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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, often a state.[1]

In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. 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. Typically the philosophy chosen is some balance between the principle of individual freedom and the idea of absolute state authority (tyranny).

While all types of organizations have governance, the word government is often used more specifically to refer to the approximately 200 independent national governments on Earth, as well as subsidiary organizations.[2]

Historically prevalent forms of government include monarchy, aristocracy, timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, theocracy and tyranny. The main aspect of any philosophy of government is how political power is obtained, with the two main forms being electoral contest and hereditary succession.

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  • ✪ 10 People Who Exposed Government Secrets
  • ✪ Introduction: Crash Course U.S. Government and Politics
  • ✪ Is The Government Controlling The Weather?
  • ✪ Gun Control Explained - The Truth About Gun Control & Government Power
  • ✪ How is power divided in the United States government? - Belinda Stutzman


Hello, this is Alltime10s. There’s a reason we’ve got so many conspiracy theories - the government has proved time and time again that it is keeping secrets. Here we’re going to count down 10 of the insiders, hackers, and spies who exposed them. 10 People Who Exposed Government Secrets 10. Coleen Rowley The attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 seemed to come out of nowhere, but could the government have prevented them? Did they really not know until it was too late? Coleen Rowley was an FBI Special Agent based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She had been working on a case involving a man arrested at a Minnesota flying school for acting suspiciously in August 2001. Rowley’s department repeatedly questioned him; they even accused him of being a terrorist, but she couldn’t get a search warrant authorized. He turned out to be Zacarias Moussaoui, a conspirator behind 9/11. Rowley wrote a 13-page letter to the FBI Director six months later, claiming that she had been prevented from aggressively investigating Moussaoui by her supervisor in Washington. She even accused the Director himself of making deliberately misleading public statements in the wake of the attacks to cover up this mistake. 9. Peter Buxtun In 1965, 27-year-old Peter Buxtun joined the United States Public Health Service in San Francisco to work in the venereal disease department. However, he quickly learned from his colleagues that something sinister was going on. They were experimenting on people. Back in 1932 the Public Health Service set up The Tuskegee Experiment, designed to see how syphilis affects the body. But their methodology didn’t take a particularly ethical approach, to say the least. The study involved 600 black men, two thirds of whom had the disease. Without their informed consent, researchers left the men untreated for 40 years. When Buxtun found out that the Health Service was withholding treatment from sick people on purpose, he launched an official complaint. Despite 128 deaths, 40 of the men’s wives contracting the disease, and 19 children being born with it, nothing came of the internal review. So in 1972 Buxtun leaked the story to the press and testified in Congress, finally putting an end to the horrific practice. 8. Joseph Darby US forces seized Abu Ghraib prison, near Baghdad, after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Joseph Darby was working as a military police soldier there and decided to send some photos of the beautiful surroundings home. He approached prison guard Charles Graner, known to be good with a camera, to ask if he had any pictures. Without hesitating, Graner gave Darby two CDs full of images, which Darby copied over to his hard drive. To Darby’s horror, the CDs contained images of Graner and others torturing detainees in the prison complex. He reported this breach of the Geneva Convention to the army’s investigatory unit. In the end, eleven soldiers were convicted and the prison was handed over to the Iraqi government. 7. David Shayler Renegade British spy David Shayler exposed the devious practices Her Majesty’s Secret Service had been getting up to in the 1990s. The former-MI5 Agent began work by vetting politicians for the British Labour Party, but claimed the agency was actually keeping files on them. In 1997 he sold his story to the Mail on Sunday newspaper for $50,000, including the most serious allegations that MI6 had attempted to assassinate Colonel Gaddafi and that a bombing of an Israeli Embassy in London could have been prevented. Shayler went on the run to France, but ended up in prison twice. Many of his friends think he has suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of pressure from the Security Services. He is part of the 9/11 Truther Movement, and in 2007 he declared he was the Messiah. He now lives in a squat as Delores Kane. 6. Alexander Litvinenko After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the notorious secret agency known as the KGB morphed into the FSB of contemporary Russia. Alexander Litvinenko was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in this transition, but he didn’t like what he saw as the penetration of the security services by organized crime. He described Putin’s Russia as a mafia state, and they understandably fell out over these accusations of corruption. He was arrested in 1998 after exposing an alleged attempted assassination of a Russian businessman. He then published a book claiming that the FSB was responsible for blowing up apartments in Moscow - which it had blamed on separatists - before he fled to the UK. Sadly, the story does not end there. In 2006, Litvinenko was fed radioactive poisoned tea by visiting FSB agents and he died a slow and public death. The result of a British inquiry found that Putin himself was ‘probably’ behind the assassination. 