Types Of Government: Sociology is the study of human social behavior, human development, organizations, and institutions. In order to better understand those institutions and how humans are organized, it is important to understand how societies are governed.
This lesson will discuss and differentiate between the five main forms of power, or government, utilized in past and present societies: monarchy, democracy, oligarchy, authoritarianism, and totalitarianism.
Different Types Of Government
Most societies agree that the existence of government is morally justified. What they disagree about is the purpose of government and its scope. As a result, societies create different government structures based on their political ideology of what a government should do. This activity examines different types of government.
Let’s begin with the monarchy. Monarchy was the most common form of government until the 19th century. Monarchy is a form of government in which single-family rules from generation to generation. The power, or sovereignty, is personified in a single individual.
There are two main types of monarchy that differ based on the level of power held by the individual or family currently in power. Absolute monarchy exists when the monarch has no or few legal limitations in political matters. Constitutional monarchies, which are more common, exist when the monarch retains a distinctive legal and ceremonial role but exercises limited or no political power.
The most familiar example of a monarchy is the constitutional monarchy that exists in the United Kingdom. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state of the U.K. as well as the monarch of fifteen other independent countries. She and the royal family have ceremonial roles but do not make up the laws that govern the people.
Another form of government is democracy. Democracy is defined as a form of government in which power belongs to the people. There are two forms of democracy. One is a direct democracy, in which all eligible citizens have direct participation in the decision making of the government. The second and more common form of democracy is a representative democracy, in which citizens exercise their power through elected representatives. The elected representatives propose, develop, and create laws for the citizens to abide by.
The most familiar example of democracy is the representative democracy that exists in the United States of America. Americans elect a president and representatives of Congress.
Types Of Government Systems
Anarchism refers to the absence of government, a condition in which a nation or state operates without a central governing body. This denotes an absence of public utilities or services, a lack of regulatory control, limited diplomatic relations with other nation-states, and in most instances, a society divided into different, locally-ruled settlements (or fiefdoms).
Following the outbreak of civil war in 1991, and the toppling of dictator Said Barre, Somalia entered into a state of anarchy. The nation splintered into various autonomous regions, with tribal warlords claiming authority over territorial domains. Following years of involvement from the international community, the early 2000s saw the reestablishment of a transitional government, and in 2012, the passage of a constitution, which established Somalia as a “federation,” or a union of partially self-governing states.
Aristocracy refers to a form of government in which wealthy nobles are given power over those in lower socioeconomic strata. Positions of leadership are reserved for those of an elite ruling class, a status which is typically hereditary. The privileged ruling class is viewed, in this system, as possessing the education, upbringing, and genetic traits required for rulership. Aristocracy promotes an inherent class system that connects wealth and ethnicity with both the ability and right to rule.
Ancient Greece gives us both the word aristocracy (aristos=excellent; krato=power) as well as the concept itself. In ancient Greece, a council of empowered leading citizens was viewed as offsetting the absolute power bestowed upon a monarchy. Plato viewed the concept positively, referring to the aristocracy as being comprised of “philosopher kings,” those with the knowledge and intellectual curiosity to rule as well as the requisite wealth and bloodline. But as the idea of aristocracy has become more distant from Ancient Greece, the dimensions of education and qualification have been stripped from its meaning. Today, it more largely refers to an inherently unequal form of government in which a small class of wealthy elites rules the majority population.
Types Of Government Chart
Bureaucracy refers to a form of government in which non-elected government officials carry out public responsibilities as dictated by administrative policy-making groups. In a bureaucracy, rules, regulations, procedures, and outcomes are formulated to maintain order, achieve efficiency, and prevent favoritism within the system. Bureaucracies rarely serve as forms of government on their own but are instead often used as mechanisms to underlie and strengthen overarching forms of government. Indeed, bureaucratic streamlining of policy implementation can take place under the rule of a dictator or a democracy.
Bureaucracy played an essential role in formalizing and equalizing taxation in Great Britain. In the 18th century, as the United Kingdom engaged in an array of military campaigns around the world, it established an encompassing taxation administration designed to fund the war efforts. With a focus on using improved technology and more efficient collection methodologies, the United Kingdom established what would become the largest public administration network in the world to that date. The tax collection bureaucracy — the Department of Excise — served the interests of the British monarchy but would eventually give rise to the modern English bureaucracy, Her Majesty’s Civil Service.
Capitalism refers to a form of economy in which production is driven by private ownership. Capitalism promotes the idea of open competition and extends from the belief that a free market economy — one with limited regulatory control — is the most efficient form of economic organization. Its advocates argue that capitalism promotes economic growth, improved standards of living, higher productivity, and broader prosperity, whereas critics argue that capitalism inherently promotes inequality, exploitation of the labor class, and unsustainable use of resources and land.
