When it comes to types of government, many different systems have been implemented throughout history. Started with Tribalism, and later transformation created a position for constitutional monarchies, to the modern democratic, or republican government. Let’s briefly browse the House of Representatives and make a big picture about the best and the worst form of government, or understand what form of government the United States has. You can enjoy the complete list of government styles across history.  

All government archetypes across world history

1. Anarchy
2. Anarcho-capitalism
3. Aristocracy
4. Bureaucracy
5. Capitalism
6. Chiefdom
7. Colonialism
8. Communism
9. Confederations and federations
10. Democracy
11. Despotism
12. Eco-Anarchу
13. Empire
14. Environmentalism
15. Fascism
16. Federalism
17. Feudalism
18. Global democracy
19. Kleptocracy
20. Liberalism
21. Libertarianism
22. Meritocracy
23. Military Dictatorship
24. Moderatism
25. Monarchy
26. Ochlocracy
27. Oligarchy
28. Patocracy
29. Plutocracy
30. Politeia
31. Populism
32. Republicanism
33. Rural communities
34. Socialism
35. Sovereign state
36. Supranationality
37. Technocracy
38. Theocracy
39. Totalitarianism
40. Tribalism
41. Unitary
42. Utopia

Anarchy

Anarchism refers to the absence of types 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).

Real-World Example

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.

Anarcho-capitalism

Anarcho-capitalism is a political philosophy that advocates for a society without a centralized government, where private individuals or entities would voluntarily exchange goods, services, and ideas in a free market without interference from a governing body. It combines elements of anarchism, which seeks to abolish the state, with laissez-faire capitalism, which advocates for minimal government intervention in the economy.

In an anarcho-capitalist society, all aspects of governance, including law enforcement, national defense, and dispute resolution, would be provided by private entities operating in a competitive market. Proponents argue that this system would maximize individual liberty, promote economic efficiency, and foster voluntary cooperation among individuals.

Critics of anarcho-capitalism raise concerns about potential abuses of power by private entities, the lack of a centralized authority to protect individual rights, and the potential for inequality and exploitation in an unregulated market. Additionally, questions arise about how public goods and services, such as infrastructure and social welfare programs, would be provided in the absence of government involvement.

Example of Anarcho-capitalism from history

There are no fully realized examples of anarcho-capitalism in history, as it’s a largely theoretical concept that has not been implemented on a large scale. However, there have been instances of societies or communities that have exhibited characteristics or elements of anarcho-capitalist principles to varying degrees.

Free Cities in Medieval Europe: During the Middle Ages, certain cities in Europe enjoyed relative autonomy and operated under systems where trade and commerce were largely unregulated by central authorities. These free cities often had their own legal systems and relied on private contracts and arbitration for dispute resolution, reflecting some aspects of anarcho-capitalist principles.

Early American Frontier: Some historians argue that certain aspects of the American frontier in the 19th century, characterized by minimal government presence and a reliance on individual initiative and voluntary cooperation, exhibit elements of anarcho-capitalism. However, this period also involved significant government intervention in the form of land grants, military protection, and legal enforcement, making it a mixed example.

examples demonstrate elements of decentralized governance and voluntary exchange characteristic of anarcho-capitalist theory, none represent a complete realization of the philosophy. Anarcho-capitalism remains largely a theoretical concept, with proponents advocating for its principles to be applied in contemporary society rather than pointing to historical precedents.

Aristocracy

Aristocracy refers to types 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 that 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 majority rule.

Real-World Example

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 their meaning. Today, it more largely refers to an inherently unequal type of government in which a small class of wealthy elites rules the majority population.

types of government systems

Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy refers to a form of government in which non elected officials 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 majority rule of a dictator or a democracy.

Real-World Example

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

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.

Real-World Example

Capitalism takes various forms, from state and corporate capitalism to a 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.

Colonialism

Colonialism is a form of governance in which a nation will seek to extend its sovereignty over other territories. In practical terms, colonialism involves the expansion of a nation’s rule beyond its borders. This often entails the occupation of indigenous populations and the exploitation of resources for the benefit of the ruling nation. The colonizer will also often impose its economy, culture, religious order, and form of government on an occupied people to strengthen its authority.

Real-World Example

In the 15th century, the European monarchies launched an age of nautical exploration. As merchants and conquerors voyaged in search of new lands, they found indigenous cultures whose technology and way of life they viewed as primitive. As was the tendency of European monarchies, British, French, Spanish, and Dutch colonists to spread their influence and authority throughout the New World, dismantling and sometimes eradicating entire cultures and peoples in the process. The most familiar case is the race for the occupation of North America, the establishment of the original 13 Colonies, the systematic destruction of Native American culture, and the slave trade that gave way to the eventual independence, prosperity, and cultural identity of the United States.

Chiefdom

A chiefdom is a form of sociopolitical organization in which a central authority, usually a hereditary leader or chief, holds significant power and influence over a group of people or a community. In chiefdoms, political leadership is typically based on kinship ties, with authority passed down through family lines. In chiefdoms, leadership positions are often inherited, meaning that authority is passed down from one generation to the next within a ruling family or lineage. Chiefdoms are characterized by a hierarchical social structure based on kinship relationships. The chief typically belongs to a privileged lineage or clan, with extended family members occupying positions of influence and status within the community. Unlike complex state societies with formal bureaucracies, chiefdoms typically have limited administrative structures and rely heavily on personal relationships, oral traditions, and informal mechanisms of governance. Decision-making may be centralized around the chief or a council of elders, with authority exercised through consensus-building and consultation. Chiefdoms are typically found in traditional societies and pre-state cultures, where they represent an intermediate stage of sociopolitical organization between small-scale bands or tribes and more complex state societies.

Example from history

The Hawaiian Islands: Prior to European contact, the Hawaiian Islands were divided into multiple chiefdoms, each ruled by a chief or ali’i. These chiefdoms were organized around a complex system of social hierarchy, with the highest-ranking chiefs controlling extensive territories and resources. Chiefs held significant political, economic, and religious authority, and their rule was supported by a class of nobles, priests, and commoners.

The Mississippian Culture: The Mississippian culture, which flourished in the southeastern United States from around 800 CE to 1600 CE, included numerous chiefdoms organized around large ceremonial centers and mound complexes. Cities such as Cahokia, Moundville, and Etowah served as political and religious centers for their respective chiefdoms, with chiefs exerting control over surrounding territories through alliances, tribute, and warfare.

