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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

American English meaning of government?

This page seems to use about government in the American English meaning, namely the larger system by which any state is organized. If so, this is normally stated in the introduction once the different possible meanings are so indicated.

The only conterexample I see is the statement that "States are served by a continuous succession of different governments." which is worded to seem a bit true of either meaning but really only seems true to me for the Britsh meaning, unless on considers "continuous" to be a very loose term. States nearly always enter a period of chaos between changes in "the larger system by which any state is organized". tahc chat 08:09, 3 January 2013 (UTC)


Does anyone else think that Genarchy (rule by race) should be added as a form of government? I think it's a pretty prominent thing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:23, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

Sources? aprock (talk) 22:07, 8 February 2013 (UTC)


It seems strange to me that these two have basically the same definition. I think that federalism is etymologically related to the word "federation" see: which I think gives a better definition and should be linked to. Also, confederation should be a type of government if federation is. These two refer to meta-state governance, that is the governance above the state level. Where the difference between confederation and federation is a matter of degree not kind.Zoratao (talk) 15:27, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Lede is a mess

A group of people is not a "system" — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:03, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

I don't know when this happened, but when an article doesn't start off with a definition, you've got problems. I'm going to work on this in the near future. I'd appreciate help.

update: I did some fixing up, but it probably still needs some more work. Byelf2007 (talk) 11 October 2012

3/9/13 first two lines of the lede have been vandalized.. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:44, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

A good start, but conceptually confused and overly complicated

I don't have the time to really make changes to this page right now - hopefully I will be able to in a couple weeks - but until then I just want to point out that some of the different categories used are ambiguous and certain particular structural typologies that are commonly used in comparative politics are not presented together. Some examples of what should be shown: A category regarding the diffusion of power domestically (Unitary v. Federal v. Confederal States); presidential, semipresidential and parliamentary systems should be presented as a separate category; authoritarian/autocratic states need to be classified better - where is 'One-Party State' for example? And Democracies should be disaggregated by party systems (Dominant party system, two party system, multiparty system ; clientelistic party systems v. programmatic party systems...)

Also, I've noticed both here and in several articles on global political history a general lack of attention to the idea that the 'state' is a relatively modern form of political organization, despite it's de jure ubiquity today. The creation of the modern state, endowed with sovereignty and clearly demarcated, legally inviolable borders, is typically traced back to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 Europe. Of course, the institutionalization of the modern state didn't happen over night, but the legal grounds for modern notions of what a state is stem from this and the institution of the state as the primary means of political organization resulted from its spread through European colonialism... Metacrias (talk) 06:14, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

A government is a legal organization, not an abstract system

A government is a social organization that exerts centralized social control over a given territory inhabited by adults at least some of whom are not amicably associated with one another (called a “state”), which is made possible by imposing taxation and initiating physical attacks via subordinate agencies such as the police when necessary for the actualization of a given policy. The essence that makes a government a government is the centralized nature of the control (or “management,” if you will) that it exerts; thus, the statement that a government is simply the entity that manages a state, is false because within a state there are many entities that manage it, in parts (e.g., both public and private school manage regions by instructing students), but only the government administers the state as a whole. EIN (talk) 12:00, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

While the above definition, being a comprehensive one, may seem clustered, a more compressed variant is “an organization exerting centralized control over a state.” Unless someone will have objected, I'll change the opening definition in three days to “an organization exerting centralized control over a community (i.e., a state).”
Arguably, ‘over a community’ is a more suitable phrase than ‘over a territory’. Take a hypothetical community; say, the Israelites during the Exodus. Even though they in the Tanach don't have their own territory since they are nomadizing, the management of their community is centralized at the hands of a group that can, conditionally, be called a government. EIN (talk) 19:53, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and reverted this change. It is unsourced, and appears to present a very specific piece of jargon or term of art as the general definition. aprock (talk) 18:38, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

Federalism has wrong description.

The entry for "Federalism" in 2.3.2 is the description of "Republic" in 2.3.1 someone please fix. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:54, 13 May 2013 (UTC)

Wikidata – lead is not clear enough

At the Wikidata entry for this article, confusion reigns supreme. Sigh. Littledogboy (talk) 12:12, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

The lead should be shorter and less confusing, and state clearly something along the lines: The word government is used to refer either to 1/ the whole set of institutions that govern the country (as in American usage, but where Britons would use state), or 2/ to the collective decision-making body governing a state or a collective body advising the president/monarch, a part of the executive, one instance of which is the current political leadership (as in British usage, but where Americans would use administration). This article is about the set of institutions and the system they form.