5. Mordechai Vanunu There are just nine countries in the world with nuclear capabilities and Israel is presumed to be one of them, although it won’t quite admit it. One man who tried to force them to do so was nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu. In September 1986, Vanunu flew to London to give an interview and hand secret photographs to The Sunday Times, which revealed the scope of the nuclear weapons program that Israel was running. Mossad, Israel’s security service, allegedly went after him using a ‘honeytrap’ to get him to travel to Italy where a boat lay in wait. Vanunu was kidnapped and transported back to Israel where he was put on trial. He ended up serving 18 years in prison. Israel has called Vanunu "embittered and vengeful" and claims he has been “imagining things”. Although it is estimated they possess 80 nuclear warheads, they still refuse to confirm or deny it. 4. Chelsea Manning 700,000 documents were stolen from military computers in 2010; they were distributed to Wikileaks, who published them for the world to see. But who was the source of this leak? And what secrets were revealed? Chelsea Manning, who at the time was known as Bradley, was sent to Iraq as a Junior Intelligence Analyst. While there she was horrified by the inhumanity of much of what the military was doing, and so she resolved to begin a global debate. However, a hacker she had been communicating with in California reported her to the FBI, fearing that national security was at stake. Among the information that Manning revealed were US figures on an Iraqi death toll of over 100,000, despite the UK and US previously saying that there were no official statistics. There was also an infamous video showing helicopter crew laughing as they killed people in an airstrike, and a damaging diplomatic cable that showed the King of Saudi Arabia urging the US to attack Iran. Government prosecutors said the leak amounted to “aiding the enemy” and Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in jail - the longest ever term for a whistleblower. 3. Jan Karski During the Second World War the Nazis invaded Poland and put the Jewish population into ghettos; by July 1942 they were being moved en masse to extermination camps. But did the Allied Forces know before the war was over? Jan Karski was a top of the class diplomat sent to Warsaw in late 1942 to gather intelligence. He entered the Ghetto and met leaders of the Jewish underground who informed him that a Holocaust was underway. According to their estimates, 1.8 million Jews had already been killed, as well as 300,000 Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto being sent to a death camp 60 miles away. Karski returned safely to London where he met the Foreign Secretary and told him what the German government was up to, but he was snubbed. He then traveled to America and met President Roosevelt, but again he was met with inaction. Why didn’t they believe him? Karski himself later said of the Holocaust: “The Nazis did it because they could. The Allies denied it because they did nothing about it.” 2. Julian Assange The notorious website Wikileaks, which we saw earlier helped distribute Chelsea Manning’s documents, was founded by Australian internet activist Julian Assange in 2006. From Guantanamo Bay to the Church of Scientology, Julian Assange has been behind a huge number of damaging leaks for the past ten years. When a warrant was issued for his arrest by Sweden in 2010, he took refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The charges are for alleged sexual assault, and Assange claims he could be extradited to the US and suffer a similar fate to Manning. Despite still being stuck in the embassy, he has still managed to facilitate one of his biggest leaks yet: Hillary Clinton’s emails. In July, over a thousand emails from her personal mail server and 20,000 DNC emails were leaked. This was followed by her campaign manager John Podesta’s hacked emails being leaked throughout October. The emails Assange leaked revealed worrying relationships between the Clinton Foundation and donors, showed her back room dealings in Wall Street, and ultimately contributed to her loss of the election. 1. Edward Snowden The National Security Agency, or NSA, is the leading intelligence organization in the US and we didn’t really have a clue what the hell they were up to. That is, until Edward Snowden came along. Having been a contracted infrastructure analyst for consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, in 2012 he was stationed at an NSA facility in Hawaii to work as a high-level systems administrator. While there, he was disturbed by the degree of surveillance and government encroachment on US citizen’s privacy. Snowden registered complaints with more than 10 officials, but nothing changed. He got a hard drive and downloaded 200,000 files, flew to Hong Kong and gave them to journalists from the Washington Post and the Guardian. The contents of those files changed the world. Government agencies on both sides of the Atlantic were shown to be collecting vast swathes of data from their own people in a seemingly unchecked manner and many people were furious. Privacy campaigners continue to push for greater government transparency. Snowden meanwhile, fearful for his freedom, is currently living in Russia in exile. Thanks for watching AllTime10s - do you think you would take the plunge if you saw something wrong, or just keep quiet? Let me know in the comments. And if you want to see something else, head over here and check out ‘10 Disturbing Alien Conspiracies’. Cheers.


