eli5 Why did monarchy fade away & get replaced with modern forms of government?


Is there a common denominator which led to this throughout history & across many nations?

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Those in power live glorious lives compared to the poor.

The poor shoulder this until some kind of something comes in the way and really pisses them off and gets them riled up.

In the USA it was taxes they didn’t like. In France it was several TERRIBLE harvests causing widespread hunger, and taxes they didn’t like.

In the UK, it was taxes they didn’t like that lead to the constitutional monarchy.

In 1848 there were widespread revolutions that spread across almost all of Europe, wanna guess that caused that? Terrible harvest and economic crisis.

In Russia what was going on when the Tsar was over thrown? A war and guess what else? Terrible harvests that left the poor I get.

So an argument can be made that in every crisis or revolution ever, the most most likely causes were:
Bad harvests leading to hungry, angry, peasants
Economic mismanagement/over taxation leading to financial crisis.
And/or a combination of both.

For any kind of monarchal over throw to happen, there needs to be something that drives the majority of the population, the peasants, into Angry revolt. And the easiest was to do this is if they have no food from bad harvests, or no money for food from economic mismanagement.

To boil it down it would be the people’s will. The people decided to end their monarchy for varying reasons.
Though some may have been forced by betrayal, but in general it would be the people that decided the monarchy needed to go.

In some sense, all governments are democracies. The only difference is who gets a vote – and that decision is based on who can inflict violence on others.

In low complexity societies, it’s not particularly hard to create an elite that monopolizes violence in society.

As societies become more complex, it becomes harder and harder for that elite to maintain their advantage in violence without surrendering power to the people who make that violence possible. If all you need to oppress the peasantry is a sword, a horse and some armor, you don’t really need the peasantry to support you. But if those peasants need to build you internal combustion engines and semiconductors, you can’t accomplish that by beating them over the head and looting their barn.

Indeed, you’ll notice modern complex societies with authoritarian governments are actually egalitarian compared to historical societies. Being a peasant in China isn’t all that great. But if you’re a scientist, an engineer or a doctor, it’s not a bad life. Sure, you may not be able to start your own Alex Jones-style youtube channel without running afoul of the monopoly-of-force folks, but neither are random soldiers showing up to loot your barn.

If you look at the children and grandchildren of famous people, they rarely are as capable as the famous person. This holds true in hereditary monarchies too. So the family gets established by someone who can conquer a country and hold it. But later generations just don’t have the ability and will to keep things going.


Plus you have the issue for all leaders that they have blind spots and get less capable as they get older. Term limits are very useful because they push politicians out rather than let them get old, senile and weak, like Marshall Petain in France or Félix Houphouët-Boigny of the Ivory Coast.

It’s not really people revolting because of poverty. That happened all the time under feudalism and didnt result in new govt forms.

A super simple explanation is that Christian philosophers in love with classical Rome and the Greek city states started exploring the ideas like democracy and stoicism that were put forward by the ancients. After instituting versions that conformed to their cultural biases, they have been litigated to the point that have modern states.

There were revolutions and all that, but those happened all the time. This time there were an intelligentsia that believed in a more equitable political system.