How Aristocratic Government Works

Aristocracy came from the Greek words aristokratia or aristos which means excellent and kratos which means power thus making this type of government the rule of the excellent. This type of government came up in the writings of Plato, the Republic where he meant the rule of the philosophers since philosophers are educated. Nonetheless, as time passed, aristocracy was defined as the government is ruled by the social elites—the educated and the rich ones having land properties and entitlements. It has been derived from the monarchy type of government in terms of passing the power to a kin.

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This is the government that is prevalent in ancient Greek where the aristocratic group included by the privileged members of the society rule. The Greeks upheld this political system because they did not like monarchy and their political system at that time which is democracy was not successful.

Romans also had an aristocratic type of government. They called their political system before the Republic which is a combination of aristocrats, consuls, councillors and a tribe of leaders. In France, the French Revolution gave way to the defeat of the aristocratic ruling by making wages and military service equal to all.

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Interpretations of what aristocracy is have ranged from it being a rule of the best, but sometimes it is also seen as the rule of the rich or oligarchy. However, being rich does not mean being the ‘best’ which aristocracy connotes thus making oligarchy another type of government. More so, oligarchy is a type of government which means the rule of the greedy few, but aristocracy meant the rule of the excellent few. Nonetheless, when people wanted to criticize the ruling of elite and rich classes, aristocracy is a common term they use.

Today, aristocracy is just part of history and something that can be looked back in books. In the past, the countries that had this kind of system are India, Rome, Athens and Sparta. In India, they call their social elites as Brahman caste; in Rome, they called it Optimates; in Athens they called it eupatridae; and in Sparta, Spartiates.

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