What are Forms of Government

The Forms of Government consist of the governance policy adopted in the organization of nations.

This is a complex issue that changes over the years as states expand regimes and systems in line with social trends.

The first scholar to ponder the complexity of government was Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC) – a Greek philosopher who devoted himself to Metaphysics, Ethics, and the State, and in his book Politics analyzes political regimes as well as their forms.

According to Aristotle

Aristotle describes government with criteria of justice and objectives that aim at the common good. Thus, it classifies forms of government by the number and power given to the ruler (s).

According to Aristotle, the following forms of government were legitimate, pure – because they aimed at the common interest -:

  • Monarchy – King has supreme power
  • Aristocracy – Some Nobles Hold Power
  • Democracy or Polytheia – People have political control

In turn, they were illegitimate – because they were self-serving – the following forms that misrepresented the philosopher’s conception of government – the so-called legitimate forms cited above – thus corrupting their political essence:

  • Tyranny – Supreme Power Corruptedly Obtained
  • Oligarchy – Power held by an unjustly exercising group
  • Demagogy or Olocracy – Power exercised by popular factions

After Aristotle many other studies addressed this subject, resulting in different forms of government, such as those Machiavelli considered: Republic and Principality.

Monarchy and Republic

Monarchy and Republic are the two predominant forms of government today.

In the monarchy power is exercised by the king, who is succeeded by descent. In this form of government there is no time limit, so its ruler – the monarch – holds office until his death or abdication.

The Monarchy can be Absolute or Constitutional. In the first, power is unlimited, absolute as its denomination suggests.

As for the Constitutional Monarchy – also called the Parliamentary Monarchy – the government is exercised by the office of Prime Minister.

With regard to the Republic, power is exercised by a president – in the case of presidentialism – or prime minister – in the case of Parliamentarism – elected through direct (directly by popular vote) or indirect (by representatives chosen by the people, who make up the so-called electoral college). Both the functions of the president and the prime minister are performed for a specified period.

Presidentialism and Parliamentarism

Presidentialism and Parliamentarism are the main types of democracy.

In Presidentialism the president has executive powers and holds the positions of Head of State (representing the nation at an international level) and Head of Government (administrating the nation internally).

In Parliamentarism, in turn, the Head of Government is called Prime Minister, however the powers are in the hands of Parliamentarians (deputies).

Around the world

The study and reflection on this subject has expanded it, so that different political regimes and systems are now being adopted around the world. Let’s see:

  • Saudi Arabia – Absolute Monarchy – Theocracy
  • China – People’s Republic
  • United States of America – Presidential Republic
  • Japan – Constitutional Monarchy
  • Libya – Parliamentary Republic
  • United Kingdom – Constitutional Monarchy

In Brazil

Between 1882 and 1889 Brazil went through the monarchical period. Subsequently, with the coup of 15 November 1889, the current form of government is the Presidential Republic.

Between 1961 and 1963 the form of government in our country was Parliamentarism.

On November 15th is remembered the historical date of the proclamation of the republic in our country, whose first president was Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca.