Any form of government in which political power is exercised by all citizens, either directly or through their elected representatives.

There are two kinds of Democracies…

Direct Democracy

All citizens participate in government.

There are no representatives in government: The citizens vote on everything!

All citizens can create public policy if they want to.

Example: In ancient Athens, Greece, they held assemblies where citizens voted to pass laws.

Representative Democracy

Like direct democracy, all citizens participate in government

People elect representatives who vote on laws for the citizens

Representatives answer to the people through regular elections

Representatives are also usually held accountable by a constitution


A form of government in which political power is controlled by one individual such as a monarch, dictator, emperor, etc.


Rule by kings, queens, princes, and princesses… sometimes by other names, but always MONARCHS!

Leaders usually gain their power because their parents were rulers too.

Some modern monarchies like Spain and Japan have constitutions.


In a dictatorship, power is not inherited, but is acquired by force (military or political)

Dictators have absolute control over the lives of their citizens and usually people are not allowed to voice their negative opinions

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Il is considered a dictator


“Rule by few”

Power can be based on several things: Military strength = Military Junta, Family power = Aristocracy, Religious control = Theocratic Oligarchy

Oligarchies can often come from or lead to other forms of government (like autocracies)


“Theo” means “god” in Greek… so if a government is THEO-cratic that means it is ruled by… That’s right! A god or higher power!

Leaders (autocratic or oligarchic) are usually religious leaders and society uses religious law to settle its disputes

Example: The Islamic Republic of Iran is a modern theocracy that uses the holy Islamic book, The Qur’an, as its guide.


No government at all…

In an anarchy there is no government to make or enforce laws.

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