Communism

In its purest form, Communism refers to the idea of common, public ownership of the economy, including infrastructure, utilities, and means of production. Communism, as idealized by thinkers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, denotes an absence of class divisions, which inherently requires the subversion of the ruling class by the working class. As such, communism often incorporates the idea of revolutionary action against unequal rule. Communism often positions itself as a counterpoint to the economic stratification underlying capitalism. This resistance to stratification sometimes also takes the form of a single-state authority, one in which political opposition or dissidence may be restricted. This may manifest in some communist states as a more authoritarian form of governance, as typified by the Soviet brand of communism that swept the globe during the mid-20th century.

Real-World Example

Modern communism manifests as a descendant from Soviet communism — both ideologically and materially — and is sometimes identified as the Marxist-Leninist variation on communism. Countries that retain single-party, Marxist-Leninist rulership include Cuba, Laos, Vietnam, and the People’s Republic of China. Each of these nations adopted this form of government at the height of the Cold War — between the 1940s and 1960s — under the auspices of Russian influence. While the Soviet communist government crumbled in 1991, these nations remain committed to their own version of the Marxist-Leninist ideology. Though North Korea refers to itself as communist, the singularity of its rulership hews much closer to dictatorship.

 

Democracy

Democracy refers to a form of government in which the people are given a direct role in choosing their leaders. Its primary goal is governance through fair representation, a system in which no single force or entity can exercise unchecked control or authority. The result is a system that requires discourse, debate, and compromise to satisfy the broadest possible number of public interests. Democracy is typified by fair and free elections, civic participation, protection of human rights, and the rule of law.

Real-World Example

While the notion of democracy finds its roots in Greek antiquity, its practice became the particular province of settlers in the colonies of the United States. In the years leading up to the U.S. War for Independence, the philosophical impetus of governance through representation played an important role in building the case for revolt. It was also essential, as the framers of the Constitution constructed a way of life around a concept called “representative democracy.” The colonists imported the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic inequalities of their European predecessors. But in representative democracy and the Constitution, they also forged a framework for the marginalized to fight for their representation. Today, just over half of the world’s nations self-identify as constitutional democracies.

Despotism

Despotism is a form of government characterized by absolute power and authority exercised by a single ruler, often referred to as a despot or tyrant, without any checks or limitations on their power. In a despotic regime, the ruler maintains control over all aspects of governance, including legislation, administration, judiciary, and military, and may rule through fear, coercion, or repression.

Despotic governments are highly centralized, with all political power and decision-making authority concentrated in the hands of the ruler or a small ruling elite. The ruler typically exercises complete control over the state apparatus, including government ministries, law enforcement agencies, and the military.

Despotic regimes lack institutional checks and balances to constrain the power of the ruler. There are no independent branches of government, such as a legislature or judiciary, capable of challenging the ruler’s authority or holding them accountable for their actions.

Despotic rulers often cultivate a cult of personality around themselves, promoting an image of omnipotence, infallibility, and divine right to rule. Propaganda, symbolism, and mass spectacles may be used to reinforce the ruler’s authority and legitimize their rule in the eyes of the population.

Example of “Despotism” from history

The Reign of King Louis XIV of France: Louis XIV, also known as the “Sun King,” ruled France from 1643 to 1715. During his reign, Louis centralized power in his own hands, establishing an absolute monarchy where he exercised complete control over the government, economy, and society. Louis XIV famously declared, “L’État, c’est moi” (“I am the state”), epitomizing his belief in royal absolutism. He used a system of royal councils and intendants to govern France, suppressing dissent and imposing his will on the nobility and commoners alike.

The Rule of Ivan the Terrible in Russia: Ivan IV, also known as Ivan the Terrible, ruled Russia from 1547 to 1584. He is remembered for his brutal repression of the opposition, including the oprichnina—a period of terror during which Ivan’s secret police, the oprichniki, carried out mass executions, torture, and confiscation of property. Ivan centralized power in his own hands, abolished the elected council of nobles (the boyars), and established a system of personal rule characterized by fear and arbitrary violence.

The Reign of Emperor Nero in Ancient Rome: Nero was the Roman emperor from 54 to 68 CE. He is infamous for his cruelty, extravagance, and tyrannical rule. Nero persecuted Christians, executed political opponents, and engaged in lavish spending on personal luxuries and public spectacles. His rule was marked by repression, corruption, and a disregard for the welfare of his subjects, leading to widespread discontent and eventual rebellion.

Eco-Anarchу

Eco-Anarchy, or Eco-Anarchism, is a political philosophy that combines elements of anarchism with environmentalism. At its core, it advocates for a stateless society where individuals live in harmony with nature, without hierarchical structures of power and authority. Eco-anarchists reject centralized authority and hierarchical power structures, including the state, corporations, and other forms of domination. They believe in decentralized decision-making and direct democracy. Eco-anarchists prioritize environmental sustainability and ecological harmony. They emphasize the importance of living in balance with nature, promoting biodiversity, and protecting ecosystems from exploitation and destruction. While some strands of anarchism advocate for revolutionary violence, eco-anarchism often emphasizes non-violent resistance and direct action as means of achieving social and environmental change. Eco-anarchists promote self-sufficiency and autonomy at the individual and community levels. This includes practices such as permaculture, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy production, and alternative economic systems like gift economies or local exchange trading systems (LETS). Eco-anarchism seeks to address both social and environmental issues by challenging systems of oppression and exploitation while promoting ecological sustainability and human well-being. It encompasses a diverse range of perspectives and practices, united by a shared commitment to freedom, equality, and ecological integrity.

Example from history

Spanish Revolution (1936-1939): During the Spanish Civil War, various anarchist and socialist groups in Spain implemented principles of decentralization, direct democracy, and collective ownership. In regions like Catalonia and Aragon, anarchist communities organized themselves into collectives and syndicates, emphasizing self-management and sustainability in agriculture, industry, and social organization.

Zapatista Movement (since 1994, Mexico): The Zapatistas are a revolutionary indigenous movement in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. While not explicitly eco-anarchist, they incorporate principles of autonomy, decentralization, and respect for nature into their struggle for indigenous rights and social justice. The Zapatistas promote sustainable agriculture, community-based decision-making, and resistance to corporate exploitation of natural resources.

Rojava Revolution (since 2012, Syria): In the predominantly Kurdish regions of northern Syria, the Rojava Revolution has sought to establish a system based on principles of democratic confederalism, inspired by the ideas of Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). While the focus is primarily on political and social liberation, the Rojava experiment includes elements of decentralization, self-governance, and ecological sustainability.

