Since the mid-19th century, monarchist movements have rarely defended monarchy on the basis of abstract, universal principles applicable to all nations, or even on the grounds that a monarchy would be the best or most practical government for the nation in question. Rather, monarchies have generally been defended on local symbolic grounds that they are a particular nation's link to the past. However, two things should be noted: as monarchists usually come from a pragmatic or empirical tradition like many conservatives, they usually do not have abstract, universal principles anyway (so while such may indeed exist, they are not where monarchists are coming from); and, for the same practical reasons, monarchists tend to bring out the argument in terms readily understood by their adversaries or by undecided elements as it would not be practical to "preach to the choir", calling on principles which while possibly true are not accepted as true by their hearers.
Hence, post-19th century debates on whether to preserve a monarchy or to adopt a republican form of government have generally been debates over national identity, with the monarch generally serving as a symbol for other issues.
For example, in Australia and Ireland, debates over monarchy represent or represented debates whose driving force concerned each nation's relationship with the United Kingdom and the cultural heritage that that represents, as well as other substantive matters.