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Types of Governments. Questions to think about: What types of government do you know about? What types do you think work best? Why? Does it really matter.

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Presentation on theme: "Types of Governments. Questions to think about: What types of government do you know about? What types do you think work best? Why? Does it really matter."— Presentation transcript:

1 Types of Governments

2 Questions to think about: What types of government do you know about? What types do you think work best? Why? Does it really matter what form of government a country has? How does the form of government impact its citizens?

3 What is government? The ruling authority for a community The institution through which society makes and enforces its public policies

4 Classifying Governments No two governments are or ever have been exactly alike. Governments can be classifies according to their features: –Who holds the power? –Where is the power located geographically? –What is the relationship between the legislative and executive branches?

5 Who Holds the Power? The most important question to many people 3 basic forms: 1.Unitary 2.Oligarchy 3.Democracy

6 1. Unitary (or autocracy) One person holds the power Oldest and most common Usually holds power by inheritance or force Totalitarian dictatorship: government controls all aspects of life; citizens lack power to limit government’s power (Hitler’s Nazi Germany) Monarchy: king, queen or emperor exercises supreme power; usually inherited Absolute monarchy: unlimited power (Saudi Arabia) Constitutional monarchy: share power with elected legislatures or serve only as a ceremonial leader (Great Britain, Japan)

7 2. Oligarchy A small elite group holds power Power derived from wealth, military power, social position or a combination Usually suppress political opposition Ex: China Theocracy: a form of oligarchy where the rulers claim to be ruling on behalf of religious ideas or power (Iran)

8 3. Democracy The people hold sovereign power Greek: “demos”= the people, “kratia”= rule Direct democracy: people govern themselves by voting on issues individually as citizens (cantons or states of Switzerland) Representative democracy (or republic): people elect representatives to make laws and conduct government (U.S.) Not every democracy is a republic (Great Britain)

9 Where is power located? Governments can also be classified according to how power is distributed geographically. 3 forms: 1.Unitary 2.Confederal 3.Federal

10 1. Unitary (Centralized) All powers held by the government belong to a single, central agency (the central or federal government) Most common form of geographic distribution May be local governments (state, city, county) but they are created by the central government and only have the powers the central government gives them Ex. Great Britain (all power centered in national capital of London) Don’t confuse with other unitary (autocracy)

11 2. Confederal (Confederate) An alliance of independent states Central government has little power and only handles matters states assign to it Rare form of government Ex: U.S. under the Articles of Confederation, Confederate States of American during the Civil War, European Union (EU)

12 3. Federal Powers of government are divided between a central government and several local governments An authority (like a constitution) superior to the central and local governments makes the division of power Examples: –Canada, Mexico, Germany, Australia –United States- the Constitution divides power between the federal (national) and state governments; however, the relationship between the state governments and local (city, county) governments is unitary!

13 Relationship between Legislative and Executive Branches Governments may be classified according to the relationship between the lawmaking and law enforcing branches of government Two basic forms: 1.Presidential 2.Parliamentary

14 1. Presidential 2 branches are separate, independent and coequal Branches have power to check the power of each other Chief executive is chosen independently of the legislative branch Invented by the United States

15 2. Parliamentary The executive is made up of the prime minister or premier and that official’s cabinet Prime minister and cabinet are members of and chosen by the legislature (parliament) Most widely used of the two forms Ex: Great Britain, Canada, Japan


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