16 Types Of Government You Need to Know

In this article, I’ll be discussing with you the types of government that are found around the world.

When it comes to politics citizens are always mouthy and debating.

Some protest and try to mount pressure on the government when the system and certain implemented laws are not favourable.

Government evolves as years and decades run out which may course some changes to its basics and forms.

Notwithstanding all the dramas and debates we put out, the term “government” isn’t as simple as it sounds.

But by breaking it down into its types and forms it’ll be more simple for you to understand it.

Stay glued because I’m about to list and as well explain the types of government that you’ll come across as you progress.

But before we proceed let’s dive into other related topics to government.

This will guide you to understand this article more.

What is Government?

A government is a group of people that have the power to rule in a territory, according to the administrative 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.

The term government describes the means by which a society organizes itself and allocates authority in order to accomplish collective goals and provide benefits that the society as a whole needs.

A government is also the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state.

What are the Arms of Government?

One of the features of federalism is separation of powers.

However, separation of powers postulates that political powers should to be shared between the arms of the government.

For example the federal government of Nigeria is subdivided into three distinctive arms which are:

  • The legislative
  • The executive
  • And the judicial

Types of Government

Most societies agree that the existence of government is morally justified.

What they disagree about is the purpose of government and its scope.

As a result, societies create different government structures based on their political ideology of what a government should do.

This activity examines different types of government.

When it comes to types of government, six specific types come to the forefront.

But below are the basic and most common types of government.

Read This: Subject For Mass Communication in WAEC and JAMB

  1. Authoritarian
  2. Democracy
  3. Monarchy
  4. Oligarchy
  5. Totalitarian
  6. Anarchy
  7. Aristocracy
  8. Dictatorship
  9. Federalism
  10. Republicanism
  11. Theocracy
  12. Capitalism
  13. Communism
  14. Socialism
  15. Fascism
  16. Tribalism

1. Authoritarian

This is the type of government that is characterized by the rejection of political plurality.

It is the use of a strong central power to preserve the political status quo, and reductions in the rule of law, separation of powers, and democratic voting.

However, it can also be described as the favouring or enforcing of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom.

An example is Ethiopia under Haile Selassie I.

Bureaucratic-military authoritarian regimes are those “governed by a coalition of military officers and technocrats who act pragmatically within the limits of their bureaucratic mentality”.

2. Democracy

Democracy is a form of government that allows the people to choose leadership.

The primary goal is to govern through fair representation and prevent abuses of power.

The result is a system that requires discourse, debate, and compromise to satisfy the broadest possible number of public interests, leading to majority rule.

This type of government advocate for fair and free elections, civic participation, human rights protections, and law and order.

However, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th U.S. President defined democracy as the “Government of the people, by the people, for the people”.

Democracy is the most common type of government.

Ice-land is the country with real example of democracy.

The county founded its republic in 1944 and has since risen to become one of the world’s highest-ranked democracies through systems of social welfare, universal health care, and tertiary education.

3. Monarchy

A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch, is head of state for life or until abdication.

The political legitimacy and authority of the monarch may vary from restricted and largely symbolic, to fully autocratic, and can expand across the domains of the executive, legislative, and judicial.

However, there are two types of monarchies: constitutional and absolute.

Constitutional monarchies limit the monarch’s power as outlined in a constitution, while absolute monarchies give a monarch unlimited power.

Today, 45 nations have some form of monarchy, though the concept has been diluted with the evolution of democratic principles.

In the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II‘s role as a monarch is largely symbolic.

But other countries that practice monarchy includes: Morocco, Oman, and Saudia Arabia, still have far-reaching political authority.

4. Oligarchy

Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power rests with a small number of people.

These people may or may not be distinguished by one or several characteristics, such as nobility, fame, wealth, education, corporate, religious, political, or military control.

However, it is a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes.

5. Totalitarianism

Totalitarianism is a concept for a form of government or political system that prohibits opposition parties, restricts individual opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life.

In this type of government a single figure often holds power and maintains authority.

Through widespread surveillance, control over mass media, intimidating demonstrations of paramilitary or police power, and suppression of protest, activism, or political opposition.

Although North Korea labels itself as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, it acts as a totalitarian state. 

6. Anarchy

Anarchy is a freely constituted societies without authorities or a governing body.

It may also refer to a society or group of people that entirely rejects a set hierarchy.

Anarchy was first used in 1539, meaning “an absence of government”.

 Many times, anarchy will take center stage when a government collapses.

A few historical examples include Albania in 1997 and Germany after the first world war.

7. Aristocracy

Aristocracy is a form of government that places strength in the hands of a small, privileged ruling class, the aristocrats.

The term derives from the Greek aristokratia, meaning ‘rule of the best’.

To remember aristocracy, think aristocrat. In an aristocracy, the wealthy or noble hold the power.

 An example of an aristocracy is Britain’s Royal family.

8. Dictatorship

A dictatorship is a form of government characterized by a single leader or group of leaders and little or no toleration for political pluralism or independent media.

Typically, a dictatorship goes hand-in-hand with an authoritarian and totalitarian government. In this government form, a dictator rules.

Famous examples include Joseph Stalin’s rule of the Soviet Union and Saddam Hussein’s rule of Iraq.

North Korea falls into this list as well.

9. Federalism

Federalism is a mixed or compound mode of government that combines a general government with regional governments in a single political system.

Its distinctive feature, first embodied in the Constitution of the United States of 1789, is a relationship of parity between the two levels of government established.

However, not only does the government have central power, but local states or regions also have their own specific powers.

10. Republicanism

Republicanism is the idea in which elected leaders represent the interests of the people.

Historically, it ranges from the rule of a representative minority or oligarchy to popular sovereignty.

When something is a true republic as in republicanism, it means the citizens have the power.

They have the voting power and the power to make changes in their government.

11. Theocracy

Theocracy is a form of government in which a deity of some type is recognized as the supreme ruling authority, giving divine guidance to human intermediaries that manage the day-to-day affairs of the government

However, it is a system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or a god.

Iran is perhaps the most important and powerful theocratic state in the world today.

The ayatollahs — Shiite religious leaders — rule the country.

Among them is a “supreme leader” who serves as head of state, delegates authority to other religious leaders, and presides over the elected president.

Theocracy Countries includes:

  • Vatican City.
  • Yemen.
  • Saudi Arabia.
  • Sudan.
  • Iran.
  • Mauritania.
  • Afghanistan.

12. Capitalism

Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit.

Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, a price system, private property and the recognition of property rights, voluntary exchange and wage labor.

In capitalism, the government doesn’t run the economy; instead, private-ownership corporations and businesses do.

13. Communism

Communism is a philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of a communist society.

Namely a socioeconomic order structured upon the ideas of common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.

However, this a a theory or system of social organization in which all property is owned by the community and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs.

14. Socialism

Socialism is a political, social, and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production.

It includes the political theories and movements associated with such systems.

 However, while communism uses violence to achieve its aims, socialism places emphasis on making small changes through reforms and laws.

Read: List of Social Science Subjects and their Median Salary.

15. Fascism

Fascism is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and of the economy, which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe.

Fascism is a system of government led by a dictator who typically rules by forcefully and often violently suppressing opposition and criticism, controlling all industry and commerce, and promoting nationalism and often racism.

16. Tribalism

Indigenous tribes around the globe use a form of government called tribalism.

In this form of government, you follow the dictates and rules of your tribe, which is made of specific people, groups, or those with the same ideals.

There can be a council of elders making decisions, but not always. 


I trust you now know the types of government?

If so, please kindly drop your honest thoughts in the comment box below.

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