Empire

Empires are characterized by expansive territorial control, diverse populations, and hierarchical structures of power. In modern political discourse, “Empire” can also refer to a theoretical concept popularized by scholars like Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri in their book “Empire.” In this context, Empire represents a global system of power and domination characterized by multinational corporations, supranational organizations, and military alliances, rather than a single sovereign state. According to Hardt and Negri, Empire is decentralized and operates through networks of power rather than through traditional hierarchical structures like those found in historical empires. It encompasses various forms of control, including economic exploitation, cultural hegemony, and military intervention, all aimed at maintaining the dominance of the ruling class. In this interpretation, the Empire political system refers to a complex and diffuse system of global governance where power is exercised through networks of capital, technology, and institutions rather than through traditional nation-states. Critics argue that this concept obscures the continued significance of nation-states and state-centric power dynamics in global politics.

Examples from history

Roman Empire: One of the most famous empires in history, the Roman Empire, which existed from around 27 BCE to 476 CE (Western Roman Empire), was characterized by its vast territorial control across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. It exerted significant influence over politics, culture, and trade throughout the Mediterranean region.

Mongol Empire: At its height in the 13th and 14th centuries, the Mongol Empire was the largest contiguous land empire in history, stretching from Eastern Europe to East Asia. Under leaders like Genghis Khan and his descendants, the Mongol Empire facilitated trade, cultural exchange, and the spread of ideas across Eurasia.

Ottoman Empire: From the late 13th century to the early 20th century, the Ottoman Empire controlled vast territories in Southeast Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa. It was a major power in the Muslim world and a significant player in European geopolitics, exerting influence over trade routes and serving as a bridge between East and West.

British Empire: Spanning from the 16th to the 20th centuries, the British Empire was one of the largest empires in history, with territories on every continent. It played a dominant role in shaping modern global politics, economics, and culture, leaving a lasting legacy in many former colonies.

Environmentalism

Environmentalism is not a political system per se, but rather a political movement or ideology that advocates for the protection and preservation of the natural environment and the promotion of sustainable practices. Environmentalism encompasses a wide range of beliefs, goals, and strategies aimed at addressing environmental issues such as pollution, habitat destruction, climate change, biodiversity loss, and resource depletion.

Environmentalists advocate for the conservation and preservation of natural ecosystems, species diversity, and biodiversity. They emphasize the intrinsic value of nature and argue for the protection of ecosystems for their own sake, as well as for the benefits they provide to human well-being.

Environmentalism promotes the concept of sustainable development, which seeks to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This involves balancing economic growth, social equity, and environmental protection to ensure long-term environmental sustainability.

While environmentalism is not a formal political system, it has a significant influence on political discourse, policy-making, and governance around the world. Environmental concerns have become increasingly central to political debates and decision-making processes, as policymakers grapple with the urgent need to address environmental degradation and build a more sustainable future for humanity and the planet.

Example of “Environmentalism” from history

Conservation Movement in the United States: In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the conservation movement emerged in the United States in response to rapid industrialization, urbanization, and resource exploitation. Figures such as President Theodore Roosevelt and naturalist John Muir played key roles in advocating for the protection of natural landscapes, national parks, and wildlife habitats. The establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, the first national park in the world, marked a milestone in the conservation movement and set a precedent for the preservation of wilderness areas for future generations.

The Chipko Movement in India: The Chipko movement, which originated in the Himalayan region of India in the 1970s, was a grassroots environmental movement focused on forest conservation and community empowerment. The movement, led primarily by women, involved hugging trees to prevent their felling by loggers and advocating for sustainable forestry practices. The Chipko movement raised awareness about deforestation, land degradation, and the rights of local communities to control and manage their natural resources.

Early Environmental Philosophers: Throughout history, various philosophers, writers, and thinkers have expressed environmentalist ideas and concerns. For example, Henry David Thoreau’s book “Walden,” published in 1854, emphasized the importance of living in harmony with nature and inspired generations of environmentalists. Similarly, Rachel Carson’s seminal work “Silent Spring,” published in 1962, raised awareness about the harmful effects of pesticides and contributed to the modern environmental movement.

Federalism

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 the approach that provides roughly equal status of authority to two distinct levels of government.

Real-World Example

The United States was among the first true examples of a federation, a nation comprised of a set region, 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 in a constant and dynamic flux.

Feudalism

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.

Real-World Example

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.

Global democracy

Global democracy refers to the concept of democratic governance on a global scale, where decision-making processes and institutions are designed to involve participation from individuals and nations worldwide. The idea of global democracy is rooted in the belief that issues such as human rights, environmental sustainability, and global security require collective decision-making and cooperation among nations and peoples.

Global democracy advocates for the inclusion of all individuals, regardless of nationality, in decision-making processes that affect them. This may involve mechanisms such as global voting, citizen assemblies, or participatory forums where people can voice their concerns and opinions.

The principle of subsidiarity suggests that decisions should be made at the most local level possible, only escalating to higher levels of governance when necessary. In a global democracy, this would mean empowering local communities and regions while also recognizing the need for global cooperation on certain issues.

Global democracy emphasizes the protection of human rights as a fundamental principle. This includes ensuring that all individuals have equal rights and opportunities, regardless of their nationality or background.

While the idea of global democracy is aspirational and faces numerous challenges, proponents argue that it is necessary to address pressing global issues such as climate change, poverty, and conflict. Critics, on the other hand, raise concerns about sovereignty, the feasibility of global governance, and the potential for domination by powerful nations or interests. Achieving global democracy would likely require significant reforms and a shift in global attitudes toward cooperation and solidarity.

Example of “Global democracy” from history

League of Nations and United Nations: These are international organizations established in the aftermath of World Wars I and II, respectively, to promote peace, security, and cooperation among nations. While they don’t represent a full-fledged global democracy, they provide platforms for member states to discuss and address global issues through diplomacy and collective action. The UN General Assembly, where each member state has one vote, can be seen as a form of global representation, although it’s not directly elected by global citizens.

International Criminal Court (ICC): The ICC is the first permanent international court established to prosecute individuals for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and aggression. It represents an attempt to hold individuals accountable for serious crimes on a global scale, providing a mechanism for justice that transcends national borders.

Kleptocracy

A kleptocracy is a form of government in which the ruling party has either come to power, retained power, or both, through means of corruption and theft. This is not a form of government that a ruling class would ever self-apply but a pejorative term used to describe a group whose power rests on a foundation of embezzlement, misappropriation of funds, and the transfer of massive amounts of wealth from public to private interests. These private interests will typically overlap the ruling party’s economic interests.

