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DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


Support for a form of government where the effective or merely formal exercise of supreme authority, generally acquired according to some hereditary principle and usually alleged to derive from God, is vested in one person. Thus it may also be defined by contrast to republicanism, which has its own rival traditions of governance deeply rooted in European history and which would in the course of the twentieth century become the more dominant presence. Though varieties of royal authority (typically buttressed by an aristocracy ) retained the upper hand during much of the modern period, the challenges to monarchy – and especially to absolutism – had certainly sharpened towards the end of the eighteenth century. This was the period when the nation that had assisted colonial rebellion against the British king and the creation of the USA as a republic found itself embroiled in its own french revolution of 1789, and thus in events which by 1792–3 had led on to the ousting and execution of louis xvi . Over the following decade or so France, and such territories as it expanded to control (see french revolutionary wars ), formed a scene for experimentation with forms of republican rule. However, through most of the period from 1804 to 1870, the country then developed into the principal arena for competing versions of monarchism. One model was “imperial,” as embraced during the periods ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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