Classification of Governments

  • Alan R. Ball


Attempts to produce a classification of political institutions can be dated back to the beginnings of the study of political science. Aristotle made one of the earliest attempts to classify government structures. He distinguished between states ruled by one person, by the few and the many — monarchy, aristocracy and mixed government. His intention was not only to describe but to evaluate and thus he extended his classification scheme to their ‘perverted’ forms, which he labelled tyranny, oligarchy and democracy. He realised, however, that these types did not exist in their pure forms, thus noting that classification in political science is a search for ‘ideal’ types.1


Political Party Political System Political Institution Civil Liberty Liberal Democracy 
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Copyright information

© Alan R. Ball 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan R. Ball
    • 1
  1. 1.Portsmouth PolytechnicUK

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