Real-World Example

Vladamir Putin’s post-Soviet Russia is a clear example of kleptocratic behavior by a ruling class. In the early 1990s, as the former Soviet Union collapsed and confusion reigned, Putin and his allies from within the leadership of the KGB squirreled away billions of dollars in public money. They would ultimately use this money to fund the rise to power and, subsequently, the establishment of a quasi-authoritative regime that handed central banking authority over to cronies awarded friends with enormous no-bid contracts to build the notoriously shoddy Sochi Olympic Village, and, in 2003, took control of a privately owned oil company. In the latter case, Putin demonstrated his absolute power by claiming fraud against oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The charges led to the billionaire’s imprisonment for a decade and the parceling of his Yukos Oil Company to Putin’s friends and allies. Despite its democratic facade, Putin’s Russia meets the basic qualifications of a true kleptocracy.

forms of government

Liberalism

Liberalism is a political and philosophical ideology that emphasizes individual rights, liberty, equality, and the rule of law as foundational principles for society. It emerged in the 17th and 18th centuries during the Enlightenment era, gaining prominence as a response to absolutism and authoritarianism. Liberalism holds that individuals possess inherent rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and property. These rights are seen as universal and inalienable, meaning they cannot be legitimately infringed upon by governments or other individuals without justification.

Liberalism emphasizes the importance of the rule of law, meaning that laws should apply equally to all individuals and be enacted through fair and transparent processes. Governments are expected to operate within the confines of established legal norms and institutions, and individuals are entitled to legal protections against arbitrary or unjust actions by the state.

Liberalism values freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of association as essential liberties that enable individuals to express themselves, participate in public discourse, and peacefully assemble to pursue their interests and advocate for change.

Liberalism has evolved over time and encompasses various strands, including classical liberalism, social liberalism, and libertarianism, each emphasizing different aspects of individual freedom, social welfare, and economic organization. It has been influential in shaping modern democratic societies and political systems, although it has also faced criticism and challenges from alternative ideologies and perspectives.

Example of “Liberalism” from history

American Revolution and the Founding Fathers: The ideas of liberalism heavily influenced the American Revolution and the founding of the United States. Figures like Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin were influenced by liberal thinkers such as John Locke and Montesquieu. The Declaration of Independence, with its emphasis on individual rights and the consent of the governed, reflects liberal principles.

European Liberalism in the 19th Century: In 19th-century Europe, liberalism emerged as a dominant political ideology, particularly in countries like Britain, France, and Germany. Liberal reforms during this period included the expansion of suffrage, the establishment of constitutional monarchies, and the enactment of laws protecting civil liberties and free trade.

Post-World War II Liberalism: In the aftermath of World War II, liberal ideas influenced the establishment of international organizations such as the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which sought to promote peace, human rights, and international cooperation based on liberal principles.

Libertarianism

Libertarianism is a political philosophy and ideology that emphasizes individual liberty, free markets, and limited government intervention in both personal and economic matters. At its core, libertarianism holds that individuals have the right to live their lives as they see fit, as long as they respect the equal rights of others and do not infringe upon their freedoms.

Libertarians believe that individuals possess inherent rights to life, liberty, and property. They advocate for maximal individual freedom, including the freedom to make choices about one’s own life, body, and property, without undue interference from the government or other individuals. Libertarians argue for a minimal state that performs only essential functions, such as protecting individual rights, enforcing contracts, and maintaining public order. They oppose government intervention in personal and economic affairs beyond these core functions, viewing such intervention as a threat to individual liberty and economic prosperity. Libertarians generally support free market economics, which prioritize voluntary exchange, private property rights, and competition.

Libertarianism encompasses a spectrum of views and ideologies, ranging from minarchism (advocating for a minimal state) to anarcho-capitalism (advocating for the abolition of the state in favor of voluntary associations and market mechanisms). While libertarianism shares some principles with classical liberalism, it places a greater emphasis on individual autonomy and limited government intervention in both personal and economic matters.

Example of “Libertarianism” from history

Classical Liberalism in the 19th Century: The 19th century saw the rise of classical liberalism, which shares many principles with libertarianism. In countries like Britain and the United States, classical liberal ideas influenced political movements and policies that emphasized individual rights, limited government, and free markets. For example, the laissez-faire economic policies of British Prime Minister William Gladstone and the advocacy for individual liberty by figures like John Stuart Mill reflect elements of libertarian thought.

American Frontier: During the expansion of the American frontier in the 19th century, there were periods and regions characterized by limited government and a strong emphasis on individual freedom. Settlers on the frontier often relied on voluntary cooperation and self-reliance rather than government intervention, embodying principles of individual liberty and self-governance.

Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War: During the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939), anarchist and libertarian socialist movements gained control over parts of Catalonia, particularly in Barcelona. These movements aimed to establish decentralized, self-governing communities based on principles of direct democracy, voluntary cooperation, and collective ownership of resources. While short-lived and ultimately crushed by opposing forces, these experiments reflected libertarian ideals in practice.

Meritocracy

Meritocracy refers to a system in which authority is vested in those who have demonstrated the merits deemed pertinent to governing or public administration. Often, these merits are conferred through testing and academic credentials and are meant to create an order in which talents, abilities, and intellect determine who should hold positions of leadership and economic stewardship. The result is a social hierarchy based on achievement.

Real-World Example

In a sense, America’s educational tradition suggests a meritocracy in which higher degrees denote access to greater opportunity. However, because earning this degree does not itself confer any automatic authority upon a person, the U.S. is not a true meritocracy. Today, Singapore offers a modern example that aligns closest to the concept of meritocracy. Here, academic achievements play a deeply determinant role in opportunities for economic advancement, professional mobility, and civic leadership. Though this approach has helped Singapore to become a thriving economy, some express concern that its meritocracy enforces sharp hierarchical divisions between members of the public and a small population of intellectual elites.

Military Dictatorship

A dictatorship is a nation ruled with absolute power, in the absence of a democratic process, and typically under the thumb of a single authority figure. In a military dictatorship, this authority usually heads the nation’s armed forces. A military dictatorship often comes to power by subverting the existing seat of government — sometimes through claims of corruption, weakness, or ineffectiveness — and subsequently uses the military to establish its brand of law and order. Military dictatorships will frequently prioritize law and order overdue process, civil liberties, or political freedoms. Dissent or political opposition can be dangerous or even deadly for those living under a military dictatorship.

Real-World Example

In 2014, Thailand’s general election was disrupted by widespread protests against the government. The result was a nullified election and the subsequent dismantling of the civilian government. In the vacuum of power, General Prayut Chan-o-cha declared martial law, dissolved the Senate, and placed himself in control of the nation. Since then, Thailand has persisted under dictatorial military rule. The military junta called the National Council for Peace and Order, imposed nationwide curfews, forbade political gatherings, threatened arrest for political opponents or activists, controlled the media, and enforced widespread internet censorship.

