Abdication

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Napoleon's first abdication, signed at the Palace of Fontainebleau 4 April 1814 Bouchot - Napoleon signe son abdication a Fontainebleau 4 avril 1814.jpg
Napoleon's first abdication, signed at the Palace of Fontainebleau 4 April 1814
Dom Pedro I, founder and Emperor of the Empire of Brazil, delivers his abdication letter on 7 April 1831 Abdicacao Pedro I do Brasil.jpg
Dom Pedro I, founder and Emperor of the Empire of Brazil, delivers his abdication letter on 7 April 1831

Abdication is the act of formally relinquishing monarchical authority. Abdications have played various roles in the succession procedures of monarchies. While some cultures have viewed abdication as an extreme abandonment of duty, in other societies (such as pre-Meiji Restoration Japan), abdication was a regular event, and helped maintain stability during political succession.

An order of succession or right of succession is the sequence of those entitled to hold a high office such as head of state or an honor such as a title of nobility in the order in which they stand in line to it when it becomes vacated. This sequence may be regulated through descent or by statute.

Meiji Restoration restoration of imperial rule in Japan

The Meiji Restoration, also known as the Meiji Renovation, Revolution, Reform, or Renewal, was an event that restored practical imperial rule to the Empire of Japan in 1868 under Emperor Meiji. Although there were ruling emperors before the Meiji Restoration, the events restored practical abilities and consolidated the political system under the emperor of Japan.

Japan Country in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.

Contents

Historically, abdications have occurred both by force (where the regnant was forced to abdicate on pain of death or other severe consequences) and voluntarily. Some rulers are ruled to have abdicated in absentia, vacating the physical throne and thus their position of power, although these judgments were generally pronounced by successors with vested interest in seeing the throne abdicated, and often without or despite the direct input of the abdicating monarch.

Vested interest is a communication theory that seeks to explain how certain hedonically relevant attitudinal dimensions can influence and consistently predict behavior based on the degree of subjective investment an individual has in a particular attitude object. As defined by William Crano, vested interest refers to the degree to which an attitude object is deemed hedonically relevant by the attitude holder. According to Crano, "an attitude object that has important perceived personal consequences for the individual will be perceived as highly vested. Highly vested attitudes will be functionally related to behavior". Simply put, when people have more at stake with the result of an object that will greatly affect them, they will behave in a way that will directly support or defy the object for the sake of their own self-interest.

Recently, due to the largely ceremonial nature of the regnant in many constitutional monarchies, many monarchs have abdicated due to old age, such as the monarchs of Spain, Cambodia, Netherlands, Japan, and the Papacy.

A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the sovereign exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. while the Legislative Power is exercised by an Parliament, usually elected by citizens. Constitutional monarchy differs from absolute monarchy in that constitutional monarchs are bound to exercise their powers and authorities within the limits prescribed within an established legal framework. Constitutional monarchies range from countries such as Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain, where the constitution grants substantial discretionary powers to the sovereign, to countries such as Japan and Sweden where the monarch retains no formal authorities.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Cambodia Southeast Asian sovereign state

Cambodia, officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is 181,035 square kilometres in area, bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest.

Terminology

Tomb effigy of heart of King John II Casimir Vasa at Abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-Pres in Paris, showing removal of the crown Tomb effigy of heart of King John II Casimir Vasa at Abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-Pres -in Paris.PNG
Tomb effigy of heart of King John II Casimir Vasa at Abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris, showing removal of the crown

The word abdication is derived from the Latin abdicatio meaning to disown or renounce (from ab, away from, and dicare, to dedicate or relinquish). In its broadest sense abdication is the act of renouncing and resigning from any formal office, but it is applied especially to the supreme office of state. In Roman law the term was also applied to the disowning of a family member, such as the disinheriting of a son. Today the term commonly applies to monarchs, or to those who have been formally crowned. An elected or appointed official is said to resign rather than to abdicate. A notable exception is the voluntary relinquishing of the office of Bishop of Rome (and thus Sovereign of the Vatican City State) by the Pope, called Papal resignation or Papal renunciation.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

State (polity) Organised community living under a system of government; either a sovereign state, constituent state, or federated state

The term state refers to a form of polity, that is typically characterised as a centralized organisation. There is no single, undisputed, definition of what constitutes a state. A widely-used definition is a state being a polity that, within a given territory, maintains a monopoly on the use of force, but many other widely used definitions exist.

