Today, in the early twenty-first century, most countries no longer have kings and queens. However, some countries have remained as monarchies, including England and its former colonies. However, even in these countries, the monarch is a ceremonial figure who no longer has any real power over his or her subjects. These countries are called constitutional monarchies because they are democracies in which the monarch remains the official head of state.
Many years ago, the kings and queens of England did have real power, but gradually this power was transferred to the people and their elected officials. It is interesting to examine how this transition occurred.
Even in very early times, the king of England did not have absolute power. He was the most powerful man in the country, but he could not entirely force his will upon others. If he became too demanding, he might face opposition from powerful local land-owners. These men, called the barons, might resist a king who tried to become too strong.
This is exactly what happened in the year 1215. The king of England had made many unreasonable demands upon the country, and the barons decided to resist. They forced the king to agree to a list of rules that would limit his power. These rules were written in a famous document called the Magna Carta. This document described not only the rights of the barons, but also of the common people of England.
During the next few hundred years, the kings still had much power. However, some other people, such as the landowners and the richer men of the towns, also had influence. Their meetings became known as Parliaments, and the king had to share power with the parliament. During the 1640s, one king tried to rule without Parliament, and tried to take away the rights of Parliament. This led to a civil war, and the king was defeated. England soon became a monarchy again, but it became clear that Parliament would have more power than the king. Until the twentieth century, the Parliaments of England became more democratic, as more and more people were allowed to vote.
Today, England still has a constitutional monarchy. But not all English-speaking countries recognize the English queen. For example, the United States became an independent country over 200 years ago and has been a republic ever since.
In some countries, there is debate about the future of the monarchy. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand still recognize the queen of England as their own queen even though those countries are no longer governed by England. Many people in those countries want to abolish the monarchy. They believe that their countries should now have their own head of state. On the other hand, some people in those countries want to keep the monarchy because it reminds them of their country’s early history. This is an ongoing topic of debate for Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders.
the system in which a country is ruled by a king or queen
the abolition of the monarchy
if a position in a country or organization is ceremonial, it gives no real power
the largely ceremonial post of President
officially allowed or limited by the system of rules of a country or organization :
a constitutional right to privacy
a constitutional monarchy (= a country ruled by a king or queen whose power is limited by a constitution )
to look at something carefully and thoroughly because you want to find out more about it
A team of divers was sent down to examine the wreck. Hegel’s philosophy will be examined in detail in Chapter 4.
examine how/whether/what etc
In the course, we will examine how and why Spain became a democracy in 1931.
examine something for something
The police will have to examine the weapon for fingerprints.
formal when something changes from one form or state to another
transition from something to something
the smooth transition from full-time work to full retirement
Making the transition from youth to adulthood can be very painful.
a society that is in transition (=changing) the period of transition to full democracy
expecting a lot of attention or expecting to have things exactly the way you want them, especially in a way that is not fair
Her mother could be very demanding at times.
a man, esp. a businessman, who has great power or influence: an oil baron | a press baron who owns three national newspapers | union barons|drug barons
to oppose; fight against (something): The city resisted the enemy onslaught for two weeks. | The hospital is resisting the nurses’ demands for better conditions. | He was charged with resisting arrest.
The management has refused to agree to our demand for a 6% pay raise.
an important document in British history which King John of England signed in 1215 at Runnymede in the south of England. By doing this he agreed that limits could be set on royal powers. Later, especially in the 17th century, the document was seen as a statement of basic civil rights.
to win a victory over someone in a war, competition, game etc
They hoped to defeat the enemy at sea.
defeat somebody by something
Newcastle were defeated by 3 goals to 2.
more and more:
used to say that a quality, situation etc gradually increases
More and more, we are finding that people want to continue working beyond 60.
As the disease worsened, he found walking more and more difficult.
officially allowed or limited by the system of rules of a country or organization
a constitutional right to privacy a constitutional monarchy (=a country ruled by a king or queen whose power is limited by a constitution)
to officially accept that an organization, government, document etc has legal or official authority
British medical qualifications are recognized in Canada.
recognize something as something
The World Health Organization has recognized alcoholism as a disease since 1951.
to accept as being legal or real, or as having value: They refused to recognize our government/to recognize the union.
all the time since
stop, to officially end a law, system etc, especially one that has existed for a long time
*Slavery was abolished in the US in the 19th century.
*they abolished slavery
*a government plan to abolish school lunch programs
continuing, or continuing to develop
*their ongoing search for a new director
*The discussions are still ongoing.