6 FORMS OF GOVERNMENT

Government is the institution or group of people that control the activities of the state. It is the machinery through which the will of the people is done.

Form of government can be defined as the collection of political institutions by which the government of a state is organized.

In modern times, States use different forms of government including aristocracy, monarchy, theocracy, oligarchy, and democracy.

Let's discuss some of them.

Monarchy

Monarchy is the oldest system of government where a king, queen, or emperor is in charge of state affairs.

The monarch has total sovereignty over the state and continues to rules over the affairs of the state until his death or abdication.

A monarch usually gained power through hereditary succession as power is passed down through a succession line linked by bloodline and birth order.

There are two types of monarchy:

1. Absolute monarchy: As its name seems to suggest, the monarch has unlimited powers.

2. Constitutional monarchy: The monarch's powers are limited by the constitution.

Examples of monarchy are Britain, Saudi-Arabia, Morroco, etc.

Theocracy

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defined theocracy as ‘government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided".

Government officials in a theocracy are usually members of the clergy and in most cases, the judicial system is usually based on religious law.

One of the most common characteristics of theocracies is that there is always a dominant religion that all residents must adhere to, and refusing to do so may result in punishment.

Saudi Arabia, Vatican City, Iran are all theocracies.

Oligarchy

This is simply a government by the few. 

More appropriately, oligarchy can best be defined as a form of government in which the power structure is effectively concentrated in the hands of a few people, as evidenced by royalties, wealth, family ties, corporate and military domination,  and so on.


Simply said, an oligarchy is a government ruled by a few influential and powerful people. 

Oligarchy is not something that is passed down through the generations oligarchy Rather, it is contingent on sustaining the current level of power and influence.

An oligarchy where ruling power is concentrated in the hands of the wealthy is a plutocracy.

Russia, the world's largest country is a good example of an oligarchy.

Aristocracy

This is a form of government ruled by a small privileged minority class or a minority of people who are thought to be best qualified to rule.

Swiss philosopher jean Jacques Rousseau defined aristocracy as "the government by the best citizens ".

An aristocracy can also be defined as a government in which few people, distinguished by their superiority and merit, have power over the lower socioeconomic class.

While aristocracy and oligarchy share some similarities, they also have several differences between these two, including:

1. Aristocracy is government by the best whereas oligarchy is government by the powerful and wealthy.

2. Aristocrats typically inherit their position, whereas oligarchs must maintain their current level of power and wealth to keep their position.

Authoritarian

This is a form of government in which powers are concentrated in the hands of a single person or small elite groups who are not constitutionally accountable to the people.

In an authoritarian government, power is tied to an individual or a group of people who limit the public ability to vote or decide key issues

Authoritarian governments are well known for opposing political parties. In most cases, they controlled the activities of the court and frequently refused to be subjected to legislative monitoring.

North Korea is an excellent illustration of an authoritarian government.

A dictatorship, by definition, is authoritarian. However, Dictatorship represents the worst case. 

Dictators have complete control over the government as well as the people. 

When it comes to political repression, they are significantly more aggressive than conventional authoritarians, and they are infamous for dealing harshly with anyone who disagrees with their method of governance.

Democracy

Democracy has simplistically been defined as "the government of the people, for the people and by the people"

To put it another way, Democracy is a form of government in which the people have the power to elect their representatives or partake in governance directly.

It is a government in which citizens have supreme power and exercise it directly or indirectly through periodic elections.

Democracy has evolved as a form of government and there are now two types of democracy: Direct and indirect democracy

1. Direct democracy: This is a type of democracy where virtually everyone in the state partake in making government policy, laws. It is commonly associated with the ancient Greek city of Athens. 

2. Indirect democracy: Unlike direct democracy, people elect representatives to make decisions relating to government policies and laws on their behalf in an indirect democracy.

For this reason, indirect democracy is also called representative democracy. The United States of America (USA) is the most visible example of indirect democracy.

Voila, We just learned the different forms of government. Got questions, do well to ask our telegram community

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