Take out the last two paragraphs, they only add to the confusion. Littledogboy (talk) 12:35, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

The problem is that by using the verb “govern” you would repeat yourself. Cyclical definitions are a common flaw in dictionaries. You cannot properly define a noun simply by invoking its verbal variant. What does it mean “to govern”? EIN (talk) 18:46, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
Agree, control is better. I did not mean to say that my quick attempt of definition was great, all I'm saying is, strive for clarity. If you want to take current text as a staring point of a rewrite:
  1. A government is an organization exerting centralized control over a community (i.e., over a state). good start
  2. This is made possible by imposing taxation via such agencies as the revenue service and, if necessary for the actualization of a policy, by use and initiation of force via such agencies as the police and the military. tmi – too much detail for the lead, too US-specific; shorten or leave out; besides, only true of modern states
  3. In British and Commonwealth English, a government more narrowly refers to the particular executive in control of a state at a given time—known in American English as an administration. In American English, government refers to the larger system by which any state is organized. a very important terminological note, but missing the key info, ie: this article is about the latter; last sentence of the lead? +mention cabinet?
  4. Furthermore, government is occasionally used in English as a synonym for governance. tmi
  5. In the case of its broad definition, government normally consists of legislators, administrators, and arbitrators. poor wording, and again, only true of certain modern democracies
  6. Government is the means by which state policy is enforced, as well as the mechanism for determining the policy of the state. rubbish, this is circular
  7. A form of government, or form of state governance, refers to the set of political systems and institutions that make up the organisation of a specific government. very important, a decent sentence, could also mention constitution
  8. States are served by a continuous succession of different governments. Each successive government is composed of a body of individuals who control and exercise control over political decision-making. Their function is to make and enforce laws and arbitrate conflicts. In some societies, this group is often a self-perpetuating or hereditary class. In other societies, such as democracies, the political roles remain, but there is frequent turnover of the people actually filling the positions. good thought, poor wording
  9. Government of any kind currently affects every human activity in many important ways. For this reason, political scientists generally argue that government should not be studied by itself; but should be studied along with anthropology, economics, history, philosophy, science, and sociology. leave out, this paragraph is basically void of meaning; or replace with: Political science tries to classify types of government by... (something leading into article body.)
Littledogboy (talk) 20:54, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
Generally agreed. Better to stick with reliable sources instead of trying to cobble something together. aprock (talk) 18:41, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

Error in Norway

In map, Norway is drawn as state where the monarch personally exercises power. But role of norwegian king is only ceremonial.Hejhulák (talk) 08:31, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Important Oversight

The first link on this page leads to state, whose's first link leads back to government. This violates the law that all Wikipedia articles must eventually lead to philosophy, and should be fixed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:47, 1 November 2013 (UTC)


I oppose including these (as sections). 1) I don't see how it's appropriate to have pejorative classifications (motivation is not to classify government 'in good faith'). 2) Isn't speculative classifications basically science fiction/fantasy?

Also, I don't think "Corporatocracy" and "Nepotocracy" are pejorative. They may be used that way, but it's my understanding that these are actually systems of government and should be treated as such. I'm not sure about "Bankocracy", but that seems plausible. Byelf2007 (talk) 11 October 2012

Call me simple minded, but why should we talk about governments without mentioning that a system government might not be as it appears on the outside or how it labels itself? It's not like the article is pointing fingers at countries to use them as examples. There are many reasons why a government might actually run in a different way than it claims to, but things are not always what they appear or what they were intended to be (and governments aren't immune to this fact). The only way I can see these being related to story telling is that in a story a government could be more obvious or openly one of these classifications; however, that doesn't means those characteristics are pure fantasy. Just because an author focuses in on certain things and alters then until they can't be missed doesn't mean these same things has no base in reality. (talk) 20:26, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

Copyright violations

Reviewing the edits of, it appears that some are copyright violations. For example this edit: [1] looks to have been copied from some place on the internet. The quote shows up on many sites dated before the edit, including this one: aprock (talk) 08:50, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

This entire block of edits: [2] appears to be copy pasted from several places including wikipedia itself; e.g. Plato's five regimes. aprock (talk) 09:06, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Explaining my edit

Most of my edit was uncapitalizing words like "parliament", which isn't a proper noun unless it means a specific parliament of a specific country.

I removed all but one repetition of "A common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of state is not a monarch." For one thing, it's repeated too often in places where it doesn't really fit. For another thing, although it's referenced to two dictionaries, it doesn't make sense because a dictatorship is neither a republic nor a monarchy.

I removed "a system of governance in which a person who rules in an aristocracy is an aristocrat" because the same words are duplicated three sentences later. And there was a lot of miscellaneous proofreading. Art LaPella (talk) 00:01, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

Edits by (talk · contribs)

I see the point that you are trying to make, but you do not seem to be interested in discussing the issue. You are obviously POV-pushing re Communism. Perhaps we should discuss it here, instead of you repeatedly reverting other editors? —Josh3580talk/hist 16:52, 25 January 2014 (UTC)

Forms of government

This section needs a heavy clean-up. For an overview section, there are far too many meaningless distinctions. Under the section "By elements of who elects the empowered - Democratic attributes," we have Democracy (which is vague, undefined, unnecessary because it is not a category of itself), Liberal Democracy (no significant electoral attributes noted), Social democracy (no electoral attributes noted), and Totalitarian democracy (not demonstrated to be meaningfully different than representative democracy). I'm not saying the pages themselves are not worthwhile, but as category descriptors on this page they're not necessary. Liberal and social democracy are really political movements and totalitarian democracy is a pejorative term that really shouldn't even figure in here. I bring it up because my reading is just starting and while I see the logical inconsistencies, would prefer if someone who had a more intimate knowledge actually made the edits. Thegreatmuka (talk) 16:29, 15 February 2014 (UTC)


