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Forms of Government
From CIA World FactbookMonarchy - a government in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of a monarch
(king or queen) who reigns over a state or territory, usually for life and by hereditary
(inherited) right; the monarch may be either a sole absolute ruler or have constitutionally
limited authority.
Absolute monarchy - a form of government where the monarch rules unhindered (as
he/she pleases), without any laws, constitution, or legally organized opposition.
Constitutional monarchy - a system of government in which a monarch is guided by
a constitution whereby his/her rights, duties, and responsibilities are spelled out in written
law or by custom.
Communist - a system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and
a single party holds power (often total power); state controls put in place with the elimination
of private ownership of property or businesses.
Socialism - a government in which the means of planning, producing, and distributing goods
is controlled by a central government that seeks a more equitable distribution of property and
labor (attempt to reduce differences between upper and lower classes through programs to aid
the lower class).
Democracy - a form of government in which the supreme power is retained by the people,
but which is usually exercised indirectly through a system of representation (leaders
elected every few years as determined by a constitution).
Republic - a representative democracy in which the people's elected representatives, not the
people themselves, vote on legislation.
Democratic republic - a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens
entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them.
Parliamentary democracy - a political system in which the legislature (parliament)
selects the government - a prime minister, premier, or chancellor along with the cabinet
ministers - according to party strength as expressed in elections; people elected members of
the legislative branch, then the members of that branch select the other members of
Dictatorship - a form of government in which a ruler or small group of leaders have absolute
power (not restricted by a constitution or laws).
Oligarchy - a government in which control is exercised by a small group of individuals
whose authority generally is based on wealth or power.
Totalitarian - a government that seeks to subordinate the individual (have total control over
its citizens) to the state by controlling not only all political and economic matters, but also the
attitudes, values, and beliefs of its population.
Theocracy - a form of government in which a Deity (God) is recognized as the supreme civil
ruler, but the Deity's laws are interpreted by religious authorities (bishops, mullahs, etc.); a
government subject to religious authority.
Anarchy - a condition of lawlessness or political disorder brought about by the absence of
governmental authority.
Analyzing the forms of government –
Let’s decide which is the most effective by listing strengths and weaknesses of each form of
Forms of Government
Form of
Form of
Forms of Government
Form of
Government Closure Questions
1. Now that you have analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of different forms of
government, which do you think is the most effective way to run a country? Explain
2. Is the king/queen’s power more likely to be limited in a constitutional monarchy or
an absolute monarchy? Explain why.
3. In a parliamentary democracy, the citizens vote for fewer of their leaders than in a
democratic republic. Explain why this is so.