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A form of government in which power is held by one central authority. It is not distributed, divided, or shared with states. Examples: Cuba, United Kingdom, China, Japan, Egypt


A system of government in which states unite for a specific purpose. There is a central authority but it has little power. The states hold most of the power. Confederations are usually ineffective as a countries government. Examples: Confederation of United States (1700s), The Economic in Europe (problems with currency), OPEC (controls Oil)

Federal (Federation)

A system of government in which power is divided between one central authority and several regional or local authorities (states or provinces). Example: the USA. Power is divided between the 3 branches and its leaders in Washington D.C. with the branches and leaders of each of the governments of the 50 states. In the USA, both the national government and the states collect taxes and make laws. Only the national government can print money and operate post offices. Only states can grant marriage licenses, teaching licenses and divorces. Examples: Mexico, Canada, Germany, India, Ethiopia


A system of government in which one person possesses unlimited power and citizens have little if any role in the
government. The leader is a dictator. People who try to speak out against the government are often silenced. Example: Cuba, North Korea


Another name for an autocratic government in which a ruler has absolute power and does not obey laws or a constitution. Examples: Cuba and Sudan


A system of government which is led by a few people. Sometimes the group in charge takes control for corrupt and selfish purposes. The citizen has a very limited role. Very few exist. Example: China which is ruled by leaders of the communist party


A system of government that is oligarchic. The leaders of the communist political party control the economy and holds the power. The people have few rights. Originally, private ownership of property, political rights, and religion were completely banned. Examples: Today in China, the communist party keeps tight control of the economy, government, and religion. Vietnam and North Korea are also controlled by communists.


A system of government in which power is held by the people who elect the leaders. Citizens have many rights.
Examples: USA, United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Israel, India, Japan

Representative Democracy

A form of democratic government in which the people elect leaders to make laws and carry out policies. Countries are too large and have too many people living in them in order for the government to be a direct democracy where every citizen votes on each decision as was done long ago in ancient Greece. All democratic countries today are representative democracies.

Parliamentary Democracy

A system of democratic government in which the legislature (parliament) selects the government's executive leaders (a prime minister, premier, or chancellor) and the individuals who fill other government positions. In the Parliamentary Democracy, the chief executive is chosen by the legislative branch and can be dismissed by the legislative branch.
Example: United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, Israel

Presidential Democracy

A system of democratic government in which the president is independent of the legislature (called Congress in the USA)The executive branch exists separately from the legislature to which it is not accountable. Example: USA, Mexico, Brazil

Chief of State

includes the name and title of the leader of the country who represents the state at official and ceremonial functions but may not be involved with the day-to-day activities of the government.
In the United Kingdom, the monarch (queen) is the chief of state. In the US, the president is both the chief of state and the head of government.

Head of Government

includes the name and title of the top administrative leader who is designated to manage the day-to-day activities of the government. In the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister is the
head of government. In the US, the president is both the chief of state and the head of government.


A government in which supreme power is held by a monarch (ex. king, queen, emperor, empress) who reigns over a nation for life and by hereditary right. There are 2 types. The monarch may be an absolute monarch with unlimited power. Example: Saudi Arabia's king is an absolute monarch. The monarch could be a constitutional monarch whose powers are very limited. The Queen of England, Canada, and Australia and the Emperor of Japan are constitutional monarchs


A form of government in which a Deity (God) is recognized as the supreme ruler, but the Deity's laws are interpreted and enforced by religious leaders. Example: Iran

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