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A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and
judiciary The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government i ...
. Government is a means by which organizational policies are enforced, as well as a mechanism for determining policy. Each government has a kind of constitution, a statement of its governing principles and philosophy. While all types of organizations have governance, the term ''government'' is often used more specifically, to refer to the approximately 200
independent national governments Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvania, area of the United States during the early 1930s * Independent ...
and subsidiary organizations. Historically prevalent forms of government include monarchy,
aristocracy Aristocracy ( grc-gre, ἀριστοκρατία , from 'excellent', and , 'rule') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: A ...
,
timocracy A timocracy (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 mil ...
,
oligarchy Oligarchy (; ) is a form of power structure A power structure is an overall system of influence between any individual and every other individual within any selected group of people. A description of a power structure would capture the way in ...
, democracy,
theocracy Theocracy is a form of government in which one or more deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the laws of nature. This term is attributed to non-phys ...

theocracy
and
tyranny A tyrant (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following peri ...

tyranny
. The main aspect of any philosophy of government is how political power is obtained, with the two main forms being
electoral contest An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold Public administration, public office.
and
hereditary succession An order of succession or right of succession is the line of individuals entitled to hold a high office when it becomes vacated such as head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state ...
.


Definitions and etymology

A government is the
system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundaries, structure and purp ...

system
to
govern A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, Executive (government), ex ...

govern
a
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
or community. The word ''government'' derives, ultimately, from the Greek verb κυβερνάω 'kubernáo''(meaning ''to steer'' with
gubernaculum The paired gubernacula (from Ancient Greek κυβερνάω = pilot, steer) also called the caudal genital ligament, are embryonic structures which begin as undifferentiated mesenchyme attaching to the Caudal (anatomical term), caudal end of the ...
(rudder), the metaphorical sense being attested in
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought and the Platoni ...

Plato
's
Ship of State The Ship of State is a famous and oft-cited metaphor A metaphor is a figure of speech that, for rhetorical effect, directly refers to one thing by mentioning another. It may provide (or obscure) clarity or identify hidden similarities between t ...
). The Columbia Encyclopedia defines government as "a system of social control under which the right to make laws, and the right to enforce them, is vested in a particular group in society". While all types of organizations have governance, the word ''government'' is often used more specifically to refer to the approximately 200
independent national governments Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvania, area of the United States during the early 1930s * Independent ...
on Earth, as well as their subsidiary organizations. Finally, ''government'' is also sometimes used in English as a
synonym A synonym is a word, morpheme A morpheme is the smallest meaningful lexical item in a language. A morpheme is not a word. The difference between a morpheme and a word is that a morpheme bound and free morphemes, sometimes does not stand alone ...
for
governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity ...

governance
.


History

The moment and place that the phenomenon of human government developed is lost in time; however, history does record the formations of early governments. About 5,000 years ago, the first small city-states appeared. By the third to second millenniums BC, some of these had developed into larger governed areas:
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
,
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

Ancient Egypt
, the
Indus Valley Civilization The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC), also known as the Indus Civilisation, was a Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is ...

Indus Valley Civilization
, and the Yellow River Civilization. The development of agriculture and
water control Flood control methods are used to reduce or prevent the detrimental effects of flood A flood is an overflow of water that submerges land that is usually dry. In the sense of "flowing water", the word may also be applied to the inflow of th ...
projects were a catalyst for the development of governments.The New Encyclopædia Britannica (15th edition) On occasion a chief of a tribe was elected by various rituals or tests of strength to govern his tribe, sometimes with a group of elder tribesmen as a council. The human ability to precisely communicate abstract, learned information allowed humans to become ever more effective at agriculture, and that allowed for ever increasing population densities. David Christian explains how this resulted in states with laws and governments. Starting at the end of the 17th century, the prevalence of republican forms of government grew. The
Glorious Revolution The Glorious Revolution of November 1688 ( ga, An Réabhlóid Ghlórmhar; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus), the invasion also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or Glorious Crossing by the Dutch, was the deposition of ...
in England, the
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colo ...
, and the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
contributed to the growth of representative forms of government. The
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
was the first large country to have a
Communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

Communist
government. Since the fall of the
Berlin Wall The Berlin Wall (german: Berliner Mauer, ) was a guarded concrete barrier A barrier or barricade is a physical structure which blocks or impedes something. Barrier may also refer to: Places * Barrier, Kentucky, a community in the Unite ...