Would it be entirely preposterous to include the term 'Necrocracy', coined by Christopher Hitchens, and used when describing North Korea's veneration of Kim Jong Il to the point that they believe he holds power over the government even in death?Kings cross 975 (talk) 22:55, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

Not Following Wikipedia's Standards

While the page is generally helpful, in various cases opinions are presented as facts and some information is "half given", or not given at all. The definition of Anarchy is what come to mind at first sight:

"Anarchy has more than one definition. In the United States, the term "anarchy" typically is used to refer to a society without a publicly enforced government or violently enforced political authority.[22][23] When used in this sense, anarchy may[24] or may not[25] be intended to imply political disorder or lawlessness within a society. Outside of the U.S., and by most individuals that self-identify as anarchists, it implies a system of governance, mostly theoretical at a nation state level. There are also other forms of anarchy that attempt to avoid the use of coercion, violence, force and authority, while still producing a productive and desirable society"

The first paragraph is mostly vague, not offering a clear definition and then contradicting the assumption that Anarchy implies lawlessness and political disorder without justification; simply leaving a "may, or may not". In the last paragraph the writer mentioned that "Outside of the U.S., and by most individuals that self-identify as anarchists, it implies a system of governance, mostly theoretical at a nation state level", however, he/she did not provide any evidence for this claim and also did not explain what this "theoretical system of governance" is. He/She also claims that there are versions of anarchy that manage to evade the existence of "coercion, violence, force, and authority, while still producing a productive and desirable society" without giving examples or any further explanation to this claim.

This makes the section no more than a biased opinion, which clearly does not belong in Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:46, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

'Government' meaning executive

It should not be said that the word 'government' means 'executive' in Commonwealth English, as this is demonstrably false. In Canada, and Australia at the very least, 'government' means the whole thing, not the executive. I haven't checked all the smaller members, but the claim that 'government' means 'executive' in Commonwealth English as a whole is indefensible. Oreo Priest talk 09:41, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

You are failing horribly across many pages. It isn't false. There are multiple definitions in Commonwealth English, depending on context. That's why it said "ALSO", because both meanings exist in all strands of Commonwealth English, determined by context. The "Canadian government" exists, so does the "British government", the "Australian government", and the "New Zealand government". Did you read the OED source provided, which is for "Commonwealth English"? Are you denying existence of these governments, which exist in line with the Constitutions of these states? As far as Canada is concerned, this article here describes Mr Harper's attempts to official brand the Government of Canada as the "Harper Government", amongst other things. We also have a CBC referring repeatedly to the "Harper government". Here we have Mr Abbot talking about "his government", and here we have phrases like "incumbent government" and "Abbot government". Honestly, this density is being taken to new heights. RGloucester 21:32, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
I suspect that you did not actually study our system of governance in high school (has it been taken off the curriculum?), Oreo Priest. The three arms you're pointing to pertain to the entire system of governance (per the constitution), not to the government elect. The Prime Minister (elect) is passed on the powers of the Executive as the figurehead (substitute "Governor of a Colony, or in the Governor of a Colony with the advice of his Executive Council" with Prime Minister here). When you encounter the use of terms like 'the Abbot government', 'the Whitlam government', etc. in the media, they're merely following a colloquial practice which has nothing to do with the official structure. The same sort of colloquial usage of a misnomer/misrepresentation was used for the Soviet Union which was treated as if it were interchangeable with Russia during the Cold War.
As a further suggestion, it might be of use to you to read the Australian Constitution. Hope that's clarified things a little for you. Cheers! --Iryna Harpy (talk) 22:39, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
@Iryna Harpy: To be clear, Iryna, are you saying that the usage of "government" meaning "collective executive" is commonly-used in Australian usage? RGloucester 22:44, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
  • By the way, I've popped into the library quick to take a look at the Macquarie Dictionary. It gives the following definition:

the governing body of persons in a state, community, etc.; the executive power; the administration: the government was defeated in the last election.

That's confirmation. If you've not got a subscription, you can make a free trial account. RGloucester 22:56, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