Monarchy

Monarchy refers to a form of rule in which absolute power and authority are held by a single member of a royal bloodline. In a monarchy, the individual in the seat of power is often believed to have been placed there by “divine right,” or the will of God. In a monarchical society, power is inherited within a line of succession that relates to one’s bloodline and birth order within the ruling royal family. Though the monarchy has historically indicated absolute power, the concept has become increasingly diluted with the evolution of democratic principles. Today, some monarchies exist but are merely symbolic, whereas others coexist within constitutional structures. However, until the 19th century, the monarchy was the most common form of government in the world.

Real-World Example

Today, 45 nations in the world are governed by some form of monarchy. In many cases, this monarchy is largely symbolic and subservient to a constitution, as with the 16 commonwealth states recognizing Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. By contrast, monarchies continue to enjoy far-reaching political authority in Brunei, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Swaziland.

Moderatism

“Moderatism” is not a widely recognized or defined political ideology or philosophy. However, the term “moderate” generally refers to a political stance or approach characterized by a middle-of-the-road position, advocating for pragmatic solutions, compromise, and balance between competing interests or viewpoints.

In politics, moderates often seek to find common ground between more extreme or polarized positions, emphasizing the importance of incremental change, stability, and avoiding radical shifts in policy or governance. They may be willing to consider ideas and proposals from both the left and the right, with a focus on achieving practical outcomes and consensus.

While moderation can be a valuable approach in promoting cooperation and reducing conflict, it can also be criticized for being overly cautious or lacking a clear ideological stance. Additionally, the definition of what constitutes “moderate” can vary depending on the context and the specific issues under consideration.

Example of “Moderatism” from history

The Founding of the United States: During the drafting of the United States Constitution, the Framers sought to strike a balance between competing interests and ideologies. The resulting document reflected a moderate approach, incorporating elements of both federalism and republicanism. The compromises reached during the Constitutional Convention, such as the Great Compromise between large and small states, exemplify moderation in seeking solutions acceptable to a diverse range of stakeholders.

The Progressive Era in the United States: In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Progressive Movement in the United States advocated for a series of reforms aimed at addressing social and economic injustices. While progressives pushed for significant changes, including labor rights, women’s suffrage, and regulation of big business, many reforms were achieved through incremental and moderate approaches rather than radical upheaval.

Post-World War II European Reconstruction: Following World War II, European countries embarked on a process of reconstruction and reconciliation. Political leaders in countries like Germany and France adopted moderate approaches to rebuild their nations, focusing on economic stability, democratic governance, and cooperation with former enemies through institutions like the European Coal and Steel Community, which later evolved into the European Union.

Oligarchy

Oligarchy refers to a form of government in which a smattering of individuals rules over a nation. In many ways, oligarchy is a catch-all for any number of other forms of governance in which a specific set of qualities — wealth, heredity, race — are used to vest power in a small group of individuals. So, forms of government regarded as aristocratic, plutocratic, or totalitarian, for instance, can be referred to as oligarchic. Oligarchies are often characterized by tyrannical or authoritarian rule and an absence of democratic practices or individual rights.

Real-World Example

The apartheid government that ruled South Africa from 1948 to 1991 was a racially constructed oligarchy, one in which the minority white population exercised dominance and imposed segregation over the nation’s black population. The minority population controlled policy, public administration, and law enforcement, all to the explicit end of oppressing South Africa’s majority black population. The concentration of power in the hands of a minority population as a function of racial identity, as well as the resultant authoritarian rule vested in this minority population, qualifies South Africa’s now-defunct apartheid government as an oligarch. Today, even with the Apartheid government dismantled, the vestiges of racial inequality remain in South Africa’s economy and political structures.

Plutocracy

Plutocracy refers to a system of rule in which power is determined as a direct function of wealth. Plutocracy mirrors the economic hierarchy of aristocratic systems but lacks the philosophical imperatives used to justify the latter. Whereas aristocratic forms of governance justified economic hierarchy by presuming an equivalence between wealth, heredity, and the qualification to lead, plutocracy refers in simpler terms to the ascendance of the wealthy to positions of power. Think of it as the difference between “old money” and “new money.” As with the phrase “new money” itself, plutocracy is rarely a term that a ruling class will self-apply. Rather, it is often used as a derogatory term meant to highlight the inequality inherent in capitalist societies.

Real-World Example

The label of plutocracy has been lobbed against a number of societies over the course of history and generally as a way of critiquing inequality. In both the United States and post-Soviet Russia — where a select group of billionaires possesses 50% and 35%, respectively, of all national wealth — social critics have identified patterns of plutocracy. These critics would argue that the outsize power and influence of the wealthy in these societies tend to undermine equality and fair economic competition.

Politeia

“Politeia” is a Greek term that has been translated variously as “constitution,” “regime,” or “form of government.” It was used by ancient Greek philosophers, most notably Plato, to refer to the ideal state or political system.

In Plato’s dialogues, particularly in his work “The Republic,” the concept of politeia is central to his exploration of justice, governance, and the nature of the ideal society. Plato describes different forms of government, ranging from the ideal to the corrupt, and argues that the best form of government is one ruled by philosopher-kings or guardians who possess wisdom, virtue, and a deep understanding of the true nature of reality.

While Plato’s conception of politeia is rooted in ancient Greek thought and reflects the context of his time, the term has been influential in shaping discussions about governance and political theory throughout history. It continues to be studied and interpreted by scholars in the fields of philosophy, political science, and ethics as they explore questions about the nature of justice, the role of government, and the ideal organization of society.

Example of “Politeia” from history

Golden Age of Athens (5th century BCE): Plato himself lived during the Golden Age of Athens, a period often cited as a partial embodiment of his ideal state. While Athens was a democracy rather than Plato’s preferred aristocracy ruled by philosopher-kings, it was a time of significant cultural, intellectual, and political flourishing. Athenian democracy involved direct participation by citizens in decision-making, with institutions such as the Assembly and the Council playing key roles in governance.

Swiss Cantons: The political system of the Swiss cantons, particularly in the earlier periods of Swiss history, has been cited as an example of decentralized governance that reflects some aspects of Plato’s ideal state. The Swiss cantons enjoyed a high degree of autonomy and direct democracy, with citizens participating in decision-making through local assemblies and councils.

Populism

Populism is a political approach or ideology that emphasizes the interests and concerns of ordinary people, often in opposition to political elites, established institutions, and perceived sources of power and privilege. Populist movements typically frame politics as a struggle between “the people” and “the elite” or “the establishment,” presenting themselves as champions of the former against the latter.