Definitions and etymology

A government is the system to govern a state or community.[3]

The word government derives, ultimately, from the Greek verb κυβερνάω [kubernáo] (meaning to steer with gubernaculum (rudder), the metaphorical sense being attested in Plato's Ship of State).[4]

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".[5]

While all types of organizations have governance, the word government is often used more specifically to refer to the approximately 200 independent national governments on Earth, as well as their subsidiary organizations.[2]

In the Commonwealth of Nations, the word government is also used more narrowly to refer to the ministry (collective executive), a collective group of people that exercises executive authority in a state[citation needed] or, metonymically, to the governing cabinet as part of the executive.

Finally, government is also sometimes used in English as a synonym for governance.


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.[6] By the third to second millenniums BC, some of these had developed into larger governed areas: Sumer, Ancient Egypt, the Indus Valley Civilization, and the Yellow River Civilization.[7]

The development of agriculture and water control projects were a catalyst for the development of governments.[8] For many thousands of years when people were hunter-gatherers and small scale farmers, humans lived in small, non-hierarchical and self-sufficient communities.[citation needed] 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,[9] and that allowed for ever increasing population densities.[6] David Christian explains how this resulted in states with laws and governments:[10]

As farming populations gathered in larger and denser communities, interactions between different groups increased and the social pressure rose until, in a striking parallel with star formation, new structures suddenly appeared, together with a new level of complexity. Like stars, cities and states reorganize and energize the smaller objects within their gravitational field.

— David Christian, p. 245, Maps of Time

Starting at the end of the 17th century, the prevalence of republican forms of government grew. The Glorious Revolution in England, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution contributed to the growth of representative forms of government. The Soviet Union was the first large country to have a Communist government.[2] Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, liberal democracy has become an even more prevalent form of government.[11]

In the nineteenth and twentieth century, there was a significant increase in the size and scale of government at the national level.[12] This included the regulation of corporations and the development of the welfare state.[11]

Political science

Classifying government

In political science, it has long been a goal to create a typology or taxonomy of polities, as typologies of political systems are not obvious.[13] It is especially important in the political science fields of comparative politics and international relations. 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. However self-identification is not objective, and as Kopstein and Lichbach argue, defining regimes can be tricky.[14] For example, elections are a defining characteristic of an electoral democracy,[citation needed] but in practice elections in the former Soviet Union were not "free and fair" and took place in a one-party state. Voltaire argued that "the Holy Roman Empire is neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire".[15] Many governments that officially call themselves a "democratic republic" are not democratic, nor a republic; they are usually a dictatorship de facto. Communist dictatorships have been especially prone to use this term. For example, the official name of North Vietnam was "The Democratic Republic of Vietnam". China uses a variant, "The People's Republic of China". Thus in many practical classifications it would not be considered democratic.