See also Infosheet 20 - The Australian system of government from House of Representatives Practice (6th Edition) which specifically outlines the notion of the "Executive Government", including its abbreviation to "Government": "The Parliament also authorises the Executive Government (often simply called the Government or the Executive) to spend public money by agreeing to government proposals for expenditure and taxation, scrutinises the administrative actions of the Government and serves as a forum for the debate of public policy." --Canley (talk) 23:42, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
@RGloucester: Yes, it has been for as long as I can remember in the media. I'd always supposed that this was because it was commonly understood what was meant by 'the Whitlam government', 'the Menzies government', etc. Certainly, when I was at school, more time was spent on studying the Westminster system than our own constitution as it was only an interpretive arm of the Westminster system. I'm completely out of touch with the primary and secondary school curriculum nowadays. It's entirely possible that this inherent understanding no longer exists. It was certainly in place when the Australian republic referendum, 1999 was underway. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 01:00, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Another example, from the New Zealand Parliament, where the executive branch is specifically referred to as "the Government": Our system of government (my emphasis): "Our system is based on the principle that power is distributed across three branches of government — Parliament, the Executive, and the Judiciary. Parliament makes the law. The Executive (Ministers of the Crown also known as the Government) administers the law. The Judiciary interprets the law through the courts." --Canley (talk) 03:51, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Whilst I appreciate the constitutional technicalities, the more important thing is that "government" is commonly used to refer to the people controlling the executive in these countries, one way or the other. Take two seconds and browse a newspaper from either of them, and that will be made clear. As Iryna said, these countries inherited the Westminster system, and that's why they use the same or similar terminology in colloquial and official usage. RGloucester 03:59, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
The whole concept of a parliamentary opposition in the Westminster system is predicated on the fact that the Opposition is opposing "Her Majesty's Government", as in the executive branch (not the whole of government of which they would be a part). "Government" is certainly the terminology used in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. --Canley (talk) 04:15, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Canada too. RGloucester 04:32, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
But who exactly sits on 'the Government benches' (or Treasury benches)? In the strict (Westminster) technical usage, Canley has got it right, except that the main power is nominally exercised by the sovereign or governor 'in Executive Council'. However, as we all know, English as she is spoken ain't that simple. We can study Government as a subject, or complain about the system of government. Some Australian republicans want government without the 'separation of powers', in which case 'the Government' would boil down to an elected junta, effectively the appointees of a political party, with a powerless 'Governor' for cosmetic purposes. (The same junta would, of course, hire and fire the judiciary and public service officials). I suppose that even Idi Amin had a governmental facade of sorts. Here is a word whose dynamic denotations and connotations will inevitably resist the will of pedants to circumscribe. Bjenks (talk) 04:55, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
We really don't need to get into technicalities about "Queen-in-Council" and associated stuff. I'm aware of all that, but that's not what was up for debate. The fact remains that "government" is used to refer to the executive in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Britain, India, &c. The broad meaning is also used in all of these places. The meaning of the word "government" is determined by context, as it is with many words. RGloucester 05:02, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
In Canada at the very least, 'government' includes every MP of the ruling party, as well as the bureaucratic apparatus, when it isn't used to represent the system as a whole. It is never used to mean merely the executive, and you'd be very hard pressed to find a source that says that Conservative backbench MPs don't like how the government is treating them, for example. Compare with here, where the word 'government' at no point means only 'executive'. Compare also "leader of the government in the Senate" which is nonsensical if the ruling party's senators are not part of the government that could be led.
I noticed as well that Australian government takes great pains to refer to the executive as the Executive Government /~/link.aspx?_id=1A1B66A3736843429A99D8F6D0F67FDB&_z=z, something which you swore "is a not-existent phrase" at Talk:Cabinet of France.
I'd like to ask the two Australians who are here now what content they would expect on the page Government of France. Would you expect the whole thing, the same as Government of Australia or would you expect a page on only the president and his ministers? Oreo Priest talk 07:51, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
It doesn't matter what they'd "expect". It matters what it is called, from a constitutional perspective, a translation perspective, and by sources. You can't change the name of a body to suit your own needs. Again, government can mean both the executive, and the whole system. It can mean that in every variety of English. No one disputes that. "Executive government" is a non-existent phrase to refer to the French government. I was not speaking about the Australian government at the time, as I'm sure you are aware. You've shown your lack of knowledge by saying "the president and his ministers". The president is not part of the French government, as I've said ten thousand times. The government and president together make-up the executive. "Leader of the government in the Senate" is a phrase that refers to the people controlling the executive. It does not refer to the state. He or she is a representative of the government, meaning, for example, the Harper government, in the Senate. He is not a representative of the "whole system of government", which makes zero sense. RGloucester 07:58, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
By the way, this document of yours makes tons of references to the government in the sense we are talking about. For example, "the government has introduced bills", "The party that wins the largest number of seats in a general election ordinarily forms the government", "If the government in office before an election comes out of the election without a clear majority...". Your own cited document has tons of references to "government" in the sense of the people that exercise executive authority as a collective. RGloucester 08:01, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
  • The "editor" above, if we can call him that, is removing information sourced to the OED and the Macquarie Dictionary. Why he's doing that, I don't know. It seems odd. He seems to think that the OED definition provided doesn't refer to the Commonwealth, but that means that he doesn't know that they have two dictionaries. One called "British and World English", and one called "American English". "British and World English" is referring to the Commonwealth, not surprisingly, because they use mostly British usage because they happened to have been ruled by Britain. Nevermind that he's ignoring the Australians speaking here, the sources here, the Macquarie Dictionary, which is the main dictionary of Australian English. Essentially, he doesn't give a damn about sources or common sense. RGloucester 07:36, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
What is going on here? I've been editing Wikipedia for nearly a decade, and I have never, ever been treated with such contempt. It's not because we disagree that you have to attack me personally. Nobody else has ever been so quick to assume bad faith and insult my intelligence. Nobody else has leapt so quickly to ad hominems, both here and on discussions elsewhere. @RGloucester:, I would like to politely ask you to be civil, both to myself and to other editors. In the case that means nothing to you, please familiarize yourself with Wikipedia:Civility, and notice that politeness is actual policy. Oreo Priest talk 07:59, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
I'd like you to stop being an idiot. If you can do that, I'll be as fair-weathered as can be. RGloucester 08:02, 10 December 2014 (UTC)
Oreo Priest, while it may not always be desirable to call a spade a spade, it is not UNCIVIL when the editor being called a SPADE is being WP:POINTy. POINT may only be a behavioural guideline, but your edits to the content of this article have now reached the point of being plainly disruptive, and your editing practices here certainly present as being WP:BATTLEGROUND, which certainly does violate policy.
I don't appreciate being asked for my opinion on what I'd expect because, after 10 years, you must be aware that we use RS, not our own guestimates. Please don't continue redacting content because you WP:DONTLIKEIT. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 03:34, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