Roman law Legal system of Ancient Rome (c. 449 BC - AD 529)

Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables, to the Corpus Juris Civilis ordered by Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I. Roman law forms the basic framework for civil law, the most widely used legal system today, and the terms are sometimes used synonymously. The historical importance of Roman law is reflected by the continued use of Latin legal terminology in many legal systems influenced by it, including common law.

Historical examples

In certain cultures, the abdication of a monarch was seen as a profound and shocking abandonment of royal duty. As a result, abdications usually only occurred in the most extreme circumstances of political turmoil or violence. For other cultures, abdication was a much more routine element of succession.

The Roman Empire

Among the most notable abdications of antiquity are those of Lucius Cornelius Sulla, the Dictator, in 79 BC; Emperor Diocletian in AD 305; and Emperor Romulus Augustulus in AD 476.

Diocletian Roman Emperor from 284 to 305 A.C.N.

Diocletian, born Diocles, was a Roman emperor from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in Dalmatia, Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become Roman cavalry commander to the Emperor Carus. After the deaths of Carus and his son Numerian on campaign in Persia, Diocletian was proclaimed emperor. The title was also claimed by Carus' surviving son, Carinus, but Diocletian defeated him in the Battle of the Margus.

Romulus Augustulus last emperor of the Western Roman Empire

Flavius Romulus Augustus, known derisively and historiographically as Romulus Augustulus, was the Roman emperor who ruled the Western Roman Empire from 31 October 475 until 4 September 476. He is often described as the "last Western Roman emperor", though some historians consider this to be Julius Nepos. His deposition by Odoacer traditionally marks the end of the Roman Empire in the West, the end of Ancient Rome, and the beginning of the Middle Ages in Western Europe.

The British Empire and the British Commonwealth

Perhaps the most notable abdication in recent history is that of King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom and the Dominions. In 1936 Edward abdicated to marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson, over the objections of the British establishment, the governments of the Commonwealth, the Royal Family and the Church of England. It was the first time in history that the British or English crown was surrendered entirely voluntarily. Richard II of England, for example, was forced to abdicate after power was seized by his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, while Richard was abroad.

During the Glorious Revolution in 1688, James II of England and VII of Scotland fled to France, dropping the Great Seal of the Realm into the Thames, and the question was discussed in Parliament whether he had forfeited the throne or had abdicated. The latter designation was agreed upon in spite of James's protest, and in a full assembly of the Lords and Commons it was resolved "that King James II having endeavoured to subvert the constitution of the kingdom, by breaking the original contract between king and people, and, by the advice of Jesuits and other wicked persons, having violated the fundamental laws, and having withdrawn himself out of this kingdom, has abdicated the government, and that the throne is thereby vacant." The Scottish parliament pronounced a decree of forfeiture and deposition.

In Scotland, Mary, Queen of Scots, was forced to abdicate in favour of her one-year-old son, James VI.

Today, because the title to the Crown depends upon statute, particularly the Act of Settlement 1701, a royal abdication can be effected only by an Act of Parliament; under the terms of the Statute of Westminster 1931, such an act must be agreed by the parliaments of all extant signatories of the Statute. To give legal effect to the abdication of King Edward VIII, His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act 1936 was passed.

Japan

In Japanese history, abdication was used very often, and in fact occurred more often than death on the throne. In those days, most executive authority resided in the hands of regents (see Sesshō and Kampaku), and the Emperor's chief task was priestly, containing so many repetitive rituals that it was deemed the incumbent Emperor deserved pampered retirement as an honored retired emperor after a service of around ten years. A tradition developed that an Emperor should accede to the throne relatively young. The high-priestly duties were deemed possible for a walking child; and a dynast who had passed his toddler years was regarded as suitable and old enough; reaching the age of legal majority was not a requirement. Thus, many Japanese Emperors have acceded as children, some only 6 or 8 years old. Childhood apparently helped the monarch to endure tedious duties and to tolerate subjugation to political power-brokers, as well as sometimes to cloak the truly powerful members of the imperial dynasty. Almost all Japanese empresses and dozens of Emperors abdicated and lived the rest of their lives in pampered retirement, wielding influence behind the scenes, often with more power than they had had while on the throne (see Cloistered rule). Several Emperors abdicated while still in their teens. These traditions show in Japanese folklore, theater, literature and other forms of culture, where the Emperor is usually described or depicted as an adolescent.

