Types of Government

Ways of running a country used throughout history

Overview

There are 6 main types of government: democracy, republic, dictatorship, totalitarian, theocracy, and monarchy. Each of these present a unique way of running a country.

Democracy

This type of government gives power to the people. The word "democracy" comes from the Greek word "demoskratia". This literally means "the people power". In democracy, everyone is equal and has a say in what they do. In 6th century B.C., Athens became the first government to use democracy in the world. Modern day Athens is the capital of Greece.
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Republic

A republic is a form of government where the people elect representatives to make decisions. The word "republic" comes from the Latin word "respublica". This means "entity or concern of the people". The first republic was San Marino which declared independence from Rome and established its republican government in 301 A.D. San Marino is a very small country located in northern Italy. It remains a republic to this day.
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Dictatorship

Dictatorship's have one ruler with absolute power over the country and government. The dictator is usually not voted for or approved by the people. The first form of dictatorship began in Rome 510 B.C. Normally Rome was a republic, with two consuls and the senate ruling. The senate decided that during an emergency it would be necessary to appoint a dictator to make decisions. Most often one of the consuls became this dictator. Some dictators in history include Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, and many others.
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Totalitarian

In a totalitarian government, every single aspect of public and private life are managed by one party of the state. Dictatorships commonly fall under the category of a totalitarian government. Today, an example of a totalitarian country is North Korea.
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Theocracy

Theocracies are governments where a religious leader rules the state. The word "theocracy" comes from the Greek word "theokratia", which means "god rules". There are only 2 theocracies in the modern world including Iran and Vatican City.

Monarchy

In a monarchy one person has absolute power until death. After death, one of the monarch's relatives takes power. This power is passed down the family line. Some countries that are currently monarchies include Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and a few others.
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