The following are the merits of Absolute Monarchy:
Advantages of Absolute Monarchy
(1) Useful for Civilized and Undeveloped Societies:
In the beginning, man was uncivilsed and barbarous. He was not at all disciplined. Therefore, the monarchy was the only form of government which could make the people disciplined and law- abiding.
J.S. Mill has rightly said, “Despotism is a legitimate mode of Government for dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement and the means; be justified by actually affecting that end”.
(2) All-sided development of the country is possible:
In Absolute Monarchy; the property is protected, industries are encouraged and art is developed. The monarch is like the parent of his subjects. An enlightened monarch can do much good for the people. Hobbes has also supported this view.
India’s unity was strengthened and she attained all-sided development during the regimes of Chandra Gupta Maurya, Ashoka, Somudra Gupta, Vikramaditya and Harsha. Frederick the Great in Prussia (Germany), Napoleon Bonaparte in France, and Peter the Great and Catherine in Russia rendered valuable service in the development of their subjects.
(3) Promote decisions:
In Monarchy the supreme power of the state is in the hands of a single individual and he can take prompt decisions after consulting ‘ ministers during emergency.
(4) A wise king can provide a good leadership during war:
A wise and monarch can prove a successful leaded during war and can protect the country from the aggressor. For example, Chandra Gupta Maurya protected India from Seleucus’s invasion.
Since the Monarch remains in power till life, he gains very experience and with his experience serves the country in an efficient manner. In England Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, Edward the Seventh, George, the Fifth and George, the Sixth, Queen Elizabeth II became very useful rulers because of their experience for the country.
Akbar during his long tenure tried to remove mutual hatred between the Hindus and the Muslims and he was able to create better understanding between the two countries. In Germany, Frederic the Great, William 1 proved useful for country due to their long experience.
(6) Uniformity in policy and stability in administration:
Since the Monarch stays in office till life, he can implement his policies for a longer time. The Government is stable in a Monarchy and changes do not take place very often.
(7) Conducive to the social justice:
The Monarch is a non-party man and he does not depend upon the party support for his office. Thus, he runs the administration impartially and he gets the opportunity for doing justice to all.
(8) It imparts unity and efficiency to the administration:
An able, experienced and impartial monarch can appoint able ministers. Akbar, Shivaji and Ranjit Singh adopted this policy. The ministers appointed in this manner can bring impartiality, honesty and stability in the administration without having any affiliation with any political party.
(9) Protection of the people against the tyranny of the landlords:
In England, the Tudor kings, and in Russia and Czar King Alexander II protected their subjects and farmers against the tyranny of the landlords.
Disadvantages or Demerits of Absolute Monarchy:
(1) Orthodox and incompetent monarch leads the country to a downfall:
An incompetent Monarch can bring about the downfall of the country. For example, Aurangzeb was fanatic. Because of his wrong policies, the country was engaged in religious conflicts with the result that the foundations of the Mogul Empire shook. Later, Moghul emperors were very incompetent and they could not bring stability in the situation and the Moghul Empire was wiped away.
Ranjit Singh’s successors were also incompetent, with the result that the British annexed the Punjab. William the Second of Germany dismissed his able Prime Minister Bismarck, with the result that France, Russia and England joined together against him and Germany was defeated in the First World War (1914-18).
(2) Hereditary office for the Head of the State is not justifiable:
The post of s Head of the state is the highest and only a competent person should hold it. It is not necessary that a king should be an able person. If the office of the Head of the state is hereditary, the monarch shall hold that office irrespective of his capability. This will create problems for the administration.
(3) Monarchy generally degenerates into tyranny:
Power corrupts everyone. After sometimes king and his successors degrade themselves and exploit the people. This brings tyranny in the administration.
(4) It has no place for democracy or self-government:
In Monarchy all powers are concentrated in one person and the people have no say in the administration. This hinders the development of the people.
(5) It leads to inequality of wealth:
In Monarchy, the monarch, his ministers and the ruling class amass wealth but the plight of the common people remains miserable. They neither get higher positions nor enjoy any special rights.
(6) Monarchy is not suitable to the modern age:
Modem age is the age of democracy. Modern state is a welfare state. Generally, no attention is paid toward the welfare of the people in a monarchy. Thus this is not suitable for modern age.