Kings and Counselors
Monarchy as understood by Montesquieu is a regime with concentrated but legitimate authority, whose dominant motive is glory, especially glory achieved in battle. Four kings who initiated wars are examined: Louis XIV; Charles XII; Frederick the Great; and Nicholas I. Minister-President Bismarck, advisor to the King of Prussia, is the fifth case. Although its advisory process is generally rational, Monarchy becomes conducive to war when its warrior ethos is no longer held in check by law and institutions. Christianity as the kings interpreted it did not always restrain them, but did form the character of the most successful statesmen, Bismarck. Monarchy’s concentrated authority can produce impressive successes or tribulations, depending on the statesman’s character and abilities.