While populism can be a potent political force that mobilizes disenfranchised or marginalized groups, critics argue that it can also be divisive, polarizing, and susceptible to demagoguery. Moreover, populist leaders or movements may promise unrealistic or simplistic solutions to complex problems, potentially undermining democratic norms and institutions in the process.

Example of “Populism” from history

The Populist Movement in the United States (late 19th century): The Populist Movement, also known as the People’s Party, emerged in the late 19th century in the United States. It was primarily a response to the economic hardships faced by farmers and workers, particularly in the rural South and Midwest. The Populists advocated for agrarian reforms, such as increased government regulation of railroads and banks, as well as the free coinage of silver to expand the money supply. The movement also called for political reforms to empower ordinary citizens, such as direct election of senators and the introduction of initiatives and referendums. While the Populist Party ultimately declined in influence, many of its ideas and proposals were later adopted during the Progressive Era.

Silvio Berlusconi in Italy (late 20th and early 21st centuries): Silvio Berlusconi, a media tycoon who served as Prime Minister of Italy for several terms between 1994 and 2011, is often associated with populist politics. Berlusconi’s leadership style was characterized by a blend of nationalist rhetoric, appeals to the common people, and a populist communication style that resonated with many Italian voters. His tenure was marked by controversies, including corruption allegations and conflicts of interest related to his media empire.

Republicanism

Republicanism, the form of government — not to be conflated with the Republican political party specific to U.S. politics — refers to a system in which power is vested in the citizenry. In technical definition, a republic is a nation in which the people hold popular sovereignty through the electoral and legislative processes as well as through participation in public and civic life. In its earliest form, the republic was perceived as a counterbalance to monarchy, an approach that merged monarchy and aristocracy with some trappings of democracy.

Real-World Example

Informed by the philosophical ideas of the enlightenment, particularly the writing of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the revolutionaries who toppled the French monarchy in the 1790s established a new republic in their wake. Though the République française was short-lived — Napoleon’s rule transformed France into an aristocracy by the turn of the next century — its founding on the principles of Rousseau’s Social Contract would be particularly influential to the myriad nations soon to emerge from crumbling European monarchies and splintering colonial empires.

Rural communities

Rural communities are settlements and areas that are located outside of urban centers and characterized by low population density, agricultural or natural landscapes, and often traditional ways of life. These communities can vary widely in size, population, economic activities, and cultural characteristics, but they share common features related to their rural setting and lifestyle.

Rural areas typically have lower population densities compared to urban areas, with fewer people spread out over larger geographic areas. This can result in greater distances between homes and communities, as well as a slower pace of life.

Rural communities often have strong connections to tradition, heritage, and local customs. Residents may engage in traditional forms of agriculture, craftsmanship, or cultural practices that have been passed down through generations. This cultural heritage can contribute to a sense of identity and pride within the community.

Examples of “Rural communities” from history

Medieval European Villages: During the Middle Ages in Europe, the vast majority of the population lived in rural villages and agricultural settlements. These villages were typically centered around a church or manor house and consisted of clusters of homes, farms, and small-scale agricultural fields. Villagers often engaged in subsistence farming, raising crops and livestock to support themselves and their families.

Early American Colonies: The early American colonies, particularly those established in the 17th and 18th centuries, were predominantly rural settlements characterized by small farms, homesteads, and frontier communities. Colonists cleared land, cultivated crops, and raised livestock to establish new agricultural economies in regions such as New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Southern colonies. These rural communities formed the backbone of early American society and played a crucial role in shaping the nation’s history and identity.

Japanese Rural Villages: Traditional Japanese society featured rural villages and agricultural communities known as mura. These villages were organized around rice cultivation and communal labor practices, with households cooperating to manage agricultural tasks and share resources. Japanese villages often had distinct cultural traditions, social hierarchies, and local governance structures that reflected their historical development and geographic context.

Socialism

Socialism refers to a form of government in which the people own the primary means of production. A counterpoint to the competitive nature and unequal proclivities of capitalism, socialism has existed in many forms and to widely variant degrees of strictness throughout history and around the world. From small communal societies to state-level governments that provide encompassing public services such as universal healthcare, the concept of socialism permeates governments the world over. By contrast to the less compromising and often more authoritarian nature of communism, socialism tends to be a malleable concept. Some adherents view socialism as referring to a strict policy of shared ownership and equal distribution of resources, while others believe free-market capitalism can coexist with socialist forms of public administration. To wit, the Social Security system of the declaratively capitalist United States is inherently socialist in nature.

Real-World Example

The Nordic model of social democracy represents perhaps the most effective real-world implementation of socialist principles. The Scandinavian nations of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden adhere to policies that combine free-market capitalism with extensive public works, including free healthcare, free education, a comprehensive welfare state, and high percentages of unionized workers. This approach essentially combines the social consciousness of socialism with the private ownership and competitive opportunity of capitalism.

Sovereign state

A sovereign state, also known simply as a state, is a political entity that exercises full sovereignty over a defined territory, with a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other states. Sovereign states are the primary actors in the international system and are recognized as possessing legal and political independence. Sovereign states come in various forms, including republics, monarchies, federations, and dictatorships, each with its own system of government and institutions. The international system is composed of sovereign states, which interact with one another through diplomacy, trade, treaties, and other forms of international cooperation and conflict.

Example of “Sovereign state” from history

The Roman Empire: The Roman Empire, which existed from approximately 27 BCE to 476 CE in its western form (and later in the Byzantine Empire in the east), is a classic example of a sovereign state in ancient history. It controlled vast territories across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, with a central government based in Rome that exercised authority over its territories through various administrative structures.

The British Empire: The British Empire was one of the largest and most powerful empires in history, spanning territories on every continent at its peak in the 19th and early 20th centuries. While not a single sovereign state in the traditional sense, the British Empire was governed by a central authority in London and exerted control over its colonies and dominions through colonial administrations and imperial institutions.

The United States of America: The United States, established through the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the subsequent ratification of the Constitution in 1789, is a modern example of a sovereign state. It has a defined territory, a permanent population, a government based on democratic principles, and the capacity to enter into relations with other states as an independent entity.

Supranationality

Supranationality refers to a form of governance or authority that exists above the level of individual nation-states, involving the pooling of sovereignty and decision-making powers by multiple countries or states to address common interests or achieve shared objectives. In a supranational system, participating states delegate certain powers to a higher authority, which is typically represented by institutions or organizations that operate at the regional or international level.

Supranationality involves the transfer of sovereignty from individual states to a collective entity or institution. This may involve sharing decision-making authority in specific policy areas, such as trade, security, or environmental regulation.

