TYPES OF GOVERNMENT
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A government is the organization, or agency
through which a political unit exercises its
authority, controls and administers public
policy, and directs and controls the actions
of its members or subjects.
Typically, the term "government" refers to
the civil government of a sovereign state
which can be either local, national, or
international. However, commercial, academic,
religious, or other formal organizations are
also governed by internal bodies. Such bodies
may be called boards of directors, managers,
or governors or they may be known as the
administration (as in schools) or councils of
elders (as in forest). The size of governments
can vary by region or purpose.
Growth of an organization advances the complexity
of its government, therefore small towns or
small-to-medium privately operated enterprises
will have fewer officials than typically larger
organizations such as multinational corporations
which tend to have multiple interlocking,
hierarchical layers of administration and
governance. As complexity increases and the
nature of governance becomes more complicated,
so does the need for formal policies and
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a political philosophy which considers
the state to be unnecessary, harmful,
or otherwise undesirable, and favors
instead a stateless society.
Authoritarian governments are characterized
by an emphasis on the authority of the state
in a republic or union. It is a political
system controlled by nonelected rulers who
usually permit some degree of individual
Communism is a sociopolitical structure that
aims for a classless and stateless society
with the communal ownership of property.
A government that has a monarch, but one
whose powers are limited by law or by a
Example: United Kingdom.
A government whose powers are limited by
law or a formal constitution, and chosen
by a vote amongst at least some sections
of the populace (Ancient Sparta was in its
own terms a republic, though most inhabitants
were disenfranchised; The early United States
was a republic, but the large numbers of
slaves and women did not have the vote).
Republics which exclude sections of the
populace from participation will typically
claim to represent all citizens (by defining
people without the vote as "non-citizens").
Rule by a government (usually a Constitutional
Republic or Constitutional Monarchy) chosen by
election where most of the populace are
enfranchised. The key distinction between a
democracy and other forms of constitutional
government is usually taken to be that the
right to vote is not limited by a person's
wealth or race (the main qualification for
enfranchisement is usually having reached a
A Democratic government is, therefore, one
supported (at least at the time of the
election) by a majority of the populace
(provided the election was held fairly). A
"majority" may be defined in different ways.
There are many "power-sharing" (usually in
countries where people mainly identify
themselves by race or religion) or
"electoral-college" or "constituency" systems
where the government is not chosen by a simple
Rule by an individual who has full power
over the country. The term may refer to
a system where the dictator came to power,
and holds it, purely by force - but it also
includes systems where the dictator first
came to power legitimately but then was able
to amend the constitution so as to, in effect,
gather all power for themselves.
Rule by an individual who has inherited the
role and expects to bequeath it to their heir.
Rule by a small group of people who share
similar interests or family relations.
A government composed of the wealthy class.
Any of the forms of government listed here
can be plutocracy. For instance, if all of
the voted representatives in a republic are
wealthy, then it is a republic and a
Rule by a religious elite.
Totalitarian governments regulate nearly
every aspect of public and private life.
A legalistic government enforces the law
with rewards to those who obey the laws
and harsh punishments to people who go
against the law.
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According to supporters of government, the
fundamental purpose of government is the
maintenance of basic security and public
order. The philosopher Thomas Hobbes
reasoned that people were rational animals
and thus saw submission to a government
dominated by a sovereign as preferable to
According to Hobbes, people in a community
create and submit to government for the
purpose of establishing for themselves
safety and public order.
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