Hobbes on Monarchy in the Leviathan

Thomas Hobbes argues in chapter 19 of the Leviathan that monarchy is the best form of government. He gives five reasons in favor of monarchy:


1. The monarch’s interests are the same as the people.
2. The monarch receives better advice and counsel since he can maintain experts and receive secret advice.
3. The monarch is more consistent than a democracy because he possesses one mind.
4. Civil war is less likely because a monarch cannot disagree with himself.
5. Monarchy is more stable because the monarch can set up arrangements for the succession of power.

These are poor arguments for the following reasons. Firstly, the monarch does not necessarily share interests with the people. For example, the Roman Emperor Caligula.

Secondly, a monarch may not have prudence in choosing advisors. For example, King Rehoboam in the Old Testament.

Thirdly, monarchs are not necessarily more consistent. For example, King Solomon who waffled between monotheism and polytheism.

Fourthly, monarchy does not prevent civil war. For example, the English civil war under King Charles I.

Fifth, monarchy fails in succession almost as much as it succeeds. For example, the War of the Roses or the succession debates following in the wake of King Henry VIII or King Charles II.

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