Berlin Wall
,
liberal democracy Liberal democracy, also referred to as Western democracy, is the combination of a liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a L ...
has become an even more prevalent form of government. In the nineteenth and twentieth century, there was a significant increase in the size and scale of government at the national level. This included the regulation of corporations and the development of the
welfare state The welfare state is a form of government in which the state (or a well-established network of social institutions) protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of its citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity Equal o ...
.


Political science


Classification

In political science, it has long been a goal to create a typology or taxonomy of
polities A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of institutionalized social relations, and have a capacity to mobilize resources. A polity can be any other group o ...
, as typologies of political systems are not obvious. It is especially important in the
political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as ...
fields of comparative politics and
international relations International relations (IR), international affairs (IA) or international studies (IS) is the scientific study of interactions between sovereign states. In a broader sense, it concerns all activities between states—such as war, diplomacy ...
. Like all categories discerned within forms of government, the boundaries of government classifications are either fluid or ill-defined. Superficially, all governments have an official or ideal form. The United States is a constitutional republic, while the former Soviet Union was a
socialist republic Socialism is a Political philosophy, political, Social philosophy, social, and Economic ideology, economic philosophy encompassing a range of Economic system, economic and social systems characterised by social ownershipArnold, N. Scott (1998 ...
. However self-identification is not objective, and as Kopstein and Lichbach argue, defining regimes can be tricky. For example,
Voltaire François-Marie Arouet (; 21 November 169430 May 1778), known by his ''nom de plume A pen name, also called a ''nom de plume'' () or a literary double, is a pseudonym A pseudonym () or alias () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) is a ...

Voltaire
argued that "the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
is neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire". Identifying a form of government is also difficult because many
political systems In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of politics, political activities, political thoughts, political behavior, and asso ...
originate as socio-economic movements and are then carried into governments by parties naming themselves after those movements; all with competing political-ideologies. Experience with those movements in power, and the strong ties they may have to particular forms of government, can cause them to be considered as forms of government in themselves. Other complications include general non-consensus or deliberate " distortion or bias" of reasonable technical definitions to political ideologies and associated forms of governing, due to the nature of politics in the modern era. For example: The meaning of "conservatism" in the United States has little in common with the way the word's definition is used elsewhere. As Ribuffo notes, "what Americans now call conservatism much of the world calls liberalism or
neoliberalism Neoliberalism, or neo-liberalism, is a term used to describe the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with free-market In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with valu ...

neoliberalism
"; a "conservative" in Finland would be labeled a "
socialist Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive pr ...

socialist
" in the United States. Since the 1950s conservatism in the United States has been chiefly associated with the
Republican Party Republican Party is a name used by many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members of a political party to have similar ideas about polit ...
. However, during the era of
segregationSegregation may refer to: Separation of people * Geographical segregation, rates of two or more populations which are not homogenous throughout a defined space *Educational segegration * Housing segregation * Racial segregation, separation of huma ...
many
Southern DemocratsSouthern Democrats are members of the U.S. Democratic Party who reside in the Southern United States The southern United States, also known as the American South, the southern states, or simply the South, is a geographic and cultural List of re ...
were conservatives, and they played a key role in the
Conservative Coalition The Conservative Coalition was an unofficial Congressional coalition founded in 1937, which brought together the conservative Conservatism is a Political philosophy, political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions. ...
that controlled Congress from 1937 to 1963.


Social-political ambiguity

Opinions vary by individuals concerning the types and properties of governments that exist. "Shades of gray" are commonplace in any government and its corresponding classification. Even the most liberal democracies limit rival political activity to one extent or another while the most tyrannical dictatorships must organize a broad base of support thereby creating difficulties for " pigeonholing" governments into narrow categories. Examples include the claims of the
United States as being a plutocracy
United States as being a plutocracy
rather than a democracy since some American voters believe elections are being manipulated by wealthy
Super PACs In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washi ...
.


Dialectical forms

The
Classical Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, ancient , ''Hellēnikḗ'') is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European family of languages, nati ...
philosopher
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought and the Platoni ...

