The turbulent decades around 1800 did not spell the end of dynasty, but they carried the message that alternative forms of power might in the long run gain ascendancy. While royal legitimacy was now openly contested, republics remained the exception until 1918. ‘The dynastic impulse in the modern world’ considers the breakdown of empires that led to the creation of new states, many of them monarchies. It shows how modern autocrats mimic forms of dynastic representation, promoting their families, and designating their own successors. Finally, it highlights the remarkable continuities of dynastic practice in ‘political families’ and family businesses around the world.