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Single Idea 19833

[catalogued under 25. Society / B. The State / 5. Leaders / b. Monarchy]

Full Idea

Some crowns are hereditary. So by substituting the disadvantage of regencies for elections, an apparent tranquillity has been preferred to a wise election, the risk of having children, monsters or imbeciles for leaders is preferred to choosing good kings.

Gist of Idea

Hereditary monarchy is easier, but can lead to dreadful monarchs


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract (tr Cress) [1762], III.06)

A Reaction

Henry VI is the prime English example. The regents feuded, and then when he grew up it became obvious that he was hopeless. How many English monarchs would have been elected? But we would have missed Good Queen Bess.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.185