Plato
discusses five types of regimes:
aristocracy Aristocracy ( grc-gre, ἀριστοκρατία , from 'excellent', and , 'rule') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: A ...
,
timocracy A timocracy (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 mil ...
,
oligarchy Oligarchy (; ) is a form of power structure A power structure is an overall system of influence between any individual and every other individual within any selected group of people. A description of a power structure would capture the way in ...
, democracy and
tyranny A tyrant (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following peri ...

tyranny
. Plato also assigns a man to each of these regimes to illustrate what they stand for. The tyrannical man would represent tyranny for example. These five regimes progressively degenerate starting with aristocracy at the top and tyranny at the bottom.


Forms

One method of classifying governments is through which people have the authority to rule. This can either be one person (an autocracy, such as monarchy), a select group of people (an aristocracy), or the people as a whole (a democracy, such as a republic).
Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes ( ; sometimes known as Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury; 5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679) was an , considered to be one of the founders of modern . Hobbes is best known for his 1651 book ', in which he expounds an influential form ...
stated on their classification:


Autocracy

An autocracy is a system of government in which supreme
power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of power is the watt, equal to one joule per second. In older works, p ...
is concentrated in the hands of one person, whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regularized mechanisms of popular control (except perhaps for the implicit threat of a coup d'état or mass
insurrection Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders of an established authority. A rebellion originates from a sentiment of indignation and disapproval of a situation and ...
).


Aristocracy

Aristocracy (
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
ἀριστοκρατία ''aristokratía'', from ἄριστος ''
aristos
aristos
'' "excellent", and κράτος '' kratos'' "
power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of power is the watt, equal to one joule per second. In older works, p ...
") is a form of government that places power in the hands of a small, privileged
ruling class In sociology, the ruling class of a society is the social class A social class is a set of concepts in the social sciences and political theory Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government A government is the ...
. Many monarchies were aristocracies, although in modern constitutional monarchies the monarch himself or herself has little real power. The term ''aristocracy'' could also refer to the non-peasant, non-servant, and non-city classes in the
feudal system Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the disco ...
.


Democracy

Democracy is a system of government where the citizens exercise power by
voting Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an electorate Electorate may refer to: * The people who are eligible to vote in an Election#Electorate, election, especially their number e.g. the term ''size of (the) electorate'' * The dom ...

voting
. In a
direct democracy Direct democracy or pure democracy is a form of democracy in which the Election#Electorate, electorate decides on policy initiatives without legislator, legislative representatives as proxies. This differs from the majority of currently estab ...
, the citizens as a whole form a governing body and vote directly on each issue. In a
representative democracy Representative democracy, also known as indirect democracy, is a type of democracy where elected persons represent Represent may refer to: * Represent (Compton's Most Wanted album), ''Represent'' (Compton's Most Wanted album) or the title song, ...
the citizens elect representatives from among themselves. These representatives meet to form a governing body, such as a legislature. In a
constitutional democracy Liberal democracy, also referred to as Western democracy, is a political ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is tru ...
the powers of the majority are exercised within the framework of a representative democracy, but the constitution limits the majority and protects the minority, usually through the enjoyment by all of certain individual rights, e.g. freedom of speech, or freedom of association.''
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal historical dictionary A historical dictionary or dictionary on historical principles is a dictionary which deals not only with the latterday meanings of words but also the historica ...
'': "democracy".


Republics

A republic is a form of government in which the country is considered a "public matter" (Latin: ''res publica''), not the private concern or property of the rulers, and where offices of states are subsequently directly or indirectly elected or appointed rather than inherited. The people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people.
Montesquieu Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, Lot-et-Garonne, Montesquieu (; ; 18 January 168910 February 1755), generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French judge, intellectual, man of letters, historian, and po ...

Montesquieu
, ''
The Spirit of the Laws ''The Spirit of Laws'' (French: ''De l'esprit des lois'', originally spelled ''De l'esprit des loix'') is a treatise on political theory, as well as a pioneering work in comparative law, published in 1748 by Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquie ...
'' (1748), Bk. II, ch. 1.
A common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of state is not a monarch.
Montesquieu Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, Lot-et-Garonne, Montesquieu (; ; 18 January 168910 February 1755), generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French judge, intellectual, man of letters, historian, and po ...