Identifying a form of government is also difficult because many political systems 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".[16] Since the 1950s conservatism in the United States has been chiefly associated with the Republican Party. However, during the era of segregation many Southern Democrats were conservatives, and they played a key role in the Conservative Coalition that controlled Congress from 1937 to 1963.[17]

Social-political ambiguity

Every country in the world is ruled by a system of governance that combines at least three or more political or economic attributes.[citation needed] Additionally, 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 rather than a democracy since some American voters believe elections are being manipulated by wealthy Super PACs.[18]

The dialectical forms of government

The Classical Greek philosopher Plato discusses five types of regimes: aristocracy, timocracy, oligarchy, democracy and 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 of government

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).

The division of governments as monarchy, aristocracy and democracy has been used since Aristotle's Politics.[citation needed] In his book Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes expands on this classification.

The difference of Commonwealths consisteth in the difference of the sovereign, or the person representative of all and every one of the multitude. And because the sovereignty is either in one man, or in an assembly of more than one; and into that assembly either every man hath right to enter, or not every one, but certain men distinguished from the rest; it is manifest there can be but three kinds of Commonwealth. For the representative must needs be one man, or more; and if more, then it is the assembly of all, or but of a part. When the representative is one man, then is the Commonwealth a monarchy; when an assembly of all that will come together, then it is a democracy, or popular Commonwealth; when an assembly of a part only, then it is called an aristocracy. Other kind of Commonwealth there can be none: for either one, or more, or all, must have the sovereign power (which I have shown to be indivisible) entire.[19]


An autocracy is a system of government in which supreme power 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).[20]

A despotism is a government ruled by a single entity with absolute power, whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regular mechanisms of popular control (except perhaps for implicit threat). That entity may be an individual, as in an autocracy, or it may be a group, as in an oligarchy. The word despotism means to "rule in the fashion of despots".[citation needed]

A monarchy is where a family or group of families (rarely another type of group), called the royalty, represents national identity, with power traditionally assigned to one of its individuals, called the monarch, who mostly rule kingdoms. The actual role of the monarch and other members of royalty varies from purely symbolical (crowned republic) to partial and restricted (constitutional monarchy) to completely despotic (absolute monarchy). Traditionally and in most cases, the post of the monarch is inherited, but there are also elective monarchies where the monarch is elected.[citation needed]


Aristocracy (Greek ἀριστοκρατία aristokratía, from ἄριστος aristos "excellent", and κράτος kratos "power") is a form of government that places power in the hands of a small, privileged ruling class.[21]

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.

An oligarchy is ruled by a small group of segregated, powerful or influential people who usually share similar interests or family relations. These people may spread power and elect candidates equally or not equally. An oligarchy is different from a true democracy because very few people are given the chance to change things. An oligarchy does not have to be hereditary or monarchic. An oligarchy does not have one clear ruler but several rulers.[citation needed]

Some historical examples of oligarchy are the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Some critics of representative democracy think of the United States as an oligarchy. The Athenian democracy used sortition to elect candidates, almost always male, Greek, educated citizens holding a minimum of land, wealth and status.[citation needed]

A theocracy is rule by a religious elite; a system of governance composed of religious institutions in which the state and the church are traditionally or constitutionally the same entity. The Vatican's (see Pope), Iran's (see Supreme Leader), Tibetan government's (see Dalai Lama), Caliphates and other Islamic states are historically considered theocracies.[citation needed]


In a general sense, in a democracy, all the people of a state or polity are involved in making decisions about its affairs. Also refer to the rule by a government 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 certain age). 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 one-vote-per-person headcount.[citation needed]

In democracies, large proportions of the population may vote, either to make decisions or to choose representatives to make decisions. Commonly significant in democracies are political parties, which are groups of people with similar ideas about how a country or region should be governed. Different political parties have different ideas about how the government should handle different problems.[citation needed]