Classifying Government

..."for example, the United States is not a true capitalist society, since the government actually provides social services for its citizens)."

Hi, what is considered to be a 'true capitalist society' is surely contestable. There are those that would argue that a welfare state is an essential component of an advanced capitalist state, whereas others would agree with the above statement. Could there possibly be some confusion with the term 'capitalist society' and something akin to a nightwatchman state? I citation for the above argument would be helpful, perhaps accompanied by a counter argument. Thanks. Leew2004 (talk) 22:49, 4 January 2015 (UTC)


I have removed the etymology section. The first part has been unsourced for years despite citation needed tags. Appears to be a folk/false etymology. The second part was cost rack info about arch prefix and cracy suffix. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 06:34, 13 April 2015 (UTC)


I know that a #History section will be a magnet for some semiliterate/over-determined crackpots... but it still needs to happen. There needs to be a prominent link to the stuff studied by Political history and treatment of the major sourced and generally accepted developments of government within history. 4 separate notices in archives already agree with the idea... of course, including one kid who wanted to include an essay on his misunderstanding of "John Lock"... but he and his friends shouldn't limit our coverage or utility to readers. — LlywelynII 05:25, 22 October 2015 (UTC)

Requested move 7 June 2016

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Moved. Template {{Dabprimary}} to tag the Government disambiguation page to stimulate the creation of a broad-concept article. (closed by a page mover)  What's in your palette? Paine  16:04, 23 June 2016 (UTC)

Government (in politics) has at least four meanings:

  1. the system by which a state or community is controlled, see Forms of government.
  2. the executive of a state.
  3. the governing cabinet as part of the executive.
  4. the process of governing, or governance.

The ambiguity of "government" isn't a matter of Commonwealth countries vs. the rest of the world, as the first sentences would suggest. These different meanings (co)exist in all variants of the English language, see Oxford, Cambridge, Macmillan dictionaries, yes even Merriam-Webster. It's true that in the U.S. with its subnational States, the word "government" came to represent the state (polity), while "administration" is used for the executive government. Still, even in U.S. political science, the different meanings of "government" are understood and kept apart. See also this previous discussion.
As evident from the TOC, this particular article describes different forms of government. It is not about the executive, its composition, constitutional role and interaction with the legislative and judicative powers. Nor is it about cabinets, which in most countries either represent or form a central part of the executive, their appointment, executive powers and recall. Nor is it about the processes and techniques of governance. Therefore this clearly can't be the single main article for Category:Government. It is much clearer presented under the title Forms of government, which already redirects here, and which would constitute the main article for Category:Forms of government. -- PanchoS (talk) 11:01, 7 June 2016 (UTC)--Relisting. AjaxSmack  03:46, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

  • I agree with the nominator's points and that Forms of government better reflects this article's contents. However, I think the can of worms will be what happens to the "Government" article title. I posit many (including myself) are loath to have it as a redirect or a mere list dab page like the current Government (disambiguation). What might work is a text format broad concept article per WP:CONCEPTDAB that would read much like the current intro paragraph of the Government article. Examples of articles using this format are listed at WP:BROADCONCEPT § Common examples. —  AjaxSmack  14:47, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Generally speaking, support, per the well-reasoned case the nominator has provided. However, I echo AjaxSmack's concerns about "Government", and would suggest following his approach. RGloucester 15:29, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Agree with AjaxSmack and RGloucester, would much prefer a concept dab at "Government" than an actual dab. Jenks24 (talk) 16:38, 22 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment: I came here to close this. There is clear consensus to move this article to Forms of government, but can the proposed broad concept article be written first before the move is performed? SSTflyer 10:32, 23 June 2016 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.


Definition of plutocracy really ought to be revised...from:

Rule by the rich; a system of governance composed of the wealthy class. Any of the forms of government listed here can be plutocracy. For instance, if all of the elected representatives in a republic are wealthy, then it is a republic and a plutocracy.