Montesquieu
included both
democracies Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polit ...

democracies
, where all the people have a share in rule, and aristocracies or
oligarchies Oligarchy (; ) is a form of power structure in which power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of power ...
, where only some of the people rule, as republican forms of government.Montesquieu, ''Spirit of the Laws'', Bk. II, ch. 2–3. Other terms used to describe different republics include
democratic republicA democratic republic is a form of government operating on principles adopted from a republic and a democracy. Rather than being a cross between two entirely separate systems, democratic republics may function on principles shared by both republics a ...
,
parliamentary republic A parliamentary republic is a republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and med ...
,
semi-presidential republic A semi-presidential system or dual executive system is a system of government in which a president exists alongside a prime minister and a cabinet, with the latter being responsible to the legislature of the state. It differs from a parlia ...
,
presidential republic A presidential system, or single executive system, is a form of government in which a head of government The head of government is either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, ...
,
federal republic A federal republic is a federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of I ...
, and
Islamic republic An Islamic republic can be considered a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institution ...
.


Federalism

Federalism is a political concept in which a ''group'' of members are bound together by
covenant Covenant may refer to: Religion * Covenant (religion) In religion, a covenant is a formal alliance or agreement made by God with a religious community or with humanity in general. The concept, central to the Abrahamic religions The Abraha ...
with a governing representative head. The term "federalism" is also used to describe a system of government in which
sovereignty Sovereignty is the supreme authority within a territory. Sovereignty entails hierarchy within the state, as well as external autonomy for states. In any state, sovereignty is assigned to the person, body, or institution that has the ultimate a ...
is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and constituent political units, variously called states, provinces or otherwise. Federalism is a system based upon democratic principles and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between national and provincial/state governments, creating what is often called a federation. Proponents are often called
federalist The term ''federalist'' describes several political beliefs around the world. It may also refer to the concept of parties, whose members or supporters called themselves ''Federalists''.http://m-w.com/dictionary/federalist. History Europe In E ...

federalist
s.


Economic systems

Historically, most political systems originated as
socioeconomic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern society, societies social progress, progress, economic stagnation ...
ideologies An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of co ...
. Experience with those movements in power and the strong ties they may have to particular forms of government can cause them to be considered as forms of government in themselves.


Maps


See also

*
List of forms of government This article lists forms of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists ...
* Central government *
Civics Civics is the study of the rights and obligations of citizens Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditi ...
* Comparative government *
Constitutional economics A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...
*
Deep state A deep state (translation of Turkish "derin devlet") is a type of governance made up of potentially secret and unauthorised networks of power operating independently of a state's political leadership in pursuit of their own agenda and goals. In ...
* Digital democracy *
E-Government E-government (short for ) is the use of technological communications devices, such as s and the , to provide public services to citizens and other persons in a country or region. E-government offers new opportunities for more direct and conven ...

E-Government
* Government effectiveness index * History of politics *
Legal rights Natural rights and legal rights are two types of rights. * Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government, and so are ''universal'', ''fundamental Fundamental may refer to: * Foun ...
*
List of countries by system of government This is a list of countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalis ...
*
List of European Union member states by political system This is a list of European Union member states, their forms of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative defini ...
* Ministry *
Political economy Political economy is the study of production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products (g ...
*
Political history Political history is the narrative and survey of political events, ideas, movements, organs of government, voters, parties and leaders. It is interrelated to other fields of history, especially diplomatic history, as well as constitutional history ...
* Politics *
Prime ministerial government A cabinet is a body of high-ranking state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a ...
*
State (polity) A state is a polity under a system of Government, governance with a monopoly on force. There is no undisputed definition of a state. A widely used definition from the Germans, German sociologist Max Weber is that a "state" is a polity that main ...
*
Voting system An electoral system or voting system is a set of rules that determine how elections and referendums A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct and universal vote in which an entire electorate is invited to vote ...
*
World government World government or global government, sometimes called one-worldism or cosmocracy, is the concept of a single authority for all humanity. It generally entails some form of through a single or with jurisdiction over the entire . Such a gover ...

