Hereditary Republic

Most countries today are republics, wherein the leaders are elected (or at least pretend to be).

There are, however, some republics in which the power resides in the hands of a single family, just as it would in a monarchy, except they refer to their leaders by republican titles (usually president, but sometimes Prime Minister), and there is no actual law stating that the succession works thusly. It usually overlaps with Just the First Citizen.

It gets hazy around the edges when the dynasty merely occupies most positions, or there are several Blue Blood or Old Money families that frequently rotate through the same office. Historically most republics (in contrast to democracies) have tended to have been oligarchies, where either the highest aristocrat or the highest plutocrat families have elected a head of government amongst an inner circle of candidates, easily creating "hereditary" heads of government - especially if two competing families have elected a third family representative to prevent their competitor becoming too influential.

Not quite the same as the People's Republic of Tyranny; that's when the country doesn't seem to fit the "democratic" or "people's" descriptor. Hereditary Republic is when it's the "Republic" part that's in doubt. May even have a President for Life in charge.

Inverse of Elective Monarchy.

Examples:

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     Anime and Manga 
  • It is strongly implied that the Kururugi and Sumeragi families ruled the Code Geass world's version of Japan in this way before the Britannian invasion. In the audio dramas, Prime Minister Genbu Kururugi suggests that war could be prevented by the Arranged Marriage of a member of one of those families and a Britannian royal. Suzaku also says that as "heir to the Kururugi name", he is far superior to the now-deposed Prince Lelouch, his family's hostage, and he seems to be expected to grow up to succeed his father. Kaguya Sumeragi is also referred to as a princess in several places.

     Fan Works  

     Literature  

  • The Honor Harrington books feature a few of these (of course):
    • The People's Republic of Haven had a sort of nobility in the form of the Legislaturalists, the powerful families that made up the constantly-elected leadership of the nation. Their leader was Hereditary President Harris until he and most of the rest of the Legislaturalists were assassinated as part of a coup by what would become the Committee of Public Safety.
    • The Republic of Monica, which features in the later books, has a similar form of government, though they maintained that their their leader, President Tyler, had been legitimately elected for every consecutive term he served. Just like his father and grandfather had. And just like his son would be.
  • In Foundation, The Republic of Korell and for a time the Foundation itself.
  • In Space Viking, Trask meets a shocked young man who has just become "Hereditary President of the Democratic Republic of Tetragrammaton", thanks to his father's death at the hands of Dunnan's raiders.
  • In Russell Kirk's A Creature Of The Twilight: Following the murder of President/Sultan Ali by "certain disemboweling progress-evangels", the Loyalists proclaim his son Achmet as "Hereditary President of Hamnegri and Sultan in Kalidu."
  • Happens to the United States in the science-fiction short story Vilcabamba by Harry Turtledove. Aliens invade Earth and the US president Harris Moffatt flees to the Rockies, where he governs a rump United States (and Canada, since he is also bestowed the title of Prime Minister by Canadian refugees) for life. He is succeeded by his son, President Harris Moffatt II, and his grandson, Harris Moffatt III, until the latter is defeated in war by the aliens and the rump USA extinguished. Mention is also made of Harris Moffatt III's son and presumed heir, Harris Moffatt IV.
  • In Harry Harrison's The Stainless Steel Rat Runs For President, Slippery Jim argues for republics with a noble by saying it can work to keep the incompetent nobles out of positions; you can juggle things so that the plebians keep on electing the right sort of Blue Blood.
  • The StarCraft expanded universe states that this was the case for the Confederacy of Man. It was ostensibly a democracy, but in truth an oligarchy of a few rich, powerful families ran the place. This was then overthrown during the course of the Terran campaign in the first game and replaced with a garden-variety dictatorship under Arcturus Mengsk.
  • In Diane Duane's Rihannsu novels the Rihan (Romulan) government is run as an aristocratic council system, with deihuin (senators) and fvillhuin (praetors) inheriting their posts from their parents (except if there's no clear heir or when there's dishonor involved). About the only way constituents have of influencing their representatives is by pressuring them to kill themselves when they're doing a bad job (and assassinating them if they don't do this once their constituents start mailing them swords).
  • Most governments who hire Hammer's Slammers are loosely based on 20th century third world countries, In Space. So naturally many of them are officially republics whose presidents come from one family or a small oligarchy of families, who may or may not have aristocratic titles as well, including Colonel Hammer's homeworld of Friesland. When he comes back and takes over he marries the daughter of a previous president he had killed in order to legitimize his coup.
  • In the Alternate History classic For Want of a Nail, after the United States of Mexico conquers New Granada, Mexican dictator Benito Hermion installed his older brother Victariano as President. Even after Benito was overthrown and exiled from Mexico, Victariano remained in control of New Granada until his death, at which point his son Carl took over as President.