Liberal democracy is a variant of democracy. It is a form of government in which representative democracy operates under the principles of liberalism. It is characterised by fair, free, and competitive elections between multiple distinct political parties, a separation of powers into different branches of government, the rule of law in everyday life as part of an open society, and the protection of human rights and civil liberties for all persons. To define the system in practice, liberal democracies often draw upon a constitution, either formally written or uncodified, to delineate the powers of government and enshrine the social contract. After a period of sustained expansion throughout the 20th century, liberal democracy became the predominant political system in the world. A liberal democracy may take various constitutional forms: it may be a republic, such as France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Taiwan, or the United States; or a constitutional monarchy, such as Japan, Spain, or the United Kingdom. It may have a presidential system (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, or the United States), a semi-presidential system (France, Portugal, or Taiwan), or a parliamentary system (Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, India, Italy, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom).[citation needed]


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.[22][23] A common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of state is not a monarch.[24][25] Montesquieu included both democracies, where all the people have a share in rule, and aristocracies or oligarchies, where only some of the people rule, as republican forms of government.[26]

Other terms used to describe different republics include Democratic republic, Parliamentary republic, Federal republic, and Islamic Republic.

Scope of government

Rule by authoritarian governments is identified in societies where a specific set of people possess the authority of the state in a republic or union. It is a political system controlled by unelected rulers who usually permit some degree of individual freedom. Rule by a totalitarian government is characterised by a highly centralised and coercive authority that regulates nearly every aspect of public and private life.[citation needed]

In contrast, a constitutional republic is rule by 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). Republics that exclude sections of the populace from participation will typically claim to represent all citizens (by defining people without the vote as "non-citizens"). Examples include the United States, South Africa, India, etc.[citation needed]


Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together by covenant (Latin: foedus, covenant) with a governing representative head. The term "federalism" is also used to describe a system of government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and constituent political units (such as states or provinces). Federalism is a system based upon democratic rules 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 federalists.

Economic systems

Historically, most political systems originated as socioeconomic 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.

Term Definition
Capitalism A social-economic system in which the means of production (machines, tools, factories, etc.) are under private ownership and their use is for profit.
Communism A social-economic system in which means of production are commonly owned (either by the people directly, through the commune or by communist society), and production is undertaken for use, rather than for profit.[27][28] Communist society is thus stateless, classless, moneyless, and democratic.
Distributism A social-economic system in which widespread property ownership as fundamental right;[29] the means of production are spread as widely as possible rather than being centralized under the control of the state (state socialism), a few individuals (plutocracy), or corporations (corporatocracy).[30] Distributism fundamentally opposes socialism and capitalism,[31][32] which distributists view as equally flawed and exploitative. In contrast, distributism seeks to subordinate economic activity to human life as a whole, to our spiritual life, our intellectual life, our family life".[33]
Feudalism A social-economic system of land ownership and duties. Under feudalism, all the land in a kingdom was the king's. However, the king would give some of the land to the lords or nobles who fought for him. These presents of land were called manors. Then the nobles gave some of their land to vassals. The vassals then had to do duties for the nobles. The lands of vassals were called fiefs.
Socialism A social-economic system in which workers, democratically and socially own the means of production[34] and the economic framework may be decentralized, distributed or centralized planned or self-managed in autonomous economic units.[35] Public services would be commonly, collectively, or state owned, such as healthcare and education.
Statism A social-economic system that concentrates power in the state at the expense of individual freedom. Among other variants, the term subsumes theocracy, absolute monarchy, Nazism, fascism, authoritarian socialism, and plain, unadorned dictatorship. Such variants differ on matters of form, tactics and ideology.
Welfare state A social-economic system in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life.