World government


Principles

Certain major characteristics are defining of certain types; others are historically associated with certain types of government. *
Rule according to higher law The rule according to a higher law is a statement which expresses that no law may be enforced by the government unless it conforms with certain universal principles (written or unwritten) of fairness, morality, and justice. Thus, ''the rule accor ...
(unwritten ethical principles) vs. written
constitutionalism Constitutionalism is "a compound of ideas, attitudes, and patterns of behavior elaborating the principle that the authority of government derives from and is limited by a body of fundamental law". Political organizations are constitutional ...

constitutionalism
*
Separation of church and state The separation of church and state is a philosophic and jurisprudential concept for defining political distance in the relationship between religious organizations Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religi ...
or
free church A free church is a Christian denomination that is intrinsically separate from government (as opposed to a state Church). A free church does not define government policy, and a free church does not accept church theology or policy definitions from t ...
vs.
state religion A state religion (also called an established religion or official religion) is a religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether ...
*
Civilian control of the military File:050218-N-3333H-011 Admiral John B. Nathman, far right, and Admiral William J. Fallon salute during honors arrival of Secretary of the Navy, Gordon R. England.jpg, 300px, Admiral John B. Nathman (far right) and Admiral William J. Fallon salut ...
vs.
stratocracy A stratocracy (from στρατός, ''stratos'', "army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sens ...
*
Totalitarianism 259x259px, Democracy Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit (2020): perceived authoritarian regimes in red, democracies in green, and color intensity ≈ regime intensity Totalitarianism is a form of government and a political system that prohi ...

Totalitarianism
or authoritarianism vs.
libertarianism Libertarianism (from french: libertaire, "libertarian"; from la, libertas, "freedom") is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamen ...
*
Majority rule Majority rule is a decision rule that selects alternatives which have a majority A majority, also called a simple majority to distinguish it from similar terms (see the "Related terms" section below), is the greater part, or more than half, ...
or
parliamentary sovereignty Parliamentary sovereignty (also called parliamentary supremacy or legislative supremacy) is a concept in the constitutional law Constitutional law is a body of law which defines the role, powers, and structure of different entities within a , n ...
vs. constitution or
bill of rights A bill of rights, sometimes called a declaration of rights or a charter of rights, is a list of the most important rights to the citizens of a country. The purpose is to protect those rights against Civil and political rights, infringement fr ...
with
separation of powers Separation of powers refers to the division of a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' ( ...
and
supermajority A supermajority, supra-majority, qualified majority, or special majority is a requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level of support which is greater than the threshold of more than one-half used for a majority A majority, also calle ...
rules to prevent
tyranny of the majority The tyranny of the majority (or tyranny of the masses) is an inherent weakness to majority rule in which the majority of an electorate pursues exclusively its own objectives at the expense of those of the minority factions. This results in oppress ...
and protect
minority rights Minority rights are the normal individual rights as applied to members of racial, ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other grou ...
* Androcracy (
patriarchy Patriarchy is a social system In , social system is the patterned network of relationships constituting a coherent whole that exist between individuals, groups, and institutions. It is the formal of role and status that can form in a smal ...

patriarchy
) or gynarchy (
matriarchy Matriarchy is a in which hold the primary power positions in roles of political leadership, , and control of property. While those definitions apply in general English, definitions specific to the disciplines of and differ in some respect ...
) vs. gender quotas,
gender equality Gender equality, also known as sexual equality or equality of the sexes, is the state of equal ease of access to resources and opportunities regardless of gender, including economic participation and decision-making; and the state of valuing d ...