     Live Action Television  

  • In The 100, the Wallace family has held the Presidency of Mount Weather for three generations since Dante Wallace's father. His son Cage takes it from him in a coup, however.
  • Tyrant: Abbudin is one. Not only does Jamal Al Fayeed succeed his father as president (who had been in office ever since he seized power years before) but it's revealed that they aren't elected, even in a fixed race, until Barry convinces Jamal to amend the constitution so they will be. This makes it a more blatant example than most.

     Tabletop RPG  

  • Classic Traveller supplement The Traveller Adventure, adventure "The Wolf at the Door". On the planet Aramanx the Republic of Lanax has three co-equal heads of state. Originally they were selected by a democratically elected Administrative Council, but after a "political reorganization" at least two of the three positions are always held by members of the Klaven family, which gives them control of the country.
  • Shadowrun supplement Tir na Nog. The government of the title country (which used to be called Ireland) appears to be democratic, but is actually under the control of the Danann Families.
  • Most of the major Inner Sphere factions in BattleTech have names like "The Federated Suns" and "Lyran Commonwealth" but otherwise they are quite openly feudal.
  • In Rocket Age most Martian city states are principalities, as it is against religious law to claim the title of king or emperor, but some use democratic titles such as prime minister. This has absolutely no impact on the fundamental nature of the city state, as the position is still hereditary until someone ousts the current ruler.

     Video Games  

  • Fallout: New Vegas: If you ask Caesar what he thinks about the New California Republic, he will point out that President Tandi served for 52 years without interruption, and that the previous president was her father. He describes this as a "hereditary dictatorship" and the best part of the NCR's history. Averted in the case of her son Hoss, who did not take over after his mother.
  • In Crusader Kings 2, you can play as several trade Republics, such as Pisa or Venice. Only the head of one of five families can be elected to the office, and much of your job is making sure to play this trope as straight as possible. On occasion, you or your vassals will create titles labelled as "The Republic of X", with the same hereditary succession laws that came before it. There are republics that just elect a (for the purposes of the game) random character, but they aren't playable for precisely the reason that they can't semi-reliably be this trope (Crusader Kings is about playing as a dynasty rather than, technically, about playing a state).
  • In Pillars of Eternity, the Vailian Republics are a confederation of Renaissance Italian-style city-states, each ruled by a hereditary duc or ducess who in turn also sits on a legislature that runs the country.

     Web Comics  

  • In Crimson Dark the Republic of Daranir is officially listed as a constitutional monarchy led by a Chancellor.

     Real Life  

Hoo, boy...

