American Revolution fought over having a monarch?

Violating to an extent my ban of current political topics from this blog, I want to address a comment by Senator Rand Paul:

”I’m against having a king,” said the Senator. ”I think having a monarch is what we fought the American Revolution over, and someone who wants to bypass the Constitution, bypass Congress, that’s someone who wants to act like a king or monarch.”

In my most amateur of observations, I think he is absolutely wrong in this statement. What the Revolution was fought over was the right to either be represented in Parliament or allowed free course of political action. I’ve noted the hyperbole in the Declaration of Independence in another post, so I’ll not rehash it here, other than to caveat that I do think that the Declaration is a magnificent document when you get past the political bombast.

The majority of American Colonists didn’t have a problem with HM King George III, but as king, he was the easiest target for political darts. Nevermind that the true source of the problem was the Parliament, with its evolving view of democratic representation. It was akin to the way foreign nations attribute the opinions of the current (or any past) President or Congress with the general will of the American people.

The real rub in the matter is that the President of the United States has had increasingly more power at his disposal in the last century than near any monarch still reigning. The President has much more power than HM Queen Elizabeth II of England and the Commonwealth or HM Juan Carlos of Spain, and it is debatable whether any of the six absolute monarchs[1] left in the world have more power of their nations than the President of the United States of America does. Maybe that is Senator Paul’s point, but the truth is that Congress, with it’s bipartisan inability to do anything, is the greater culprit if an Executive power grab has occurred.

In light of that, there might be some positives to a monarch. For one, he or she would have been trained their entire life to accept the role, unless they started out as the spare heir. There are still examples of successful monarchs who rose from that state, HM King George VI being a prime example. As such, monarchs don’t have to concern themselves as much with the political cycles of a nation. They don’t have to worry about losing their jobs every four (or however many) years. Since a monarch generally keeps it in the family, the successor has the opportunity to learn from his or her predecessor  There is a certain stability to that. In fractious democratic societies, presidents and their ilk disavow the acts of their predecessors, often to the detriment to the people.


[1] HM Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, HM Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman, CTHM King Abdullah bin Abdul‘aziz of Saudi Arabia, HM King Mswati III of SwazilandHH Pope Benedict XVI, and HH Emir Hamad bin Khalifa of Qatar.

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