gender equality
provision, or silence on the matter


Autonomy

This list focuses on differing approaches that political systems take to the distribution of
sovereignty Sovereignty is the supreme authority within a territory. Sovereignty entails hierarchy within the state, as well as external autonomy for states. In any state, sovereignty is assigned to the person, body, or institution that has the ultimate a ...
, and the
autonomy In developmental psychology Developmental psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions ...
of regions within the state. * Sovereignty located exclusively at the centre of political jurisdiction. ** Empire **
Unitary state A unitary state is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...
* Sovereignty located at the centre and in peripheral areas. **
Hegemony Hegemony (, , ) is the political, economic, and military predominance of one state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (ne ...
** Federation and
federal republic A federal republic is a federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of I ...
**
Confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty, confederations of states tend to be established for dealing with critical issu ...
**
Federal monarchy A federal monarchy, in the strict sense, is a federation of Country, states with a single monarch as overall head of the federation, but retaining different monarchs, or having a non-monarchical system of government, in the various states joi ...
* Diverging degrees of sovereignty. **
Alliance An alliance is a relationship among people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and ...
**
Asymmetrical federalism Asymmetric federalism or asymmetrical federalism is found in a federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, states, or other regions under ...
**
Federacy A federacy is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists o ...
**
Associated state An associated state is the minor partner in a formal, free relationship between a political territory with a degree of statehood and a (usually larger) nation, for which no other specific term, such as protectorate, is adopted. The details of suc ...
** Corpus separatum ** Colony **
Crown colony A Crown colony or royal colony was a colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original coun ...
**
Chartered company A chartered company is an association with investors or shareholder A shareholder (also known as stockholder) is an individual or institution (including a corporation) that legally owns one or more share (finance), shares of the share capital o ...
**
Dependent territory A dependent territory, dependent area, or dependency (sometimes referred as an external territory) is a territory A territory is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, ...
**
Occupied territory Military or belligerent occupation, often simply occupation, is provisional control by a ruling power over a territory, without a claim of formal sovereignty Sovereignty is the supreme authority within a territory. In any state, sovereig ...
** Occupied zone ** Mandate **
Exclusive mandate An exclusive mandate is a government's assertion of its legitimate authority over a certain territory, part of which another government controls with stable, ''de facto In law and government, ''de facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that ...
**
Military Frontier The Military Frontier (german: Militärgrenze, sh, Vojna krajina/Vojna granica, Војна крајина/Војна граница; hu, Katonai határőrvidék; ro, Graniță militară) was a borderland of the Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg ...
** Neutral zone ** Colonial dependency **
Protectorate A protectorate is a state that is controlled and protected by another sovereign state. It is a dependent territory A dependent territory, dependent area, or dependency (sometimes referred as an external territory) is a territory that does not ...
**
Vassal state A vassal state is any state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...
**
Satellite state A satellite state is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship. A country may be an independent sovereign state ...
**
Puppet state A puppet state, puppet régime or puppet government or dummy government is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State ( ...
**
Thalassocracy A thalassocracy or thalattocracy (from grc-x-classical, θάλασσα, translit=thalassa, , , and grc, κρατεῖν, translit=kratein, lit=power; giving grc-x-koine, θαλασσοκρατία, translit=thalassokratia, lit=sea power), somet ...
** Unrecognized state ***
States with limited recognition State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine ''State Magazine'' is a digital magazine published by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Global Talent Management The Bureau of Global Talent Managemen ...
***
Separatist movement Separatism is the advocacy of cultural, ethnic, tribal, religious, racial, governmental or gender separation from the larger group. As with secession, separatism conventionally refers to full political separation. Groups simply seeking greater ...
***
Government in exile A government in exile (abbreviated as GiE) is a political group which claims to be a Sovereign state, country or Federated state, semi-sovereign state's legitimate government, but is unable to exercise legal power and instead resides in another ...
***
Micronation A micronation is a political entity whose members claim that they belong to an independent nation or sovereign state lacking legal recognition by world governments or major international organizations. Most are geographically very small, but ra ...
**
Provisional government A provisional government, also called an interim government, an emergency government, or a transitional government, is an emergency government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally ...
**
Territorial disputes A territorial dispute or boundary dispute is a disagreement over the possession (law), possession or control of land between two or more polity, political entities. Context and definitions Territorial disputes are often related to the possessio ...
** Non-self-governing territories **
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: Société des Nations ), was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member state ...
** League **
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...

Commonwealth
**
Decentralisation Decentralization or decentralisation is the process by which the activities of an organization, particularly those regarding planning and decision making, are distributed or delegated away from a central, authoritative location or group. Concep ...

Decentralisation
and
devolution Devolution is the statutory A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislature, legislative authority that governs the legal entities of a city, State (polity), state, or country by way of consent. Typically, statutes command or p ...
(powers redistributed from central to regional or local governments)


Notes


References

* * * * * * * * * *


External links

*
The Phrontistery Word List: Types of Government and Leadership


* ttp://users.erols.com/mwhite28/othergov.htm Other classifications examples from Historical Atlas of the 20th Century
World Affairs: Types of Government

CBBC Newsround: types of government

Bill Moyers: Plutocracy Rising


{{DEFAULTSORT:Government, Forms of
Political terminology Technical terminology of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The ...
Main topic articles