about the latest trends and investments by reading more Inquirer USA articles. No matter what, knowledge rules!

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