A government is a group of people that have the power to rule in a territory, according to the law. This territory may be a country, a state or province within a country, or a region.

  • Governments make laws, rules, and regulations, collect taxes and print money.
  • Governments have systems of justice that list the acts or activities that are against the law and describe the punishments for breaking the law.
  • Governments have a police force to make sure people follow the laws.
  • Governments have diplomats who communicate with the governments of other countries by having meetings. Diplomats try to solve problems or disagreements between two countries, which can help countries to avoid war, make commercial agreements, and exchange cultural or social experiences and knowledge.
  • Governments have a military force such as an army that protects the country from terrorists and other major threats that attack or which can be used to attack and invade other countries.
  • The leader of a government and his or her advisors are called the administration.

Types of governments

Plato listed five kinds of government in The Republic:


The most common type of government in the Western world is called democracy. In democracies, people in a country can vote during elections for representatives or political parties that they prefer. The people in democracies can elect representatives who will sit on legislatures such as the Parliament or Congress. Political parties are organizations of people with similar ideas about how a country or region should be governed. Different political parties have different ideas about how the government should handle different problems. Democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people.

However, many countries have forms of democracy which limit freedom of choice by the voters. One of the most common ways is to limit which parties who can for parliament, or limit the parties access to mass media such as television. Another way is to rig the voting system by removing votes from opposition voters and substituting votes for the party in power. Few countries are textbook democracies, and the differences between them has been much studied.[1][2][3]


A monarchy is a government ruled by a king or a queen who inherits their position from their family, which is often called the "royal family." There are two types of monarchies: absolute monarchies and constitutional monarchies. In an absolute monarchy, the ruler has no limits on their wishes or powers. In a constitutional monarchy a ruler's powers are limited by a document called a constitution.

In modern times, monarchies still exist in Great Britain and the Commonwealth, the Netherlands, Spain, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand, along with several other countries. A monarch may have one of several titles: King or Queen, Emperor or Empress, or Emir.


An aristocracy is a government by the "best" people, usually people who come from wealthy families, families with a particular set of values, or people who come from a particular place. A person who rules in an aristocracy is an aristocrat. Aristocracy is different from nobility, in that nobility means that one bloodline would rule, an aristocracy would mean that a few or many bloodlines would rule, or that rulers be chosen in a different manner.


Under a dictatorship, the government is run by one person who has all the power over the people in a country. Originally, the Roman Republic made dictators to lead during time of war. The Roman dictators (and Greek tyrants) were not always cruel or unkind, but they did hold on to power all by themselves, rather than sharing power with the people. The Roman dictators only held power for a short period of time.

In modern times, a dictator's rule is not stopped by any laws, constitutions, or other social and political institutions, and can last many years or even decades. After World War II, many governments in Latin America, Asia, and Africa were ruled by dictators. Examples of dictators include Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Augusto Pinochet, Idi Amin, Muammar al-Qaddafi, and Gamal Abdul Nasser. The rules of these dictators continued from when they took power until when they died, because they would not allow any other person or law to take power from them. There is no evidence of a woman serving as a dictator in modern times.


An oligarchy is a government ruled by a small group of powerful people. These people may spread power equally or not equally. An oligarchy is different from a true democracy because very few people are given the chance to change things. An oligarchy does not have to be hereditary or passed down from father to son. An oligarchy does not have one clear ruler, but several powerful people. Some past examples of oligarchy are the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Apartheid South Africa. A fictional example is the dystopian society of Oceania in the book Nineteen Eighty-Four. Some critics of representative democracy think of the United States as an oligarchy. This view is shared by anarchists.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Regering
Alemannisch: Regierung
አማርኛ: መንግሥት
العربية: حكومة
aragonés: Gubierno
armãneashti: Chivernisi
asturianu: Gobiernu
azərbaycanca: Hökumət
تۆرکجه: حؤکومت
বাংলা: সরকার
Bân-lâm-gú: Chèng-hú
Basa Banyumasan: Pemerentahan
башҡортса: Хөкүмәт
беларуская: Урад
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Урад
български: Правителство
bosanski: Vlada
brezhoneg: Gouarnamant
буряад: Засаглал
català: Govern
Cebuano: Kagamhanan
čeština: Státní moc
Chamoru: Gobietnu
Chi-Chewa: Boma
Cymraeg: Llywodraeth
dansk: Regering
davvisámegiella: Ráđđehus
Deutsch: Regierung
eesti: Valitsus
Ελληνικά: Κυβέρνηση
English: Government
español: Gobierno
Esperanto: Registaro
estremeñu: Goviernu
euskara: Gobernu
فارسی: حکومت
Fiji Hindi: Sarkar
français: Gouvernement
Frysk: Regear
Gaeilge: Rialtas
Gaelg: Reiltys
Gàidhlig: Riaghaltas
galego: Goberno
한국어: 정부
Hawaiʻi: Aupuni
हिन्दी: सरकार
hrvatski: Vlada
Ilokano: Gobierno
Bahasa Indonesia: Pemerintah
interlingua: Governamento
Interlingue: Guvernament
íslenska: Ríkisstjórn
italiano: Governo
עברית: ממשלה
Basa Jawa: Pamaréntah
kalaallisut: Naalakkersueriaaseq
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಸರಕಾರ
къарачай-малкъар: Правительство
ქართული: მთავრობა
қазақша: Үкімет
Kiswahili: Serikali
Kreyòl ayisyen: Gouvènman
Кыргызча: Өкмөт
Latina: Rectio
latviešu: Valdība
Lëtzebuergesch: Regierung
lietuvių: Vyriausybė
lingála: Guvɛnɛmá
lumbaart: Governo
मैथिली: सरकार
македонски: Влада
Malagasy: Governemanta
മലയാളം: ഗവൺമെന്റ്
Māori: Kāwanatanga
मराठी: सरकार
მარგალური: თარობა
مصرى: حكومه
Bahasa Melayu: Pemerintahan
Baso Minangkabau: Pamarintahan
Mirandés: Gobierno
монгол: Засаглал
မြန်မာဘာသာ: အစိုးရ
Nederlands: Regering
नेपाली: सरकार
日本語: 政府
norsk: Regjering
norsk nynorsk: Regjering
Nouormand: Gouvèrnément
occitan: Govèrn
Oromoo: Mootummaa
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Hukumat
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਸਰਕਾਰ
پنجابی: سرکار
پښتو: حکومت
Patois: Gobament
ភាសាខ្មែរ: រដ្ឋាភិបាល
Piemontèis: Govern
Tok Pisin: Gavman
português: Governo
română: Guvern
русиньскый: Влада
саха тыла: Дьаhалта
ᱥᱟᱱᱛᱟᱲᱤ: ᱥᱚᱨᱠᱟᱨ
Scots: Govrenment
shqip: Qeveria
sicilianu: Cuvernu
සිංහල: ආණ්ඩුව
سنڌي: حڪومت
slovenščina: Vladavina
کوردی: حکوومەت
српски / srpski: Влада
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Vlada
Basa Sunda: Pamaréntah
suomi: Hallinto
svenska: Regering
Tagalog: Pamahalaan
татарча/tatarça: Xökümät
తెలుగు: ప్రభుత్వం
тоҷикӣ: Ҳукумат
Türkçe: Hükûmet
українська: Уряд
اردو: حکومت
Vahcuengh: Cwngfuj
vèneto: Goerno
Tiếng Việt: Chính phủ
文言: 政府
Winaray: Pamunuan
吴语: 政府
Xitsonga: Hulumendhe
ייִדיש: רעגירונג
Yorùbá: Ìjọba
粵語: 政府
中文: 政府