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Hereditary Republic

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"As a young man, I was taught to venerate President Tandi of Shady Sands. "The Founding Mother of the New California Republic." Did you know her Presidency lasted 52 years? And that her father, Aradesh, was the Republic's first President? Does that sound like democracy to you, or a hereditary dictatorship?"
Caesar, Fallout: New Vegas

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 from 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, while Hereditary Republic is when it's the "Republic" part that's in doubt (though they can and often do overlap). May even have a President for Life in charge. Many a Banana Republic, if not ruled by an out-and-out military dictator or junta, will also settle for this instead, being controlled by a small oligarchy of wealthy and/or politically-powerful dynasties, going through the pretense of regular elections.

Inverse of Elective Monarchy.



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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.
  • Konohagakure in Naruto is a downplayed version of this; four of the seven hokage are from the same bloodline and the 7th Hokage is the son of the 4th, but the rest were unrelated, though part of the same Master-Apprentice Chain.
    • Gaara Hiden reveals Sunagakure is this, as all the kazekage come from the same clan. This is brought up in the novel as the Suna Council worries about Temari's son, Shikadai (who is a Konoha citizen), claiming the position if his uncles were to die childless. However, Gaara later adopts Shinki, putting the issue to rest.
    • Kumogakure has shades of this, as the 3rd Raikage raised his son, the 4th Raikage, to be his successor. Averted by A himself, as his successor was his bodyguard, Darui.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

  • 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".
  • The Number of the Beast by Robert A. Heinlein includes a historical account that lists past U.S. presidents … including at least 5 Kennedys.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 the Para Imperium series Praetors of the Federation of Parahuman Species are elected, but all of them have come from a small group of high-profile lineages from the Argentum genus.
  • 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).
  • In the Safehold series, there are no literal examples, but it does have two nations (Siddarmark and the Temple Lands) where most candidates for the head of state position tend to be from a limited number of familiesnote , so it's hardly uncommon for the current ruler to be a descendant of a previous one, even if it doesn't literally pass down from father to son.
  • H. Beam Piper: 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 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.
  • Common the Emberverse series, in which the loss of high technology causes much of the former United States to revert to explicitly or implicitly feudalistic political structures, often despite the best intentions of the founders of any given nation:
    • Mike Havel, the founder and "boss man" (de facto head of state, often styled "Lord Bear") of the mercenary outfit-cum-nation the Bearkillers, passes on his title to his right-hand man Will Hutton on his deathbed with instructions to begin free elections the next year. Havel's widow Signe announces this plan in a speech to the people in which she frames Hutton's appointment as a regency until the majority of her and Havel's children, which she expects the Bearkillers to elect as soon as they are of age. When next we see the characters after a between-books Time Skip, the unelected Signe is wielding power as de facto regent herself.
    • Also within the Bearkillers, the next level of authority below the Lord Bear is the "A-List," a group of elite professional soldiers who are compensated for their service with land over which they hold political authority. While admission into the A-List is ostensibly by meritocracy, it's pointed out early on that the children of A-Listers will have a distinct advantage over the children of the lower classes by virtue of having more free time to train. In effect, the ostensibly democratic system creates a de facto landed aristocracy that becomes more entrenched as time goes on.
    • Clan Mackenzie ostensibly chooses its own chief through popular election; however the reigning chief appoints a "tanist" (apprentice and heir-apparent) who seems to be a shoe-in for the position barring extraordinary circumstances. The first chief, Juniper Mackenzie, appoints her son Rudi, who ends up becoming High King over the Mackenzies, Bearkillers, and several other nations in the setting.
    • In the United States of Boise, the presidency passes to the previous president's eldest son in a perfunctory election after the latter conspires with a foreign cult to assassinate his father.
  • The World Government becomes this in the later centuries of The Medusa Chronicles by Stephen Baxter and Alastair Reynolds, with the Springer-Soames family leveraging the Machine threat and their own Heroic Lineage to make the President a hereditary position.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series:
    • Prelude to Foundation: The Mayor of Wye is somehow a hereditary title, and until he abdicated in favour of Rashelle, it was ruled by Mannix IV.
    • "The Merchant Princes": The Republic of Korell has had a single director of power for several generations. The current one is called Commdor Asper, having inherited the title from his father.
    • "The Mule": The Foundation has allowed dictatorial power to reside in the hands of a single family, just as it would in a monarchy, except they refer to their successive leaders by a republican title (Mayor).
  • In Julian Comstock, the post-apocalyptic USA has a system of government similar to Ancient Rome in the Late Republic/Early Empire. Although it maintains the trappings of republican democracy it is effectively a monarchy with a landed aristocracy. There is no House of Representatives or Supreme Court; Senate seats are permanent and hereditary; and while the President is technically elected there are no term limits and the incumbent effectively runs unopposed. The eponymous Julian essentially inherits the presidency after the death of his uncle, the previous President.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • Carnival Row: The Burgue has aspects of this. First the Leader of the Opposition and then the Chancellor are both succeeded by their children. However, they still do have elections with power changing hands.
  • Some Doctor Who examples:
    • In "The Krotons", the leadership of the Gonds' ruling council is said to be hereditary, even though there's no indication of royal or aristocratic leanings otherwise.
    • In "Day of the Daleks", the Daleks' puppet ruler the Controller proudly states that his family has been controllers of the zone for three generations.
  • Tyrant (2014): 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. After Jamal's death, Barry automatically succeeds him, although he did manage to garner public support by becoming a hero in the civil war against the Islamic insurgency.