States by their systems of government. For the complete list of systems by country, see List of countries by system of government.       Full presidential republics.   Semi-presidential republics.   Parliamentary republics with an executive presidency dependent on the legislature.   Parliamentary republics.   Parliamentary constitutional monarchies in which the monarch does not personally exercise power (except perhaps reserve powers).    Dual system constitutional monarchies in which the monarch personally exercises power (often alongside a weak parliament).   Absolute monarchies.   Single-party state.   Countries in which constitutional provisions for government have been suspended (e.g. Military dictatorships)   Countries which do not fit any of the above systems. (e.g. Transitional governments)   No government.  Note that several states constitutionally deemed to be multiparty republics are broadly described by outsiders as authoritarian states.  This chart aims to represent de jure form of government, not de facto degree of democracy.
States by their systems of government. For the complete list of systems by country, see List of countries by system of government.
  Parliamentary constitutional monarchies in which the monarch does not personally exercise power (except perhaps reserve powers).
  Dual system constitutional monarchies in which the monarch personally exercises power (often alongside a weak parliament).
  Countries in which constitutional provisions for government have been suspended (e.g. Military dictatorships)
  Countries which do not fit any of the above systems. (e.g. Transitional governments)
  No government.
Note that several states constitutionally deemed to be multiparty republics are broadly described by outsiders as authoritarian states. This chart aims to represent de jure form of government, not de facto degree of democracy.
Democracy Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit, 2017.[36]     Full Democracies   9–10   8–9   Flawed Democracies   7–8   6–7   Hybrid Regimes   5–6   4–5   Authoritarian Regimes   3–4   2–3   0–2
Democracy Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit, 2017.[36]
World administrative levels
World administrative levels
A world map distinguishing countries of the world as federations (green) from unitary states (blue).    Unitary states   Federations
A world map distinguishing countries of the world as federations (green) from unitary states (blue).

See also


Certain major characteristics are defining of certain types; others are historically associated with certain types of government.


This list focuses on differing approaches that political systems take to the distribution of sovereignty, and the autonomy of regions within the state.


  1. ^ "government". Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press. November 2010.
  2. ^ a b c International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Elsevier. 2001. ISBN 978-0-08-043076-8.
  3. ^ "government". 2010.
  4. ^ The Encyclopædia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information. Encyclopædia Britannica Company. 1911.
  5. ^ Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th edition. Columbia University Press. 2000.
  6. ^ a b Christian 2004, p. 245.
  7. ^ Christian 2004, p. 294.
  8. ^ The New Encyclopædia Britannica (15th edition)
  9. ^ Christian 2004, pp. 146–147.
  10. ^ Christian, David (2004). Maps of Time. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-24476-4.
  11. ^ a b Adam Kuper and Jessica Kuper (ed.). The Social Science Encyclopedia. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-47635-5.
  12. ^ The Oxford Handbook of State and Local Government, 2014, ISBN 978-0-19-957967-9
  13. ^ Lewellen, Ted C. Political Anthropology: An Introduction Third Edition. Praeger Publishers; 3rd edition (2003)
  14. ^ Comparative politics : interests, identities, and institutions in a changing global order, Jeffrey Kopstein, Mark Lichbach (eds.), 2nd ed, Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN 0521708400, p. 4.
  15. ^ Renna, Thomas (Sep 2015). "The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire". Michigan Academician. 42 (1): 60–75. doi:10.7245/0026-2005-42.1.60.
  16. ^ Leo P. Ribuffo, "20 Suggestions for Studying the Right now that Studying the Right is Trendy," Historically Speaking Jan 2011 v.12#1 pp. 2–6, quote on p. 6
  17. ^ Kari Frederickson, The Dixiecrat Revolt and the End of the Solid South, 1932–1968, p. 12, "...conservative southern Democrats viewed warily the potential of New Deal programs to threaten the region's economic dependence on cheap labor while stirring the democratic ambitions of the disfranchised and undermining white supremacy.", The University of North Carolina Press, 2000, ISBN 978-0-8078-4910-1
  18. ^ "Plutocrats – The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else" Archived 7 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan  – via Wikisource.
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  • American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 0-395-82517-2

Further reading

External links

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