Would you rather have a monarch or a president? Discuss how the two are different and make a case for either of the two.
Lahore School of Economics
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In this paper, we will analyze the alternative roles of a Monarch and a President. The reason for choosing this topic was that it studies the distinctive nature of the Head of States in different parts of the world. Some countries follow the monarchy system as a form of government while others are governed and administered by the President or Republic. The elected representatives are guardians of the public offices and have supreme power over all the legislative policies, holding certain executive powers as well as monitoring judicial functions. Classic examples of government forms of a Presidency and Monarchy are the United States of America and Saudi Arabia respectively. Although individuals have the capability to distinguish one from the other, only a few can tell precisely as to how and why they are different. For this reason, we are going to consider this matter by analyzing the differences through the spheres of power structures, tenure and legislation. We will try to cover every aspect of this topic and analyze it to the best of our abilities.
A Monarchy and a Presidency are both regarded as forms of government and political systems however, for the most part, the two tend to differ. The first difference one could talk about is the power factor that forms the fundamental framework of a political base and political structure. A monarchy is a form of government whereby a king rules his subjects, claiming to hold absolute power by the Divine Right or in other words, the Will of God. However, in a presidential system the general public elects the government through the process of voting and fair elections. For instance, in countries like, Thailand, the king is regarded as the Head of State, who is inaugurated within a position of reverence, is respected by all whose power and orders cannot be violated or defied. Furthermore, the King cannot be subjected to any sort of accusation or other royalties for that matter. On the other hand, Presidents, the chief executive and the ceremonial Head of State, can be chosen either directly by the people or indirectly by representatives of those elected by the people. In a scenario where a president is elected indirectly, the regime is called a parliamentary republic. An electoral college selects presidents elected indirectly. For example, in Hungary, the members of the House of Parliament and the National Assembly elect the President. However, the President of the United States or any other country for that matter would be likely to be impeached, followed by a trial, and, upon conviction of bribery, treason or committing other higher alleged crimes or misdemeanors, could be removed from the office legally; having to face the consequences and would then be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law. (Cole, J.P; Garvey, T.)
The second difference, which lies in both these political systems, is the tenure over which they rule their subjects. In a Monarchy, the crown is hereditary, following the concept of the Divine Rule; the royal and political legitimacy is articulated here focusing on the fact that the crown is passed down from one generation to another. Whereas in a Presidential system, a democratic system is followed under which citizens of the country vote for their representatives through free and fair elections. In addition to that, a Monarchy entails rule for a life time as the crown and the authority that comes with it is passed down within the family from one generation to another. On the contrary, in a Presidential system the government representatives are allowed to serve for a stipulated duration of time (term) for four to five years after which the elections are held again. (Rispa Akello)
Another difference between these two systems is that of the legislation. A Monarch has the power to make, amend and repeal laws or bills. He might have advisors but the ultimate authority lies with the King who can interpret and implement a certain rule of law. However, the same is not true in the Presidential system as the President cannot enforce the laws or propose the bills, but he has the power to veto it and prevent its adoption. This can be explained through the example of Saudi Arabia. Even though the power lays with the Monarch, the king drafts out the law and order based on Islamic Shariah and decides on behalf of the citizen’s but with the President, the Senate or the Parliament has the power to make laws. Over time, there has been a shift from monarchies to republics and, within republics, from parliamentary republics to semi-presidential and presidential regimes (Elie, 2012).
One of the foremost exceptional frameworks found by the people is the organization of the human society. This notion is based upon the Darwinian hypotheses of the origin and evolution of the species that likewise personifies and encapsulates individuals and along these lines the evolution of the society as well (Claeys, Gregory 2000). The mere idea of man as a “social animal” reflects human beings as creatures governed by the idea of animal impulses and desires, simultaneously being intrigued and inclined to create societies and live sociably. Keeping in mind the development of these societies, with all the scholarly conducts as well, it can be said that this evolution merges at a definitive motivation behind fulfilling and satisfying certain desires, albeit at another level.
It is evident from the annals of history that humans were the hunter gathers or scavengers in the primitive times but as soon as they understood and comprehended their surroundings they sought out places to settle down. As time passed by, they understood the complex and multifaceted nature of the world. This explains how the representing framework has come into existence. This gives rise to the question as to which one would be more appropriate for humanity to have in the arrangement of the system being produced? A Monarch or a President?
This leads us to the realization that the development of the society gave rise to factions which are often associated or connected with the Monarchy where a single ruler is the king. He deals with all the undertakings of the nation from religion to social order to education. The positive aspect of this is that not only the decisions are made swiftly but also saves time as it does not have to go through the process of different branches of the administration unlike the presidential system and the power to propose laws lies with the single entity. However, due to the growing gap between the subjects and the rulers and the issue of pride and hereditary rule, people revolted against the monarch and then emerged the concept of the “democratic” form of government where the President ruled over the general population. This had positive repercussions as it gave significance to the concept of “equality”. It opened doors to equal opportunity for work and training, education and other social interactions and cooperation amongst the general population which is valued and appreciated in the society. In contrast, due to the establishment of different branches and the separation of powers in terms of independence, the decision-making process is quite slow therefore the odds of corruption and defilement are high resulting in clashes between various departments arise.
The Monarchy has lately been on the wane, in amidst of it emerged the constitutional monarchy whereby the ruler takes a back seat and a prime minister or head administrator is in charge of the affairs of the nation. The Monarch has to stay neutral in other words they are apolitical. However, it is still a throwback to this era, which implies that it is viewed as an elitist family in a position of privileged achievement and success that they did not work to procure. For this matter, we believe that a presidential form of government would help counter all the problems that arise with the existence of the monarchy and absolute power.
The President has been granted certain powers such as negotiating and signing treaties with foreign countries rather foreign diplomats with the consent of the Congress and has the power to veto laws as well. In addition to that, they also have the power to appoint ambassadors, the cabinet and federal judges. For instance, USA’s President George H.W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court. Other constitutional powers allow them to command the military, i.e. to commit troops as the Commander in Chief of all American military forces; the naval force, the army, and the air force.
Along with certain formal powers, the US president has multiple informal powers as well; powers which are not often enumerated in the Constitution, which by and large, in general gives him an edge or an advantage when compared with the constitutional monarchy. The President has the ability or rather the advantage of passing and carrying out official executive orders, makes executive agreements or in other words has an executive privilege, plans and devises agendas, sends out troops to protect the national interests without the declaration of war, as a crisis manager, and has an access to media or bully pulpit.
To conclude as to which type of government is better than the other, in my opinion, the presidential system outweighs the monarchical form of government. Different countries vary in their forms of governance which is mostly based on their political values which are additionally in light of certain democratic grounds so as to obtain national security, peace and prosperity within a nation. For instance, USA is an exceptionally stable Presidential democracy where power is shared at the federal level between the President (the executive body), the Congress (the legislative body) and the Supreme Court (the judicial body).
Cole, J.P.; Garvey, T. (October 29, 2015). “Impeachment and Removal” (PDF). Federation of American Scientists. Congressional Research Service. pp. 15–16. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
Joseph Story, II COMMENTARIES ON THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES §790 (1833)
Rispa Akello, giantscholar.com/similarities-and-differences-between-democracy-and-monarchy
Elgie, Robert (2012), “The President of Ireland in Comparative Perspective”. Irish Political Studies, 27:4, 502-521.
Claeys, Gregory (2000). “The ‘Survival of the Fittest’ and the Origins of Social Darwinism”. Journal of the History of Ideas. 61 (2): 223–40. doi:10.1353/jhi.2000.0014