Amazing Kids! Magazine

Word Booster – Types of Government

By Ryan Traynor, Assistant Editor


Since this issue is about government and laws, I think it is important to understand the differences between types of governments. After I completed my research, I realized there are several ways to categorize types of government.

One way is to look at the economy and how goods are bought, sold and used. Using this approach we can segment governments into capitalism, socialism, and communism. Capitalism is where people own their own businesses and property and must buy services for private use. Socialism is where the government owns many of the larger industries and provides education, health and welfare services while allowing citizens some economic choices. Communism is where the government owns all businesses and provides its people’s healthcare, education, and welfare.

Another way to look at types of government is to look at who picks the government. Revolutionary is where the existing structure is overthrown by a completely new group. Totalitarian is when the country is ruled by a single political party. Voting for alternative candidates is not allowed. Citizens are allowed to vote, but only for the government’s chosen candidates. Aristocracy/Oligarchy/Plutocracy is a form of government which consists of rule by an elite group who rule in their own interests. Only certain members of society have a valid voice in the government. Finally, a democracy is where the government is elected by the people.

The most common way of describing the types of government is by how the government is run. By looking at the rulers, the government can be classified into these various categories:

Anarchy (noun) – no functioning government usually while the country is in the midst of a war or civil unrest. Each individual has absolute liberty.

Dictatorship (noun) – a ruler or small clique wields absolute power.

Monarchy (noun) – a supreme power sits with an individual who is the head of state, often for life or until resignation.

Theocracy (noun) – a god is recognized as the state’s supreme civil ruler and a church sponsored leader or leaders will rule.

Totalitarian (noun) – ruled by a single political party where citizens must vote for the government’s candidates. The individual is subordinated to the state by controlling all politics, economic policies, attitudes, values, and beliefs of the population.

Parliamentary (noun) – led by representatives of the people. Each is chosen as a member of a political party and remains in power as long as his/her party does.

Republic (noun) – led by representatives of the voters. Each is individually chosen for a set period of time.

I hope this helps you better understand the government of your country and other countries.