Capitalism takes various forms, from state and corporate capitalism to pure laissez-faire economy. The present-day United States may be referred to as a liberal market economy, in which firms engage in open competition within the context of existing hierarchies and market mechanisms. These hierarchies and mechanisms tend to promote greater opportunities, access, and wealth for those who already enjoy an ownership stake in the U.S. economy. It also limits opportunities for mobility and shapes participation among those who do not have an ownership stake. Political influence is also directly correlated to this ownership stake within the context of American capitalism.
Types Of Government With Examples
Boy: Whoa, what’s going on in that country?
Girl: It looks like they aren’t happy with their government.
Boy: Why wouldn’t they be happy? Can’t they elect their leaders and play a role in their government?
Girl: No! There are many forms of government in which people have no say in any matter, private or public. All societies are established under some form of power or government. The well-known sociologist Max Weber defined power as the ability to achieve goals even if some people in society hold differing opinions and goals. Power takes on different forms in different societies. Let me tell you about the five basic forms of government.
Federalism is a form of government that both combines and divides powers between a centralized federal authority and an array of regional and local authorities. This is typically a system in which a set of states, territories, or provinces are both self-governing and beholden to the authority of a broad, unifying government structure. This is considered a balance in an approach that provides the roughly equal status of authority to two distinct levels of government.
The United States was among the first true examples of a federation, a nation comprised of set regions, each with its own unique set of customs, laws, and demographic compositions. Today, much philosophical debate exists over what level of independent authority states have versus the level of central control that the federal government has over state laws. This debate — and the never-ending stream of constitutional and judicial questions that arise from it — keep the state and federal authority is constant and dynamic.
Feudalism is a social structure revolving around land ownership, nobility, and military obligation. Though not a formal way of governing, feudalism refers to a way of life in which sharp, hierarchical divisions separate noble classes, clergy, and peasantry. Opportunities for movement between these hierarchies are largely impossible. In this system, peasants typically provided labor and military service in exchange for occupancy of land and protection from outside forces under the authority of a noble lord. In turn, lordships, or fiefdoms, often engaged one another politically, economically, and militarily. Feudalism was a highly decentralized and agrarian way of life supplanted when the European monarchies created the infrastructure to impose central rule over their various dominions.
France of the 11th century is particularly noteworthy for the decentralization of power and the splintering of rulership into many smaller entities. During this period, travel through France would take one through a series of fiefdoms in which small, ruling families would charge various fees for passage, participation in trade, or use of the woodlands. Though feudalism would become largely extinct with the rise of the monarchy, this brief revolution in France would represent a moment of evolution for the ideas of private ownership and personal power.
Types Of Government Contracts
The government can be defined as the institution or institutions that possess the basic authority to rule a society. In theory, and frequently in practice, governments possess a monopoly on the use of violence. Politics describes the struggle for power that takes place within government, or in Harold Lasswell’s famous phrase “who gets what, when, and where?” This course assumes that all governments seek to bolster their authority to govern by seeking legitimacy. Why? Although governments can, and do, exercise authority by the threat of armed violence, violence is an extremely expensive way to maintain power. A government can’t place a policeman on every corner or rule by military might alone if it wants to be sustainable (although the long life of dictatorships often challenges this assertion). It is much easier for governments when citizens obey their authority voluntarily. To this end all governments, even nondemocratic governments, seek legitimacy in the eyes of its citizens. Legitimacy is the belief that a government is just and deserves obedience.
The American form of government is a democracy. Although democracy is the most prevalent form of government in recent decades, it has no shortage of competitors. Among them:
- Monarchy – Rule of one. Traditionally a king or emperor, but in modern times this usually describes a dictator.
- Oligarchy – Rule of the few. Traditionally, this described a group of aristocrats, men of noble blood, but it just as easily describes a group of warlords or a military junta.
- Theocracy – Technically, rule by God. In practice, since God rarely shows up to manage the day-to-day affairs of government, this involves rule by a religious leader or group of religious officials who interpret God’s will. The country of Iran has many aspects of a theocratic state.
- Authoritarianism – Monopoly of political power by an individual or small group that otherwise allows people to go about their private lives as they wish.
Totalitarianism – Rule by an elite that exercises unlimited power over individuals in all aspects of life.
What are the 4 types of government?
What are the four types of government (oligarchy, aristocracy, monarchy, democracy)?
What are the 7 types of government?
- Democracy. A government where the majority makes the decisions by voting.
- Republic. A government where people choose other people to make decisions for us.
- Communism. A government where people are all “equal”.
- Autocracy. A government where one person makes all the rules.
What are the 10 types of government?
- Anarchy. Having its roots from the Greek word meaning ‘no rule’, anarchy is a state of absence of law.