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The 6 forms of government that govern our social and political life

The 6 forms of government that govern our social and political life

December 3, 2022

The human being is made to live in society, that is, to associate with others to reach ends collectively. However, in practice these interactions do not always benefit all parties involved in the same way. There are norms and laws that can tip the scales of justice towards the position of some people , arbitrarily privileged, who use their power to impose their will on others.

On a day-to-day basis, these loopholes through which certain particular interests creep into the political agenda of a country or region are evidenced by the fact that we still do not know a political system that, applied here and now, creates conditions of democracy absolute and pure. Instead of that there are different forms of government , each one with its particulars, with its strengths and weaknesses.

Next we will see how these forms of government are and how they influence our lives and our way of conceiving social life.

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The importance of political systems

Practically since the civilizations exist, there are also the sets of rules and norms that govern the behavior of their citizens. The Hammurabi code, for example, is a compilation of laws and norms that is more than 3000 years old, created under the mandate of the Babylonian king Hammurabi, is an example of this.

The reason for this is that cities and civilizations in general are social systems that, going beyond the size of a tribe, are so large and complex that they need a series of rules so that it maintains a certain stability and harmony . These rules can be applied to all kinds of actions and relationships: from commerce to how families should be formed, or even if they are obliged to attend rituals or not.

But with the excuse of preserving the welfare of a civilization, it is very easy to create situations in which a minority has much more power than other people. To exemplify this we can see the difference between democracy and autocracy .

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Two poles that allow us to understand the types of government

As we will see, there are several forms of government, each of which can be understood as an entity completely differentiated from the rest, that is, as if each form of government were governed by its own norms and were a hermetic category in which all his pieces form a unique set.

However, it is also possible to establish a continuum between two poles that allows distributing these political systems in a distribution that goes from the maximum possible democracy to the minimum level of democracy. This can be useful for remember certain basic characteristics of these forms of power .

Thus, this continuum is established between democratic forms of government and autocratic forms of government.

What is autocracy?

Autocracy is a political system in which all power is held by a person or entity. Etymological comes from the Greek word autokrateia, in which "autos" means "oneself" and "krateia", power.

In these forms of government all decisions and evaluations of the results of a political strategy are made not by the population, but by a person or small group of people who hold all the power without anyone else being able to discuss or regulate these actions.

Autocracy can be divided into totalitarian regimes and authoritarian regimes. The first are those in which the State has a power of absolute control over everything that happens at a political level in the region, while in the totalitarian the existence of a limited variety of political parties is allowed (only those whose fundamental ideas do not clash with the interests of the elite).

What is democracy?

This term also comes from the Greek, although in this case instead of "autos" the word "demos" is used, which means "people". This is, in this form of government, unlike the autocracy, all the inhabitants of the area that constitutes sovereign subject are able to participate equally in political life to .

However, in practice, the debate about what kind of concrete political system generates the purest conditions of democracy is not clear, as we shall see.

The forms of government

Going more in detail, the forms of government can be classified into the following categories .

1. Parliamentary republic

The republic is a form of government based on the principle of popular sovereignty, which has no exceptions.As part of the republican ideas, it assumes that all people are born equal before the law and that there are no hereditary rights that can break that.

The parliamentary republic, for example, besides not having the figure of a king or queen, is based on a parliamentary system in which there is a distinction between Head of State and Head of Government . In this way, a clear difference is established between the legislative branch and the executive branch.

2. Presidential Republic

In the presidential republic there is no king or queen and there is also a parliament. However, in this case, the head of state is elected directly by the voters, and not by the members of the congress or parliament, and also acts as Head of Government, the legislative and executive powers are relatively united .

3. One-party republic

The form of government of the one-party republic is based on the existence of a single political party capable of gaining power and, at the same time, in the celebration of elections in which you can vote or in which the whole world can be presented (as independent). The democratic character of this system is questioned, although at the same time it does not fit exactly with the concept of dictatorship, since in the latter there are no or very limited elections.

4, Parliamentary monarchy

In this form of government there is a king or queen who acts as Head of State, but his power is very limited by both the legislative power and the executive power. In many countries, the kind of parliamentary monarchy thate is used confers to the monarch a purely symbolic role , created primarily to give an image of unity or to act in cases of national emergency.

5. Absolute monarchy

In absolute monarchies the king or queen has absolute or almost absolute power to impose his will on the rest of the citizens. All the tools of imposition of norms created to regulate social life they are located under the monarch's power , that you can modify them and do not submit to their control.

Traditionally, absolute monarchies have been legitimized under the idea that the king or queen are chosen by divine forces to guide the people.

6. Dictatorship

In dictatorships there is the figure of a dictator, who has total control over what happens in the region, and who normally shows this power through the use of violence and weapons. In a certain sense, dictatorship is the form of government in which someone has the ability to run the country just as a single person could run their house.

In addition, contrary to what happens in absolute monarchy, no attempt is made to maintain a positive public image before citizens, simply send them over using terror and threats through rules based on punishment .

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NCERT Class 6 Political Science / Polity / Civics Chapter 3: What is Government? (December 2022).

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