Rule by wealth; a system wherein governance is indebted to, dependent upon or heavily influenced by the desires of the rich. Plutocratic influence can alter any form government. For instance, in a republic, if a significant number of elected representative positions are dependent upon financial support from wealthy sources, then it is a plutocratic-republic.

Right-On,!!! ,, __GB93.1914,, Durujr44 (talk) 00:15, 10 November 2016 (UTC)

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The Phobiocracy Section is atrocious.

"What makes this extremely effective is the (unfortunately) common human trait of not trusting people one doesn't know. The most commonly used fear throughout history is fear of "rapacious outsiders" (i.e. barbarians, communists, terrorists, etc.), who would "rampage over the homeland if not for the brave military"; the United States has been accused of "hardliner phobiocratic-policies" which triggered racial segregation and the Cold War.[19] Add to this the policy of making the populace fear themselves and/or the rulers as well; the pattern is to have the ruled be too afraid to resist the rulers, who were usually local; to manipulate the citizenry into activities deemed desirable by the rulers, and to divide the populace into small/fearful/ignorant groups; and at the same time fear the possibility of invasion, or at least banditry, even more due to the consequences of noncompliance in the population. Well-informed people are less fearful than those who are ignorant or uneducated; fear makes people do stupid things."

Unless I'm wildly mistaken, this is nowhere even approaching the quality, objectivity, and clarity mandated by Wikipedia guidelines.— Preceding unsigned comment added by TS19892007 (talkcontribs) 22:12, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

States and governments

Please see Talk:State_(polity)#States and governments— Preceding unsigned comment added by Wolfdog (talkcontribs) 17:17, 4 October 2014 (UTC)

That currently redirects here. I'd like to move the Forms of government#Forms of government by associated attributes and Forms of government#Forms of government by other characteristic attributes sections in their current form to a separate page. Further re-structuring proposals will follow if this is non-controversial. Power~enwiki (π, ν) 18:51, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

Requested move 20 September 2017

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. wbm1058 (talk) 22:51, 27 September 2017 (UTC)

Forms of governmentGovernment – This move was done in reverse last year (discussion), in hopes that a separate page would be created at Government. Those efforts appear to have failed, and Government now redirects to Forms of government. power~enwiki (π, ν) 20:56, 20 September 2017 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's policy on article titles.
  • Support in the absence of a substantive article on government. Tazerdadog (talk) 05:26, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Support according to the content the new title "government" is better.--RekishiEJ (talk) 14:03, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Support seeing as how the government dab page didn't eventuate. Gizza (t)(c) 22:00, 25 September 2017 (UTC)


Any additional comments:
  • There are many ways in which Wikipedia has run circles around Britannica, but this is not one of them. Their article on Government puts Wikipedians to shame. This is one area where an encyclopedia governed by anarchy has produced vastly inferior results compared to a traditional encyclopedia with more formal governance. What a travesty the current page history of Government is. Extraordinary messes call for extraordinary cleanup measures. I'm taking this page history out to the woodshed and purging it of its virulent vandalism to see what might be salvageable for possible content merging. I've noticed a correlation between article quality and vandalism – the worse the quality, the higher the vandalism frequency. I don't understand what the collective was thinking when they decided to throw out a decade-plus of article history and start over with writing this article from scratch. You should have worked on this in draft space. – wbm1058 (talk) 02:03, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
After exorcising 237 edits in the woodshed, we're left with an ~100 edit history at Draft:Government, which is a WP:content fork of Forms of government which should never have been moved off of the base title. This can be moved back to article space under a different title, such as Summary of government or Concept of government (suggestions for a title are welcome), then redirected to the article at the base title. Feel free to WP:merge any content from the fork. Note that we already have an Outline of government. Also a List of forms of government. – wbm1058 (talk) 03:58, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Form of government has substantial buried history too. There's probably something there worth salvaging. So the content of Form of government (singular) was merged and redirected to Government, so that Government could be moved to Forms of government (plural). THINK, people. wbm1058 (talk) 12:42, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
  • Government (disambiguation) is another travesty. I was expecting to find Government (band) or "Government" (song), or Government (film), or Government (book). Nope, none of that. There is exactly *one* other distinct topic sharing the title – Government (linguistics) – so I've reverted to the hatnote link for that which was in place before June 2016. This malformed dab is rooted in the rationale for the poorly attended and misguided page move of June 2016. The idea that Government (in politics) has at least four meanings including "the executive of a state" and "the governing cabinet as part of the executive" is wrong. No, Donald Trump is not "the government". Neither is his cabinet. They are part of the government, as should be explained in the body of the Government article. Even a dictator is not "the government" as they can't stay in power if they aren't surrounded by people supporting them. – wbm1058 (talk) 13:52, 27 September 2017 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

@Wbm1058: Thanks for the close (and cleanup of my copy-paste move to List of forms of government). I was unaware of Forms of government having significant content other than the un-sourced WP:LISTCRUFT (seriously, Bankocracy? Magocracy?) for my initial edits on the old version at Government, and was unaware of Outline of government until you mentioned it. The current version still has severe content issues; while a few other high-level pages (such as Business and Engineering) need a lot of work, I don't think any other pages are quite as bad as this one. power~enwiki (π, ν) 03:55, 29 September 2017 (UTC)

