When and Why did Democracy Replace Monarchies?

Apologies if this is in the wrong subforum, wasn’t quite sure where to put it.
Obviously this is a huge area and a simple question to a complex issue, but:
I’m just wondering when and why did Catholic Monarchies begin to be replaced by Democracy? And are there any good writings on this topic from a Catholic perspective, for example in defense of Monarchy? Was there a lot of debate in the Church at the time these changes were occurring, e.g. writings by Popes or theologians on the issues of Democracy and Monarchy?
Any book recommendations are welcomed, too.

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Belloc’s “Louis XIV” is supposed to be quite good. It may be called and focus on Louis XIV in particular, but it is (as the full title says) a study of monarchy. Be aware though that the book is no longer in print. You should be able to get it from AbeBooks.

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I found it here, thanks for the recommendation.

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I’m not sure it went Catholic Monarchies then democracies.

I think there Protestant monarchies too?

Started in the French Revolution - essentially ended monarchies at the end of WW1

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Monarchy started to go downhill about the time the bourgeoisie actually started to gain in education and economic power. The middle class doesn’t see monarchy as being a positive thing. They’re not in a position to influence it and they don’t particularly benefit from it.

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The revolutions of 1848 in Europe started the decline. WWI put the nail in the coffin. If the German and Austrian monarchies had not been removed the nazis would likely have never risen to power.

Tsarist Russia killed themselves through sheer incompetence and cruelty.

Another factor was the rise in merchant wealth. They didn’t like paying taxes to the kings. The American revolution for example was really just a revolt of merchants under the guise of “liberty”.


That’s pretty much most of the monarchies in the world, not just Tsarist Russia.

The competent monarchs weren’t necessarily kind and vice versa.

And all monarchs, regardless of their skills or merits, seem to have spent inordinate amounts of time trying to consolidate their power and keep from getting killed, rather than actually governing.

In the end there’s no good reason for some guy to be the king just because he happens to have been born into it. I tend to think God was on the right track when he told the Jewish people they shouldn’t even want a king.

It’s a valid argument. But I don’t think someone deserves to govern just because the mob elects them either.

Which is why we have republics, to guard against mobs doing just that.

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And even then, you can be sure that at least 51% (adjusted for the electoral college, in our case) agree with who is to rule. And if they are no good, they can be voted out.

With monarchy, everybody is stuck with whoever the laws of biology serve up. And with that family riding everybody’s shoulders.

Should the laws of biology not yield anybody, there often is no alternative to civil war.


With a monarchy there’s only one guy to replace.

Think of all the lifelong politicians in congress. Think of all the life long bureaucrats that aren’t elected yet make decisions every day that we live with. Democracy doesn’t really change a country. Just changes a few people every few years. The beast itself rarely changes. Even with trump, not that much is different than what we had under Obama which really wasn’t that different to bush and so on.


But you have to replace him with violence, typically. Enter civil war. I’d rather deal with annoying campaign commercials and career politicians than mildly inbred cousins raising rival armies constantly.

I think that’s more because Joe Everyman doesn’t really want massive societal change every four years, not because democratic institutions aren’t capable of producing change. Most people still value stability and want incremental change, not massive upheaval.


Both valid points. But at the same time for the last ten years more and more people talk about how dysfunctional our current system is, yet there’s no real way to fix it.

Maybe congress needs flushed every ten years and every law should have a sunset clause so that if it’s really necessary they’re forced to vote it back in and if it’s not let it die.


It would be just like a CAF thread!

His Highness Quasitenebrous VI, Penultimus, would like to point out that democracy is an inefficient system, based on an invalid fracturing of the concept of sovereignty. He has ruled for many millenia, and will for many more.

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