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Forms of Government
by Lee Masterson

Many fantasy writers spend plenty of time creating unique and highly detailed worlds for each story - but how many writers take the time to create a suitable form of government to rule their fictional worlds?

Below is a list of some types of governmental and societal structures that may help you in the creation of your fictional society.

Absolute Monarchy - kingdom in which monarch has complete power

Anarchy - a society or political system founded on a state of disorder due to absence of government

Aristocracy - government by a wealthy, privileged minority (nobility) or hereditary ruling class, comprising people of noble birth with hereditary titles

Caliphate - government by Muslim civil and religious leader; regarded as the successor of Muhammad

Civil government - government established by laws made by citizens or their representatives; non-military, non-religious authority

Coalition government - temporary alliance of members of two or more parties to form governing majority

Collective - group or institution organized and run by all members equally

Commonwealth - independent state or community, especially a democratic republic

Constitutionalism - government based on written constitutional principles

Constitutional monarchy - government headed by monarch and regulated by constitution

Democracy - government by the people with majority rule exercised in periodic, free election of representatives

Despotism - government in which ruler exercises absolute power, often in cruel or oppressive manner

Dictatorship - autocratic government in which absolute power rests with one person

Duarchy or duumvirate - government or coalition of two people having joint authority

Dyarchy - (diarchy) dual responsibility shared by two independent authorities [e.g. colonial government and native ministers]

Empire - group of states or territories, nations or peoples governed by single sovereign authority

Fascism - authoritarian government based on establishing oppressive, one-part, centralized national regime

Federal government - system in which political units surrender individual sovereignty to central authority, but retain designated powers. Denotes a central government as distinguished from the separate units constituting a federation.

Feudalism - the dominant social system in medieval Europe (from 9th to 15th century) in which the nobility held lands from the Crown in exchange for military service, and vassals were tenants of and protected by the nobles, repaying the Lords with homage, labor and a share of the produce

Gerontocracy - rule by Elders

Gynecocracy - government by women or a woman (gynarchy)

Hagiocracy - government by group of persons believed to be holy

Hierocracy - rule by a priest or a ruling body of priests

Isocracy - government in which all individuals have equal political power

Matriarchy - government or monarchy in which power rests with females with descent reckoned through the female line

Meritocracy - government in which criterion for leadership is skill or intellectual achievement

Monarchy - government with absolute hereditary ruler who serves for life

Ochlocracy - rule by the populace; mob rule

Oligarchy - government by small group of privileged individuals

Pantisocracy - a form of utopian social organization in which all are equal in social position and responsibility

Parliamentary government - system in which executive (prime minister) is chosen by elected legislature (parliament) from among its members

Patriarchy - government or monarchy in which power rests with the males and descent is reckoned through the male line

Plutocracy - government by the wealthy; an elite or ruling class whose power derives from their wealth

Principality - state ruled by a prince, often part of larger state or empire

Regency - reign of non-monarch during youth or indisposition of monarch

Republic - government in which supreme power is vested in the people and their elected representatives of citizenry

Sovereignty - political autonomy; the authority of a state to govern itself or another state

Stratocracy - government by the military

Technocracy - government by an elite of technical experts

Thearchy - rule by a god or gods, or divine sovereignty

Theocracy - a system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or a god

Timocracy - (1) government in which rulers are motivated by ambition or love of honor or military glory (2) government In which possession of property is required in order to hold office

Totalitarianism - authoritarian dictatorial system in which citizen is subject to complete subservience of state

Triarchy - government ruled jointly by three persons ( also called 'Triumvirate')

Tyranny - government by single absolute authority, exercising cruel, oppressive power

Unitary government - system in which power is held by single central source, and local governments are merely administrative agents. The opposite of federalism

Welfare state - system in which ultimate responsibility of government is well-being of all citizens

Copyright Lee Masterson. All Rights Reserved


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