Supranational systems are typically characterized by the presence of institutions or organizations that serve as the central mechanisms for decision-making and governance. These institutions may have their own governing bodies, administrative structures, and legal frameworks.

Example of “Supranationality” from history

The British Empire: The British Empire, which reached its zenith in the 19th and early 20th centuries, was a vast global network of colonies, territories, and dominions under British rule. While not a supranational entity in the modern sense, the British Empire involved the pooling of sovereignty and the imposition of British authority over diverse regions and peoples across the globe. The empire was governed through a combination of direct rule, indirect rule, and colonial administrations, with the British monarch serving as the symbolic head of state.

The European Union (EU): The EU is perhaps the most prominent example of supranationality in the contemporary world. It consists of 27 member states (as of 2022) that have pooled sovereignty in various policy areas, including trade, economic regulation, immigration, and environmental protection. The EU has its own institutions, such as the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the European Court of Justice, which have authority to make and enforce decisions that apply to member states.

The United Nations (UN): While not a fully supranational organization, the UN operates as a forum for international cooperation and decision-making on issues of global significance, such as peace and security, human rights, and sustainable development. It provides a platform for member states to work together on shared challenges and adopt collective measures to address them.

Technocracy

Technocracy is a system of governance or organization in which decision-making power is vested in experts or technocrats with specialized knowledge and expertise in their respective fields, rather than elected representatives or politicians. The term “technocracy” is derived from the Greek words “technē,” meaning skill or craft, and “kratos,” meaning power or rule, and it emphasizes the idea of rule by technical or scientific expertise.

In a technocratic system, decision-making authority is delegated to individuals who possess specialized knowledge, skills, and expertise in relevant fields such as science, engineering, economics, or technology. These experts are appointed or selected based on their qualifications and competence rather than through democratic elections. Technocracy is often associated with meritocratic principles, where positions of authority and responsibility are allocated based on merit, achievement, and expertise rather than factors such as wealth, social status, or political connections.

Technocracy has been proposed as an alternative or supplement to traditional forms of democratic governance, particularly in situations where complex technical issues require specialized knowledge and expertise. Proponents argue that technocratic approaches can lead to more effective and efficient decision-making, particularly in areas such as economic management, infrastructure planning, and environmental policy. Critics of technocracy raise concerns about accountability, legitimacy, and the potential for technocratic elites to become detached from the needs and values of ordinary citizens. They argue that technocratic decision-making can lack transparency, public participation, and responsiveness to diverse social concerns and preferences.

Example of “Technocracy” from history

Post-World War II Japan: Following World War II, Japan underwent a period of rapid industrialization and economic development. The Japanese government, particularly during the postwar reconstruction period under Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, relied heavily on a technocratic approach to economic planning and policy-making. Government ministries and agencies staffed by experts played a central role in formulating industrial policies, directing investment, and coordinating economic development efforts.

Technocratic Movement in the United States during the Great Depression: In response to the economic challenges of the Great Depression in the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration implemented various New Deal programs. These programs often relied on the expertise of economists, engineers, and other specialists to design and implement policies aimed at stabilizing the economy, creating jobs, and promoting recovery. One notable example is the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which was established to manage development projects in the Tennessee Valley region, including hydroelectric power generation, flood control, and agricultural improvement.

The European Union (EU): While not a technocracy in the strict sense, the European Union operates as a supranational entity with elements of technocratic decision-making. The EU institutions, such as the European Commission, consist of appointed officials who play a significant role in formulating and implementing policies across a range of areas, including trade, competition, agriculture, and environmental regulation. These officials often possess specialized knowledge and expertise in their respective fields and are guided by principles of rationality, efficiency, and evidence-based policymaking.

Theocracy

Theocracy refers to a type of government in which a specific religious ideology informs the leadership, laws, and customs of a nation. In many instances, there will be little to no distinction between scriptural laws and legal codes. Likewise, religious clergy will typically occupy roles of leadership, and in some instances, the highest office in the nation. Because religious law usually extends from writings and traditions that are many centuries old, and therefore impose practices that may not conform with present-day standards of ethical justice or constitutional law, theocracies frequently run afoul of organizations and agencies advocating for global human rights.

Real-World Example

Iran is perhaps the most important and powerful theocratic state in the world today. Since the 1979 Islamic student revolution toppled the Iranian monarchy, the ayatollahs have ruled the country. Here, a “supreme leader” serves as head of state and delegates authority to other religious leaders. In Iran, the elected president is subservient to this supreme Islamic scholar. Likewise, while Iran has developed some dimensions of modern legal code, judiciary system, and administrative process, all of these must first be based on Islamic criteria. In essence, the Sharia — the primary legal doctrine of the Islamic faith — is the primary legal doctrine for the nation of Iran.

Totalitarianism

Totalitarianism is an authoritarian form of government in which the ruling party recognizes no limitations whatsoever on its power, either in the public life or private rights of its citizens. Power is often vested in the hands of a single figure, an authority around whom significant propaganda is built as a way of extending and retaining uncontested authority. Totalitarian states often employ widespread surveillance, control over mass media, intimidating demonstrations of paramilitary or police power, and suppression — usually violent — of protest, activism, or political opposition.

Real-World Example

Though North Korea identifies itself as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, this is truly the clearest example of a totalitarian dictatorship in the modern world. Kim Jong-un rules with singular and unchallenged authority, commanding over his public without political opposition. With absolute control over the state-run media, an enormous military apparatus at his disposal, and an endless cycle of propaganda and misinformation helping to sustain his power, Kim Jong-un rules his state in a vacuum from world affairs. Criticism of the supreme leader or protest of his policies is a crime punishable by death, as are countless other crimes for which due process is not required. North Korea’s propensity toward human rights violations is said to be unparalleled in the modern world. 

Tribalism

Tribalism refers to a form of governance in which there is an absence of central authority and was, instead, various regional tribes lay claim to different territories, resources, or domains. In this system, trade, commerce, and war may occur between different tribes without the involvement or oversight of a unifying structure. This was a particularly common way of life in the premodern world, where different families and clans would establish a set of common rules and rituals specific to their community. While many tribes have forms of internal leadership — from councils and chiefdoms to warlords and patriarchs — tribes are also distinct for having relatively limited role differentiation or role stratification within. In some regards, this can make the customs internal to some tribes particularly egalitarian. That said, tribalism as a way of life has been threatened, and in many parts of the world extinguished, by modernity, development, and the imposition of outside authority.