Before the Meiji Restoration, Japan had eleven reigning empresses. Over half of Japanese empresses abdicated once a suitable male descendant was considered to be old enough to rule. There is also no provision for abdication in the Imperial Household Law, the Meiji Constitution, or the current 1947 Constitution of Japan.

After the defeat of Japan in World War II, many members of the Imperial Family, such as Princes Chichibu, Takamatsu and Higashikuni, pressured then-Emperor Hirohito to abdicate so that one of the Princes could serve as regent until Crown Prince Akihito came of age. [1] On February 27, 1946, the Emperor's youngest brother, Prince Mikasa (Takahito), even stood up in the privy council and indirectly urged the Emperor to step down and accept responsibility for Japan's defeat. U.S. General Douglas MacArthur insisted that Emperor Hirohito remain on the throne. MacArthur saw the Emperor as a symbol of the continuity and cohesion of the Japanese people.

On 13 July 2016, national broadcaster NHK reported that the Emperor intended to abdicate in favor of his eldest son Crown Prince Naruhito within a few years, citing his age; an abdication within the Imperial Family has not occurred since Emperor Kōkaku abdicated in 1817. However, senior officials within the Imperial Household Agency have denied that there is any official plan for the monarch to abdicate. A potential abdication by the Emperor would require an amendment to the Imperial Household Law, which currently has no provisions for such a move. [2] [3] On 8 August 2016, the Emperor gave a rare televised address, where he emphasized his advanced age and declining health; [4] this address is interpreted as an implication of his intention to abdicate. [5] On 1 December 2017, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that Emperor Akihito will step down on 30 April 2019. The announcement came after a meeting of the Imperial Household Council. [6]

On 19 May 2017, the bill that would allow Akihito to abdicate was issued by the Japanese government's cabinet. On 8 June 2017, the National Diet passed a one-off bill allowing Akihito to abdicate, and for the government to begin arranging the process of handing over the position to Crown Prince Naruhito. [7] The abdication officially occurred on 30 April 2019. [8] [9]

Other examples in recent history

To move to Rome and serve the Pope, Queen Christina of Sweden (daughter of Protestant champion Gustav II Adolph of Sweden) abdicated and shocked Europe Christina of Sweden's abdication 1654.jpg
To move to Rome and serve the Pope, Queen Christina of Sweden (daughter of Protestant champion Gustav II Adolph of Sweden) abdicated and shocked Europe

Hussein ibn Ali al-Hashimi, Sharif of Mecca abdicated the Kingdom of Hejaz in October 1924.[ citation needed ]

In recent decades, the monarchs or leaders of the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Vatican City state, Qatar, Cambodia, Bhutan and Japan have abdicated as a result of old age. In the Netherlands, the last three monarchs Wilhelmina, Juliana, and Beatrix have all abdicated. In all three instances, this was done to pass the throne to the heir sooner.

In June 2014, King Juan Carlos of Spain announced his intent to abdicate in favor of his son, Felipe. [10] Felipe took the throne as King Felipe VI on June 19. [11]

See also

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References

  1. Bix 2000, pp. 571–573.
  2. "天皇陛下 「生前退位」の意向示される ("His Majesty The Emperor Indicates His Intention to 'Abdicate'")" (in Japanese). NHK. 13 July 2016. Archived from the original on 13 July 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  3. "Japanese Emperor Akihito 'wishes to abdicate'". BBC News. 13 July 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  4. "Message from His Majesty The Emperor". The Imperial Household Agency. 8 August 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  5. "Japan's Emperor Akihito hints at wish to abdicate". BBC News. 8 August 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  6. "Japan's Emperor Akihito to abdicate in April 2019". BBC News. 1 December 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  7. "Japan passes landmark bill for Emperor Akihito to abdicate". BBC News. 8 June 2017.
  8. "Japan's Emperor Akihito abdicates". 30 April 2019. Retrieved 1 May 2019 via www.bbc.com.
  9. Osaki, Tomohiro (1 December 2017). "Japan sets date for Emperor Akihito's abdication as April 30, 2019". Japantimes.co.jp. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  10. "King of Spain to Abdicate for Son, Prince Felipe". VOA News. June 2, 2014. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  11. "Spain's King Attends Last Parade Before Abdication". Time Magazine. Associated Press. June 8, 2014. Retrieved June 8, 2014.

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