The political systems

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The political system is a way of organizing a state. The political system includes in particular the political regime, the economic structure, the social organization, etc.

In current political news reports (in spanish: reportajes de actualidad política) it has been mentioned that there are many political systems, the main ones being democracy, authoritarianism and totalitarianism. There is also monarchism or feudalism.

For their part, the Greeks defined two great families that grouped all known political systems, even in practice, by themselves: monarchy and democracy (from the Greek demos = people / demography). Therefore, we could summarize in a more direct way: monarchy, i.e. one person who leads (king, dictator ...), oligarchy, i.e. a few who lead (bourgeois, elite, financial ...) and democracy, i.e. the largest number of leaders (citizens).

Different types 

There are many existing or proposed political systems. It is common to classify them between democratic and authoritarian regimes, but in practice the situation is not always so clear. Plato distinguishes five political systems corresponding to five forms of human souls. "If there are five forms of constitution, also there must be five forms of soul in individuals". The five are: monarchy (aristocracy), timocracy (pursuit of honors), oligarchy (pursuit of wealth), democracy and tyranny (violence). The political system constitutes the main element of comparison in comparative politics.

Aristotle distinguishes in his politics the different types of constitution. He proposes in Chapter VII of Book III a classification of constitutions and combines two criteria for this: the number of the sovereign and the purpose of the constitution. In fact, he allows discrimination between constitutions in which power exists for itself (deviant constitutions) and those in which it is exercised for the whole community (straight constitutions). In straight constitutions, the sovereign governs with a view to the common good, in deviant constitutions, he governs with a view to his particular good. Within straight constitutions, which differ according to the number of the sovereign, one finds royalty, aristocracy, and constitutional government, the name being common to all constitutions. Within the deviant constitutions:

Democratic system 

As we have seen and have been taught in videos of current political events (vídeos de actualidad política), democracy is a system characterized by the ownership of power by the people. Internationally, democracy is seen as the least bad of all governance systems.

A democratic system, in which power emanates from the people, must be characterized by

  • Freedom of the press and freedom of expression
  • Guaranteed with individual freedoms
  • Freedom of assembly and association
  • Universal Suffering

Totalitarian system 

Totalitarianism is a one-party regime, which does not admit organized opposition, in which the state tends to confiscate all the activities of society. This system is characterized by:

  • the authorization of the existence of a single party (Single Party) that controls the State, ideally led by a charismatic leader.
  • the presence of an imposed ideology
  • population control, going so far as to question freedom of thought
  • a monopoly of the media and the armed forces
  • A recourse to terror and force

Examples of totalitarian political regimes 

Several regimes throughout history have had totalitarian elements. We can consider the communist USSR as a totalitarian system, while several authors limit this notion to the Stalinist period.

There are several examples in the era of totalitarian political regimes, the main ones being born at the beginning of the 20th century. The following leaders have organized totalitarian regimes:

  • Joseph Stalin, leader of the USSR from 1922 to 1953 (communist regime), practiced Stalinism there;
  • Adolf Hitler, leader of the Third Reich from 1933 to 1945 (fascist and anti-Semitic regime);
  • Benito Mussolini, president of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 to 1943, applied a fascist regime there;
  • Mao Zedong, leader of the People's Republic of China from 1949 to 1976 (communist regime), applied Maoism there;
  • Kim Il Sung, leader of North Korea from 1948 to 1994 (communist regime), applied Juche;
  • Pol Pot, leader of Cambodia from 1976 to 1997 (communist regime).
  • Francisco Franco, coup leader who ruled Spain from 1939 until his death in 1975 (fascist regime).


Authoritarian system 

Authoritarian systems are, like totalitarian systems, arbitrary organizations of society that leave no room for civil society. On the other hand, if in a totalitarian system we are witnessing a fusion of the public and private spheres, authoritarian systems are characterized by the exclusion of citizens from public participation.

  • Although the element of violence is not a systematic component in authoritarian systems, the two often go hand in hand.
  • Examples: Napoleon I's first French empire.
  • Theocratic system 
  • Theocracy is a political system where political legitimacy is derived from divinity. There, sovereignty exercises sovereignty, which combines temporal and religious power.

Example: The current regime in Iran.

Feudal system 

Feudalism is a political system whose central authority has been weakened; sovereign power is attributed to principalities, feuds or federations governed by lords and intended to stabilize the region and/or the people.

This organization of society developed in Europe between the V and VIII centuries, after the dismemberment of the Western Roman Empire. Based on Roman law and the so-called system of "hospitality", feudalism is specific to Western Europe.

It was also implemented in Japan from 1192 to 1868, when the Shogun delegated his power over the provinces to the heads of clans: the daimios.

Monarchical system 

The monarchy is a political doctrine that advocates a form of government in which the state is headed by a single person who represents or exercises all powers, is hereditary, so that the title of monarch is inherited from parents to children (or the corresponding person in the family dynastic line). We can distinguish several types of monarchy:

The monarchy of the divine right: for example, the Old Regime

The absolute monarchy: still present among others in Saudi Arabia

The constitutional monarchy and the parliamentary monarchy: United Kingdom, Belgium, Canada ...

Composite or intermediate systems 

Corporativism, economic and social doctrine based on the regrouping of different trades within the institutions that defend their interests.

Jacobinism, a political doctrine that defends popular sovereignty and the indivisibility of the French Republic. It takes its name from the Parisian Jacobin Club where its members, from the parliamentary movement of Jansenism, had established themselves during the French Revolution, in the former Jacobin convent.

It is always important to be aware of the political news reports to be informed since in the world there are many political systems and to understand more about the subject it is very important to be informed and have your own criteria.

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