Thanks. I'm not done here. This page is on my watchlist now. One of my specialties on Wikipedia is sorting out forks and merging content to resolve messes like this, though it's something I only occasionally do when I run into something that hasn't resolved into a coherent structure over the long term. The first big case I handled was Bootstrapping. The biggest so far was sorting out Surname and Surnames by country. Each of these has held their structure after I was done restructuring them. One thing I've found is that moving a top-level, broad-scope article to a more narrowly-titled subtopic, leaving a void at the top in the hopes that someone else would "fill in the content", is a recipe for disaster. The void never gets filled in, and copy-paste content reshuffling attempts to fix the unstable article structure ensue. People want to create disambiguation pages where there is a stub of a broad-consept article remaining at the top of the WP:summary style structure. Gastrointestinal tract is my prime example of that. It was decided that as the article was 90% about human gastrointestinal tracts, which was an unbalanced point-of-view. So Gastrointestinal tract was moved to Human gastrointestinal tract, leaving Gastrointestinal tract as a stub waiting for someone else to fill in all that balanced content about animal gastrointestinal tracts. Some time later it was realized that this was a mistake, and Human gastrointestinal tract moved back to the base title. I've got a lot of pots on the fire, and complex work of this sort takes time. Generally I try to diagnose where the train went off the tracks, revert to there and adjust the course. I think it's best to analyze the history to see how the article structure got to be the way it is; this research takes time. My next step is to sort out the talk archives. wbm1058 (talk) 13:03, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
Here is the diff comparing the talk page as of 17:11, 11 November 2006 with archive 1. This is when the first WP:TOPPOST violation occurred, so such comparisons after this date break down. The diff will confirm my work to date in cleaning up the archives to standard. wbm1058 (talk) 12:35, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
This 26 February 2007 edit relocated the first two TOPPOST violations, but unfortunately also moved the first Untitled stuff when it shouldn't have, and didn't flip the first two "top posts". New TOPPOSTs are usually added in reverse-chronological order. wbm1058 (talk) 13:23, 11 October 2017 (UTC)

Simple English lede

From simple:government:

A government is a group of people that have the power to rule in a territory, according to the law. This territory may be a country, a state or province within a country, or a region.

  • Governments make laws, rules, and regulations, collect taxes and print money.
  • Governments have systems of justice that list the acts or activities that are against the law and describe the punishments for breaking the law.
  • Governments have a police force to make sure people follow the laws.
  • Governments have diplomats who communicate with the governments of other countries by having meetings. Diplomats try to solve problems or disagreements between two countries, which can help countries to avoid war, make commercial agreements, and exchange cultural or social experiences and knowledge.
  • Governments have a military force such as an army that protects the country if other countries attack or which can be used to attack and invade other countries.
  • The leader of a government and his or her advisors are called the administration.

It's significantly better, IMO. I'm considering replacing the current lede whole-sale with this one. power~enwiki (π, ν) 15:45, 4 October 2017 (UTC)

That might be a better fit for the Government § Definitions and etymology section. The lead is supposed to summarize the entire article, not just the first section. The lead should have a quick, simple definition, with the more detailed definition below. You seem to be approaching this from the standpoint of defining what government is in 2017. I'm thinking that the definition of government might have evolved over time. You're linking to three disambiguation pages: Influence, state and administration. – wbm1058 (talk) 12:45, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
I agree that simple:government is a surprisingly good effort. I'm not really familiar with how their policies & guidelines differ from ours; perhaps there it is normal structure to have a definition, followed by detail, rather than a summary, followed by detail. – wbm1058 (talk) 13:27, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
Lists haven't been in-style on ledes for many years, but a few still exist, such as Ethics, Modern history, Architecture, and Communication. power~enwiki (π, ν) 14:26, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
It is too definitional; I assume that the list would be condensed to a paragraph 2, and paragraphs 3 and 4 would describe the rest of the article. power~enwiki (π, ν) 14:31, 11 October 2017 (UTC)
Yep, it is too basic, it is fundamentally wrong.Carewolf (talk) 07:30, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm no political scientist, but I wonder about the emphasis on "territory", could government, more generally, apply to a territory or group of people outside of a territory? Government, as a concept, applies to organizations, even very small ones. Attic Salt (talk) 14:56, 11 October 2017 (UTC)

Presently, the second sentence of the article lede reads: "It is the political control of a country of people by a governing body, that has as its purpose the providership of greater organized forms for sake of the people, including law, law enforcement, a military, education, civil engineering, scientific research, and industry."

My concern is that this pertains to country governments, not small organisations. And the list of things at the end of the sentence might not be accepted as a defining government either; the list is nice, but not what all national governments are about or motivated to do; and, many items in the list are not even mentioned in the body of the article. I suggest removing this sentence. Attic Salt (talk) 00:46, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

I removed it. It was ackward and confusing as well. Though with the rest of old lead now in a new paragraph, the first paragraph feels a bit short. Carewolf (talk) 09:52, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

Roles of government

What are the roles of government? When can/should it involve itself in Family planning, such as the one-child policy? Does it have a role in promoting morality?