    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: As seen in the quote above, 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.
    • Ultimately, the NCR is a subversion; the NCR held regular, reasonably free and fair elections for its entire existence, and while Aradesh and Tandi had a significant popularity boost from being the founders of the NCR, they both ultimately stayed in power by virtue of their political acumen rather than any military coup or legalistic shenanigans. The reason Hoss never succeeded Tandi was that he was despised as a Spoiled Brat and made things that grow on the bottom of particularly unkempt ponds look intelligent and erudite.
  • In Far Cry 6, Anton Castillo, ruler of a Caribbean nation called Yara, intends for his son Diego to inherit his position of "El Presidente." He is also the son of the nation's previous dictator, who was overthrown in 1967 by communist guerillas.
  • In Crusader Kings II, you can play as trade families in Medieval Trade Republics, such as Pisa or Venice. Only the head of one of five families, including your family, can be elected to the office. Much of your job is making sure to play this trope as straight as possible by winning the elections with money, prestige, and the occasional assassination. On occasion, you or your vassals will create titles labeled 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.

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

    Western Animation 
  • In The Simpsons, while burying the Springfield time capsule, Mayor Quimby says it will be opened in the 31st Century " some future Mayor Quimby"
  • Steven Universe: Bill Dewey, the mayor of Beach City, is a direct descendant of the town's founder. A sign in "Story for Steven" implies Bill's father was the mayor before. However, Bill's son Buck has no interest whatsoever in politics, and Bill eventually loses re-election.

