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Limited Monarchy: Definition & Overview

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  • 0:00 What is a Limited Monarcy?
  • 0:43 How Did They Come About?
  • 1:31 Executive Monarchy
  • 1:54 Ceremonial Monarchy
  • 2:29 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Flint Johnson

Flint has tutored mathematics through precalculus, science, and English and has taught college history. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Glasgow

Learn about Limited Monarchy - what led up to it and some different of it in modern governments throughout the world. Then take a quiz and see what you've learned.

What Is a Limited Monarchy?

Let's say for a minute that you want a certain person to be a king because he's a good leader or because he gives your country a sense of stability, but you don't trust that person to act in the best interests of the country.

So you force that person to accept certain laws that will restrict the ruler's powers. The rules might be something as simple as 'the king has to get parliament's permission to declare war' or as controlling as 'the queen has no legal right to propose, vote on, or enforce laws.' That's what limited monarchy is. Or you could think of it like this: a limited monarchy, or constitutional monarchy, is when a nation has a king or queen but their power is limited by the country's constitution.

How Did They Come About?

There are many different ways that limited monarchy developed in countries. It did develop, too. Almost all monarchies began with rulers who had absolute, or nearly absolute, power. In some countries, like England, nobles took advantage of the decentralized system of feudalism to gain more power and then band together to force the king to give up his power.

In other kingdoms, like Japan or Napoleon's France, a king started a war that nearly ruined the country. In that case, the winners allowed the royal family to keep ruling but put restrictions on him. World War II was devastating to all monarchies in Europe both because of the war and because of the damage one man, Hitler, had been able to do as the absolute ruler of Germany. Most monarchic nations adopted a limited monarchy.

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