Real-World Example

Afghanistan is a nation naturally predisposed to tribalism. Centuries of interference from outside invaders — the Soviet Union and the United States chief among them — have created an ongoing state of disarray for the central government of Afghanistan. This — combined with sprawling and treacherous geography — reduced Afghanistan to a state of regional tribes. In many instances, the authority of local warlords, drug cartels, or Islamic clergy takes on far more immediate importance than the authority of a central government. Today, the tribal dynamics that permeate Afghanistan represent a more direct influence on the lives of local populations than any international or federal ruling structure. 

Unitary

A unitary political system is a system of government in which all political power and authority is concentrated at the national or central level, with subnational units such as regions, states, or provinces deriving their powers from the central government. In a unitary state, the central government has the authority to create, alter, or abolish subnational units and their administrative structures, and it can also delegate powers to them as it sees fit.

The central government holds supreme authority and sovereignty over the entire territory of the state. It exercises legislative, executive, and judicial powers and can enact laws, implement policies, and enforce decisions uniformly across the country.

While unitary states may have subnational divisions such as regions or provinces, these entities derive their powers from the central government and do not possess inherent sovereignty. Subnational units may have administrative responsibilities delegated to them by the central government, but they remain subordinate to and ultimately subject to the authority of the national government.

Example of “Unitary” from history

Ancient Egypt: Ancient Egypt is often cited as an early example of a unitary political system. Throughout much of its history, Egypt was ruled by a centralized government with the pharaoh at its head. The pharaoh wielded absolute authority over the entire kingdom, with administrative power emanating from the capital city of Memphis (and later Thebes). Local governors, known as nomarchs, were appointed by the pharaoh to oversee specific regions, but they operated under the direct control of the central government.

Imperial China: The imperial dynasties of China, such as the Qin, Han, Tang, and Ming dynasties, implemented unitary systems of governance characterized by a centralized bureaucracy and a strong imperial authority. The emperor, regarded as the “Son of Heaven,” exercised supreme authority over the entire empire, with provincial and local officials appointed by the central government to administer specific regions. China’s unitary system endured for millennia, with variations in administrative structures and policies over different dynastic periods.

Meiji Japan: In the late 19th century, Japan underwent a period of rapid modernization and centralization under the Meiji Restoration. The Meiji government abolished the feudal system of domains (han) and established a unitary system of governance centered around the emperor in Tokyo. Prefectures were created as administrative divisions of the central government, with governors appointed by the Meiji authorities to oversee local administration. This centralization helped facilitate Japan’s transformation into a modern industrialized nation-state.

Utopia

The term “Utopia” refers to an imagined ideal or perfect society, often portrayed in literature or philosophy as a blueprint for an ideal political system or social order. The concept of Utopia has been explored by numerous thinkers throughout history, each offering their own vision of an ideal society based on principles of justice, equality, and harmony.

Utopian societies typically prioritize principles of equality, justice, and fairness, ensuring that all members of the community are treated with dignity and respect. This may involve the abolition of social hierarchies, the equitable distribution of resources, and the protection of individual rights and freedoms.

Utopian visions often advocate for collective ownership of property and the means of production, as well as cooperative forms of economic organization. In these societies, wealth and resources are shared communally, and cooperation among members is valued over competition and individual accumulation.

Many Utopian societies envision democratic forms of governance where decision-making power is decentralized and participatory. Citizens may have a direct voice in the political process through mechanisms such as town hall meetings, consensus-based decision-making, or electronic voting systems.

Utopian visions often prioritize environmental sustainability and stewardship of natural resources. These societies seek to live in harmony with nature, minimizing ecological impact and preserving the environment for future generations.

Utopian societies may place a strong emphasis on education, intellectual development, and the pursuit of knowledge. Education is seen as a means of empowering individuals, fostering critical thinking, and promoting cultural and scientific advancement.

Example of “Utopia” from history

The Israeli Kibbutz Movement: The kibbutz movement in Israel emerged in the early 20th century as a form of communal settlement based on principles of collective ownership, shared labor, and social equality. Kibbutzim were agricultural communities where members lived and worked together, pooling resources and sharing responsibilities. While the kibbutz movement has evolved over time and become more diverse in its organizational structures and economic activities, it continues to embody elements of utopian ideals related to collective living and cooperation.

The Shakers: The Shakers were a religious sect that emerged in 18th-century England and later established communities in the United States, particularly in the Northeast. The Shakers advocated for communal living, celibacy, gender equality, pacifism, and simplicity. Their communities, known as “Shaker villages,” practiced collective ownership of property, shared labor, and a focus on spiritual worship and craftsmanship. While the Shakers never achieved widespread adoption or lasting influence, their communities were admired for their social cohesion, craftsmanship, and dedication to communal living.

What types of government is the US

The United States is a federal presidential constitutional republic. This means that power is divided between the national (federal) government and the individual state governments, and that there is a separation of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government. The President of the United States serves as both the head of state and the head of government, and is elected through a system of indirect elections known as the Electoral College.

James Madison was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and the fourth President of the United States, serving from 1809 to 1817. He is often referred to as the “Father of the Constitution” due to his significant role in drafting and promoting the United States Constitution. Madison was born in 1751 in Virginia and attended what is now known as Princeton University. He was a member of the Virginia state legislature and served in the Continental Congress before becoming a key figure in the drafting of the Constitution. Madison was also a strong advocate for a strong federal government and helped to create the system of checks and balances between the branches of government. During his presidency, he oversaw the end of the War of 1812 and the acquisition of Florida from Spain. Madison is widely considered one of the most important and influential figures in American history, particularly in the development of the American political system.

The branches of government in the United States are:

  1. The Legislative Branch: This branch is responsible for making laws. It consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives, together known as the United States Congress.
  2. The Executive Branch: This branch is responsible for enforcing laws. It consists of the President, Vice President, and the Cabinet.
  3. The Judicial Branch: This branch is responsible for interpreting laws and ensuring that they are constitutional. It consists of the Supreme Court and other federal courts.

The separation of powers among these branches is a fundamental principle of the U.S. government, designed to prevent any one branch from becoming too powerful and to ensure that each branch has a distinct role and responsibility in governing the country primarily by following a Supreme law.

The best and the worst political system

Some countries may prioritize individual freedoms and democracy, while others may prioritize stability and order. The best political system is one that effectively addresses the needs and values of its citizens while promoting the common good. It should be based on the principles of fairness, justice, and equality, and should provide opportunities for social and economic advancement for all members of society. Ultimately, the best political system is one that achieves these goals while minimizing the negative impact of power imbalances, corruption, and other forms of injustice. The most popular these days is system of Democracy, altought many people says that a Democracy is the worst because it turns from real Democratic system into a hidden Totalitarism system leading by populism enabled by support commercial organisations. 

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