More relevantly for the talk page, should these topics be discussed in this article, and if so, under what section? power~enwiki (π, ν) 20:06, 16 November 2017 (UTC)

I know this is a little bit of a late response, and I could probably be doing better things, but I wanted to make it anyway because I think you ask some really good questions.

Starting with your first question "What are the roles of government?," in the current lead to the article the purpose of government is defined as " seek the welfare of the civilians and to fulfill their need for the betterment...," which I think is a good start to a definition, but their is certainly a lot of room for argument, so much so that I link a whole article or section of this one could be dedicated to it. Though that may be true, it may not be directly relevant enough to fully flesh out on this page since I think those ideas mostly fall under the philosophical questions "What is good?" and "What would be the best way to achieve what is good?."

Moving on to your second/third questions, I think the questions that your asking would more well answered on the respective articles on Family planning and one-child policy if those articles don't already address those questions well. If you really wanted to you might be able to fit the specific example in somewhere, but someone might tell you it is unnecessary or accuse you of WP:POVPUSH.

When it comes to the promotion of morality by governments I would say that you could argue that it falls under socio-political ideologies as with your previous question, but I would generally say that the most that you could argue that government has to do with morality is that government implies a moral system through its laws and enforcement of such laws. Currently, there isn't really a good section for the ideas that your talking about, so creating a new one seems reasonable. The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 05:38, 13 July 2018 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 6 June 2018

Can you please change the file World administrative levels.png to Blank Map World Secondary Political Divisions.svg? It is the vector version of the image. (talk) 17:31, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

Not done: please establish a consensus for this alteration before using the {{edit semi-protected}} template. The svg version has several issues raised on its page, it's somewhat more difficult for me to see the boundaries, and primary and secondary divisions aren't separated; however I'd like to hear some others' opinions on this. LittlePuppers (talk) 18:40, 6 June 2018 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 26 July 2018 (talk) 17:52, 26 July 2018 (UTC) Not done: as you have not requested a change.
Please request your change in the form "Please replace XXX with YYY" or "Please add ZZZ between PPP and QQQ".
Please also cite reliable sources to back up your request, without which no information should be added to, or changed in, any article. - Arjayay (talk) 18:11, 26 July 2018 (UTC)

The first sentence is circular

The first sentence is "A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, often a state." This is circular. It uses the word "governing" to define the word "government." Breaking down the word "governing" gets something like "organization of daily life," so with the other language:

A government is [a] system or group of people organizing daily life in a community, often a state."

"Often a state" can be removed. Trying for something a bit more eloquent:

Government is the organization of human societies, for the improved structuring of community projects and works that serve the basic life necessities of the people. ..Different forms of government exist, and governments can be seen in a philosophical spectrum from the democratic to the autocratic; the philosophy and purpose of the democratic government is radically different from those of an autocratic government. The purpose of a democratic government is to secure the health and continuity of the greater body of people, while the purpose of an autocratic government is the health and continuity of a small ruling group. With these basic elements, the democratic governments rank higher in terms of their local popularity and greater effective productivity.

-Inowen (nlfte) 23:09, 5 December 2018 (UTC)

I would agree with you that the lead can be improved in many ways. I like your suggested first sentence though I think could be slightly improved by changing "people organizing daily life in a community" to "people which organize a community", mainly because a governments need not be present clearly and daily to be a government. I also am leaning towards adding something about being offical or legal to try to distinguish govermemts from other instituitions such a schools or businesses. As for what appears to be your complete rewrite of the lead, I think you make a lot of assumptions on what the role of governments are or should be. Mainly, a lot of your descriptions wouldn't apply to a tyrannical government whose primary purpose is to financially benifit its tyrannt. If the lead is going to mention the spectrum of goverment organization, I think it should also mention the spectrum of government purpose, both economic and social. For your descriptions of deomcratic and autocratic goverments I think you conflate goverment organizational style and goverment purpose. Two counter-examples that I would put forward are the Tyranny of the majority and Philosopher kings. For the last sentance you would need a very high quality source because its likely to be contested. —The Editor's Apprentice (TalkEdits) 15:40, 7 December 2018 (UTC)
That is not circular. That is just the consequences of a noun based on verb. They are etymomologically bound. Trying to use words that doesn't share the same etymology will only make the sentence worse. Please be aware that the lead has been through multiple rounds of bike-shedding, so remember to check the archives. Carewolf (talk) 16:48, 11 December 2018 (UTC)
The current intro is promising. I would suggest adding the general purposes of government and list these above the instruments of government passages, which currently appear too high. -Inowen (nlfte) 21:16, 21 January 2019 (UTC)

We need more flexibility for systems of government map editing

The map now is very outdated, especially concerning Sudan. Restriction to only admin edit is erroneousWeifengYang (talk) 15:54, 7 June 2019 (UTC)