What benefits has the U.S. enjoyed due to the absence of persons striving to be a king or dictator?

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Two benefits that we have reaped by having eliminated these means of succession are transfer of leadership without violence and transfer of leadership based, at least theoretically, on merit, rather than on heredity.  Those who seek to be dictators usually need physical force to back up their accession to power and/or to maintain their power. Those who strive to be king (or queen) are generally staking their claim on a familial relationship.  These benefits confer upon the United States a stability not enjoyed by many other countries.  Every four years, we elect a head of state, without violence, based to some degree on merit, and with the machinery of government firmly intact and functional, which allows it to do its work during the transition.  Of course, I should also add that there are countries with a monarchies that also enjoy this stability, those which are constitutional monarchies with clear succession lines and figurehead royalty.

It is going to be quite interesting to see how recent events in Middle Eastern countries will play out, given the ouster or almost ouster of some kings and dictators.  Will provision be made for leadership and succession that is similar to that of the United States?  Or will the instability of past mechanisms prevail?  I have included a link to an article that discusses the idea that some cultures do not naturally support a democracy.  Does this mean that those cultures are doomed to the instability of the succession of king or dictators, suffering from the lack of benefits our system provides?

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