A government is a group of people that run or “govern” a nation. The structure of the government varies from nation to nation. The people involved in the government are in charge of political decisions, as well as to enforce laws, pass new ones, and settle disputes amongst the people in their nation.

The type of government a nation is ruled by can be categorized into into a left-right hand political spectrum. At the left end of the spectrum:

  • Tendency towards social justice
  • Social & economic intervention by the state
  • Individualism

An example of a government found at the very left hand side would be liberalism. In this government, people’s rights are valued highly and liberals have a secular view  on the world. Plus, they believe change should occur through law and reform.

At the right end of the spectrum:

  • Defense of private property & capitalism
  • Belief in established political and religion order

An example of a government found at the very right hand side would be conservatism. In this government, maintenance of traditional institutions is critical, and they don’t believe in a sudden change; a gradual change. Conservatives, in some cases, believe in returning to “simpler times.” Essentially, this government believes in “conserving” history.

The three main aspects that determines where a government falls along the political spectrum are:

  1. Culture
  2. Economics
  3. Individual vs. Community

There are various types of government, such as:

  • Aristocracy- A state rules by a privileged class (determined by wealth or birth). Based on belief that elite know better than common man how to rule.
  • Bureaucracy- Any form of government with power concentrated in administrative bureaus; often equated with formalism, red tape, and overorganization.
  • Communism- A totalitarian government based on a social system where good are held in common.
  • Dictatorship- Any form of government in which one person or group has absolute power, without effective constitutional limitations.
  • Dynasty- A long sequence of rulers from the same family.

    In democracy, people elect their leaders.

  • Monarchy- A government in which power is vested in a king or emperor who can pass power on to his heirs.
  • Nationalism- A feeling of devotion to national interests national unity, and national independence
  • Representative- A system of government in which appointed or elected agents act for a group of people.
  • Democracy- A government with supreme power vested in the people and exercised by them or their elected agents.
  • Republic- A state in which the people are represented by elected agents.

You will soon find out where Canada fits in the political spectrum and the type of government we truly are.