  • North Korea. The first General Secretary of the Korean Workers' Party (which made him the leader) was Kim Il-sung. The next was Kim Jong-il, his son. After his death, his son Kim Jong-un was announced as the successor. Oh, and Kim Il-sung is still president, years after his death.
    • North Korea doesn't quite operate like a "normal" hereditary monarchy, as Kim Jong-un is actually Kim Jong-il's youngest son. What happened to Jong-un's two older brothers? Well, the eldest brother was disowned by the family for trying to sneak into Tokyo Disneyland. And Kim Jong-il thought his middle son was "no good because he is like a little girl". Kim Jong-un also has an older sister, but she was obviously never in the running in North Korea's highly patriarchal society.
  • Meanwhile, across the 38th parallel, South Korea's current President Park Geun-hye is the daughter of former President Park Chung-hee, the developmental dictator whose iron rule eventually made South Korea's economic success possible in the long run (she was also his First Lady because her mother/his wife had been killed early on during his regime).
  • The Republic of Nicaragua had the Somoza dictatorship, which ran from 1934 to 1979. Anastasio Somoza Garcia (father), Luis Somoza Debayle and Anastasio Somoza Debayle all held the office of President (the former two dying in office) at various times, but their real base of power was being head of the national guard.
    • Before the Somozas, there was the political dynasty of the Chamorros, who are still the majority owners of one of the biggest newspapers in the country, La Prensa, as well as the founders of the other major newspaper, El Nuevo Diario. The name of the first President after Somoza and the revolution defeating him were over in 1990? Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, widow of the editor in chief of La Prensa who had been murdered in 1978.note 
  • England (and Wales), Scotland and Ireland were a republic under Oliver Cromwell, who was succeeded by his son Richard, though this was mainly because Cromwell most emphatically refused the crown that Parliament was fully prepared to offer him. Other than that he was the King in everything but name (indeed Cromwell held more power than the King of England he overthrew had held). Richard was widely hated. After this dynasty began, people figured they might as well restore the monarchy and invited back the last king's son from exile to become Charles II.
  • Haiti's François Duvalier was succeeded by his son Jean-Claude Duvalier.
  • Syria, where Hafez al-Assad handed off power to his son Bashar, and had originally been planning to have his eldest son Bassel succeed him before Bassel died in a car crash.
  • Averted by Egypt, where Hosni Mubarak might well have left the presidency to his younger son Gamal had it not been for the Arab Spring. Indeed, trying to avert this was one of the main reasons Egyptians revolted in the first place—although it's likely that there would have been a revolution anyway even if Mubarak had promised not to give Gamal the presidency. You see, the hereditary succession was seen more as a symbol of the regime's corruption, and while most Egyptians were opposed to the idea on principle, most would also admit that they wouldn't have had much of a problem with it if it didn't occur in the context of a corrupt, authoritarian, and cynical regime.
  • Raul succeeded his brother Fidel Castro as President of Cuba. Subverted in that Raul was a leading political figure in his own right and that none of the politicians tipped as likely successors are related to the Castro brothers. Given that both of the Castro brothers have many children, that probably does a lot to prevent future power struggles.
  • Azerbaijan. The previous president, Heydar Aliyev, made his son Ilkham the next president.
  • The United States has had several political dynasty families (generally at state or local levels of government) with associated political machines (and sometimes with high levels of corruption and patronage). These include the Daleys of Chicago, the Byrds of Virginia, the Kennedys of Massachusetts, the Sullivans of Alaska, the Udalls of the Western US, and the Tafts of Ohio.
    • When the Democrats were choosing a candidate for the 2008 election, it was noted that if Hillary Clinton became president, and served two terms, the USA would have been led for 28 years by members of two families.
    • Then subverted when she wasn't nominated. Though she was later appointed Secretary of State. Now she's running for President again.
      • Since Jeb Bush ran for President in 2016, one can't avoid imagining an Alternate Timeline where Hillary Clinton became president only to be succeeded by another President Bush. As is, the Bush family includes two senators, a Supreme Court Justice, two governors, and two presidents, along with many less notable politicians.
    • There have been three cases when a president has been the descendant of a previous one: John Quincy Adams and George W. Bush were the sons of John Adams and George H.W. Bush, respectively, while Benjamin Harrison was the grandson of William Henry Harrison. Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt were distant cousins who were also closely related by marriage.
      None, however, directly succeeded their ancestors. Dubya came closest—he entered office "only" eight years and one intervening presidency (that of Bill Clinton) after his father left it and George H.W. Bush lived to see his son serve out both terms. Meanwhile, there were 24 years and three presidents between the two Adamsesnote  and John Adams himself died in the second year of his son's presidency, while William Henry Harrison famously didn't live out his own term, never mind see his grandson enter the White House 48 years later. The Roosevelts were separated by 24 years and 5 presidents note , and Teddy did not live to see FDR elected.