    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 the eternal president, meaning that the title of president can only belong to him in perpetuity even though he is dead.
    • 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". All this being said, none of this is especially unusual in the traditional monarchies of East Asia; historically, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese kings and emperors would frequently pass over older sons they deemed unworthy, and even in those times and places where a rule was in effect that would seem to dictate the monarch's choice (most typically, that the heir had to be the eldest son of the official empress or queen, i.e. the monarch's favored consort), ways were often found to ensure the crown went to the desired heir (for instance, if the "heir's mother must be official empress/queen" rule were in effect and the desired heir's mother was not the empress/queen, the monarch would depose the current empress/queen and replace her with the desired heir's mother). (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 Korean President from 2013 to 2017 Park Geun-hye was 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 ("Papa Doc") was succeeded by his son Jean-Claude Duvalier ("Baby Doc").
  • 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.
    • As of April 2018 Raul has handed the presidency to the unrelated Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez, though it remains to be seen how long the Castros will stay out of power.
  • 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, and made another, failed run in 2016.
      • 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 fifth cousins by blood but Eleanor Roosevelt was Teddy's niece to whom he was particularly close.
      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 again 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.
    • And in a broader sense, all US Presidents so far (sans Martin Van Buren) are descended from King John of England, possibly making it a constant lineage in the entirety of the United States' existence.
  • Similar to the political dynasties of the US, the UK famously has the Benn family who has never left politics, and once had the Pitts (William Pitt the Elder and William Pitt the Younger), as well as many lesser-known families. The Benns also hold the hereditary peerage of Viscount Stansgate and the Benn baronetcy. They include: Tony Benn, Hilary Benn (male name), Sir John Benn, Stephen Benn, Emily Benn, William Wedgwood Benn, and others.
  • More generally, up until quite recently the British government consisted of the elected House of Commons and the House of Lords, which held a mixture of people who inherited their seat and who were appointed to it for exceptional services to something or other. From 1911 onwards they lost most of their legislative power and could no longer completely veto bills presented to them, merely suggest amendments and revisions and send them back for a second vote, which in theory acts as a useful counterbalance on those occasions when what looks good in the polls and the newspapers and what's actually good for the country don't overlap. It wasn't until the 1990s that the hereditary seats were finally done away with altogethernote , which was surprisingly controversial at the time.
  • All the Stadholders of the Dutch Republic (1581-1795), while theoretically elected, were members of the House of Orange-Nassau and served for life. This gave the Dutch Republic the distinction of being a republic whose head of state was always a prince, since each Stadholder was also the monarch of the Principality of Orange (located in what's now the south of France) until 1713 when the Principality was seized by France. Despite no longer possessing Orange, they still used the title Prince of Orange. In 1747, the position of Stadholder became officially hereditary, dispensing with the pretense of electing the Prince of Orange every time. 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.note 
  • 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 three parent-and-child tandems have so far become President (father-and-daughter duo Diosdado Macapagal and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo note  / mother-and-son duo Corazon "Cory" Aquino and Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III / father-and-son duo Ferdinand Marcos Sr and Jr), 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 Dutertes 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.
    • The late Filipino Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago (herself part of a regional dynasty from the province of Iloilo in the Visayas, in the central Philippines) 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 — candidates who win the first time — even in effectively random circumstances — are four times more likely to have other relatives running for office in future. Make of that what you will.
    • In fact, someone drew up an enormously extensive political family tree, which reveals that almost all Philippine Presidents were related to one another by blood or marriage. The web certainly puts to shame the American presidents' claims of near-unanimous descent from King John.note 
    • This trope in the Philippine setting, in fact, is the entire thesis of sociologist Alfred W. McCoy's book-length study on dynastic power in the country, An Anarchy of Families: State and Family in the Philippines. It follows a handful of economically and politically powerful Filipino dynasties, and examines how they form the national oligarchy and how they gain, lose and hold onto wealth and power, how they often employ machine politics and electoral violence against each other, and how they're both cause and effect of a weak, pliable central state.
  • 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—originally, the title was Princeps Senatus, and was basically the "Speaker of the Senate" in modern terms), 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.
    • For the first couple of centuries after Augustus, it was rare for a ruler to pass power to his own son—far more commonly, the ruler would adopt a suitable heir (often marrying that heir to his daughter). That said, this was largely by chance. Very few of those emperors had adult or near-adult sons when they died (there were numerous instances of emperors scrambling to find a new heir because their sons and/or grandsons died young), and the few who did almost invariably picked that son as heir.
      • Augustus had one biological child, a daughter named Julia whom he married to several potential successors, including the eventual successor, his stepson Tiberius, son of his third wife, Livia Drusilla. Tiberius's son Drusus predeceased him, as did his brother Drusus and nephew Germanicus, while his other nephew Claudius was considered an idiot, but his great-nephew Caligula (who was Julia's grandson and Augustus's great-grandson on his mother's side) was available. Caligula was assassinated by his own Praetorian Guard, who installed Claudius (who turned out to be not such an idiot after all). Claudius had a living son when he died, but he was too young to rule and Caligula's nephew Nero assassinated him before he came of age. Nero's death was followed by the "Year of Four Emperors".
      • After the Year of Four Emperors Vespasian ruled ten years and then was succeeded by his son Titus. Titus died two years after that and was succeeded by his younger brother Domitian, who was assassinated by the senate.
      • The senate replaced Domitian with Nerva, the first of the "Five Good Emperors" who chose unrelated heirs. Except for the last, Marcus Aurelius, who was succeeded by his son Commodus, who proved to be a disastrous ruler.
    • The historian Anthony Kaldellis argues somewhat persuasively that it is useful to think of The Byzantine Empire as continuing the tradition of Roman hereditary republicanism rather than being a straight-up monarchy as traditionally depicted. Kaldellis notes that in the Byzantine system, the Emperor's legitimacy was merely boosted by being the son and heir of the previous one; he still had to secure the support of the army, the Senate (in the form of the Byzantine aristocracy and bureaucracy and the Orthodox Church, whose leaders generally held senatorial titles even though the Eastern Roman Senate held little direct power of itself), and the people of Constantinople in order to rule. If he pissed any one of these off enough, they could and did generally work to remove him (the army with coups, the "Senate" with palace intrigue, and the people with riot and revolt), and a new emperor with no recent imperial ancestry who could nonetheless secure the necessary support was generally seen as more legitimate than one who had imperial blood but no other claim to the throne.
  • 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.
    • In the case of Peru, it was only during the dictatorship of the General Velasco Alvarado in the 20th Century that the power of the aristocrats and landholders was irreversibly broken by his well-meaning but horribly botched Agrarian Laws, and while the old families still remain active in politics nowadays, they have undoubtedly lost the ground they once held.
  • While it's not at the national government level, the Australian federal parliament seat of Kennedy has been held by two families almost uninterrupted since 1929 (Riordan family from 1929-1966, Katter family 1966-present), excepting a single term when Bob Katter Sr died a month before the 1990 election.
  • The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was a political system that defies easy categorization. On the one hand it was ostensibly an Elective Monarchy with the head of state called "King". On the other hand the power of the king waxed and waned over time and ranged from nigh-absolute to nigh-ceremonial. Furthermore, the word the state used for itself is without a doubt (both etymologically and in its current use for the Third Polish Republic) the Polish word for "Republic". And the Sejm, the Polish "noble parliament" had a rather strong influence on all levels of policy. While the Sejm was never democratically elected, it did represent the "Szlachta" or Polish aristocracy which made up a much more substantial share of the population than in other countries.note  On at least one occasion, the Szlachta even deposed a king for essentially "violating the constitution", so one could argue Poland-Lithuania had a mechanism of "Impeachment". The office of "King" meanwhile was never officially hereditary, but not for lack of trying on the part of the Kings - some of them managed three or four generations of hereditary transitions (more than most Real Life examples in this list) before various reasons led to the Sejm choosing a different person king.