Democracy Monument

Location :
Located in the middle of a traffic circle at the intersection of Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue and Dinso Road in Phra Nakhon district of Bangkok.
Age :
Built in 1939 during the reign of King Rama VIII.
Type of Monument :
Unregistered monument.


The Siamese revolution on 24 July 1932 was one of the most important events in Thai history, transforming the country from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. The revolution was launched in the early morning of 24 July by the Khana Ratsadon ("Peoples' Party"). The revolution promoters announced six principles to be used as guidelines for the upcoming government:
  1. To protect the nation’s sovereignty.
  2. To maintain national security.
  3. To maintain the economic welfare of the Thai people.
  4. To protect the rights and equality of the Thai people.
  5. To protect the people's freedom.
  6. To provide public education for all citizens.
After staging the coup d’etat, Khana Ratsadon worked to achieve the six principles. They published the 1932 temporary charter and later the 1932 constitution. They hoped that the changes would hasten the country’s development, however they faced many struggles as the group’s three factions could not agree on the desired outcomes.
In 1938, Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram (Marshal P.), who at the time was Major General Phibunsongkram, became Prime Minister of Thailand. The following year, in 1939, he announced that 24 July would be the National Day in celebration of the establishment of the constitutional monarchy. He led the initiative to build a monument to commemorate its establishment, and to raise public awareness regarding democracy and to urge the Thai people to protect democracy and the constitution.
Marshal P. set up a committee to select the location for the Democracy Monument. After several meetings, the committee reached a resolution to build the monument on Ratchadamnoen Avenue where it would be connected to Dinso Road, which was under construction at the time, leading from the National Day Bridge. The government also planned to renovate Ratchadamnoen Avenue so this was the perfect location to build a traffic circle with the monument at its center.
The resolution was proposed and approved by the government. On 24 July 1939, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Democracy Monument was held. The ceremony was presided over by Marshal P. The government appointed the Fine Arts Department led by Silpa Bhirasri to design the monument according to the government’s brief. Construction began in July 1939 and finished on 22 June 1940. Marshal P. presided over the monument’s opening ceremony held on 24 June 1940.
The total construction cost was Bt250,000.

Value and Significance

The Democracy Monument is a permanent monument built to commemorate the institution of the constitutional monarchy.

Architectural and Artistic Features

The Democracy Monument is situated on a raised round base. The centrepiece of the monument is a round turret with a carved representation of a palm-leaf manuscript box holding the Thai Constitution of 1932, sitting atop offering bowls. The turret has six doors. A sword is carved on each door. Four 24-metre-high wing-like structures surround the turret. Twenty-four metres is also the radius of the base of the monument measured from the centre of the turret to the outer edge of the round base. At the base of the four wings are relief sculptures depicting the revolution launched by Khana Ratsadon.

Preservation and Restoration

  • Sometime after 1968 - the specific year is unknown - the black offering bowl holding the constitution manuscript box was painted gold.

The Democracy Monument contains symbolism relating to the revolution of 1932.
The offering bowl holding the constitution manuscript box on the top of the turret is made of bronze and is three metres high. It represents the month of June, the third month of the traditional Thai calendar, which was the month in which the revolution took place. The number also represents the three levels of constitutional sovereignty which are the legislature, the executive branch, and the judiciary.

The four wings surrounding the turret are 24 metres high and this is also the radius of the base of the monument. The number represents 24 June, the date that the revolution took place. The four wings also represent the glory of democracy.

The swords carved on the six doors of the turret represent the six principles drafted by Khana Ratsadon.

The relief sculptures on the base of the four wings depict the story of the 1932 revolution.

The 75 small cannons encircling the outer perimeter of the monument represent the last two digits of the year of the coup, 2475 in the Buddhist calendar. The muzzles of the cannons are buried below the ground while the breech of each cannon is connected with a chain representing the unity of the Khana Ratsadon.

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