    • When Senator Frank Murkowski of Alaska was elected Governor in 2002, he gained the right to appoint the replacement who would finish his term in the Senate. He appointed his daughter, Lisa Murkowski, who went on to be elected in her own right. And then elected against despite not being an official candidate, making her only the second person ever elected to the Senate via write-in votes. Despite Lisa Murkowski proving to be very popular among Alaskans, the fact that her father appointed her to the seat was politically damaging to him.
  • All the Stadholders of the Dutch Republic (1581-1795), while theoretically elected, were members of the House of Orange-Nassau and served for life. After The Napoleonic Wars the Netherlands were made into an outright kingdom with Orange-Nassau as its royal house, which has remained on the throne up to this day.
  • India has the Nehru�Gandhi family: Jawaharlal Nehru, his daughter Indira Gandhi, and her son Rajiv Gandhi have all been Prime Ministers of India (the latter two were both assassinated). Furthermore Rajiv's widow Sonia Gandhi is the current President of India's Congress Party, while their son Rahul is its General Secretary. Surprisingly, not related to Mahatma Gandhi since Gandhi is a relatively commonplace surname in India, and Indira Gandhi's husband Feroze, who adopted his mother's last name of Gandhy, changed the spelling for that of the man himself to honor him (or to maximize political mileage, if you want to be cynical).
  • And Pakistan has the Bhuttos: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his daughter Benazir Bhutto were both Prime Ministers of Pakistan. After the latter's assassination her husband was elected President and their son made chairman of the Pakistan People's Party.
  • Greece's politics can also be very dynastic. The most famous instances of these being the multiple Papandreous (Giorgios, his son Andreas, his grandson Giorgios) and Karamanlises (Konstantinos,his nephew Konstantinos Androu "Kostas") who have served as Prime Ministers or Presidents.
  • All of these examples probably pale in comparison with the Philippines, where two parent-and-child tandems have been President (Diosdado Macapagal and daughter Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo / Corazon "Cory" Aquino and son Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III), where the entire government is at the mercy of around 178 families (see the full list here), where at least three in four members of Congress have other relatives sitting in office, and where some families have held power in the same province or city for almost a century if not more. The list of examples run from the Aquinos to the Arroyos to the Binays to the Marcoses � and so on ad infinitum. In fact, if not for the need to pretend at democracy, all that's missing is a formal peerage system.
    • Filipino Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has publicly called the Philippines "the political dynasty capital of the world". That is how bad it is.
    • Consider that a study was done on the effect of family pedigree on winnability at the elections. The results revealed that, other factors constant, any candidate is four times more likely to win an election if he or she has at least one other relative in office. Make of that what you will.
  • The Roman Republic ended up like this, with a handful of families passing the post of consul between them.
  • The Roman Empire, at least at first. Augustus Caesar was, after all, only the Republic's First Citizen (the term became "prince" later, which itself comes from the word "first" in Latin), and throughout his dynasty, there was juggling of the actual offices held. The pretense slid away slowly, because Rome's previous bad experience with monarchy meant it was politically expedient to not admit becoming one again. Augustus taking office was the de facto beginning of the Empire, but they waited three centuries before finally admitting that Rome had become an absolute dictatorship when the Princeps became Dominus.
    • Even before Caesar the Senate and most elected positions in the Roman Republic were only open to Patricians, Rome's hereditary aristocracy.
  • Venice, Genoa, San Marino and many other of Italy's city states of the Middle Ages started as republics, but with time the positions of power ended up in the hands of a few families (San Marino resisted until the seventeenth century). Eventually most of them became first lordships and then duchies (or were absorbed by those who became duchies), with the exceptions of Venice and Genoa, that remained hereditary republics until the end, and San Marino, which reverted to an actual republic in 1906.
  • Despite not being a republic in the first place, Denmark made an honest try for this when the three prime ministers in office between 1993 and 2011 all had the family name Rasmussen. Unfortunately they were not related at all; Rasmussen is a somewhat common patronymic.
  • If you ever delve into 19th century Latin American history (of really any country in the area), there is usually a pattern of "handful of conservative families let the presidency rotate between them" - "Liberal coup / electoral landslide" - "Infinite reelection of the liberal caudillo" - Conservative coup / return to "democracy" and the cycle starts at the beginning again. The conservative families usually own(ed) most land worth owning and were/are an aristocracy in all but name. The only thing that was changed by the 20th century was the advent of "communism" as a label for the fighters against the dynastic elite and the increasingly blatant and ruthless right wing military dictatorships.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HereditaryRepublic