Government

A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, often a state.[1]

In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government is a means by which organizational policies are enforced, as well as a mechanism for determining policy. Each government has a kind of constitution, a statement of its governing principles and philosophy. Typically the philosophy chosen is some balance between the principle of individual freedom and the idea of absolute state authority (tyranny).

While all types of organizations have governance, the word government is often used more specifically to refer to the approximately 200 independent national governments on Earth, as well as subsidiary organizations.[2]

Historically prevalent forms of government include monarchy, aristocracy, timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, theocracy and tyranny. The main aspect of any philosophy of government is how political power is obtained, with the two main forms being electoral contest and hereditary succession.

Definitions and etymology

A government is the system to govern a state or community.[3]

The word government derives, ultimately, from the Greek verb κυβερνάω [kubernáo] (meaning to steer with gubernaculum (rudder), the metaphorical sense being attested in Plato's Ship of State).[4]

The Columbia Encyclopedia defines government as "a system of social control under which the right to make laws, and the right to enforce them, is vested in a particular group in society".[5]

While all types of organizations have governance, the word government is often used more specifically to refer to the approximately 200 independent national governments on Earth, as well as their subsidiary organizations.[2]

In the Commonwealth of Nations, the word government is also used more narrowly to refer to the ministry (collective executive), a collective group of people that exercises executive authority in a state or, metonymically, to the governing cabinet as part of the executive.

Finally, government is also sometimes used in English as a synonym for governance.

History

The moment and place that the phenomenon of human government developed is lost in time; however, history does record the formations of early governments. About 5,000 years ago, the first small city-states appeared.[6] By the third to second millenniums BC, some of these had developed into larger governed areas: Sumer, Ancient Egypt, the Indus Valley Civilization, and the Yellow River Civilization.[7]

The development of agriculture and water control projects were a catalyst for the development of governments.[8] For many thousands of years when people were hunter-gatherers and small scale farmers, humans lived in small, non-hierarchical and self-sufficient communities. On occasion a chief of a tribe was elected by various rituals or tests of strength to govern his tribe, sometimes with a group of elder tribesmen as a council. The human ability to precisely communicate abstract, learned information allowed humans to become ever more effective at agriculture,[9] and that allowed for ever increasing population densities.[6] David Christian explains how this resulted in states with laws and governments:[10]

As farming populations gathered in larger and denser communities, interactions between different groups increased and the social pressure rose until, in a striking parallel with star formation, new structures suddenly appeared, together with a new level of complexity. Like stars, cities and states reorganize and energize the smaller objects within their gravitational field.

— David Christian, p. 245, Maps of Time

Starting at the end of the 17th century, the prevalence of republican forms of government grew. The Glorious Revolution in England, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution contributed to the growth of representative forms of government. The Soviet Union was the first large country to have a Communist government.[2] Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, liberal democracy has become an even more prevalent form of government.[11]

In the nineteenth and twentieth century, there was a significant increase in the size and scale of government at the national level.[12] This included the regulation of corporations and the development of the welfare state.[11]

Political science

Classifying government

In political science, it has long been a goal to create a typology or taxonomy of polities, as typologies of political systems are not obvious.[13] It is especially important in the political science fields of comparative politics and international relations. Like all categories discerned within forms of government, the boundaries of government classifications are either fluid or ill-defined.

Superficially, all governments have an official or ideal form. The United States is a constitutional republic, while the former Soviet Union was a socialist republic. However self-identification is not objective, and as Kopstein and Lichbach argue, defining regimes can be tricky.[14] For example, elections are a defining characteristic of an electoral democracy, but in practice elections in the former Soviet Union were not "free and fair" and took place in a one-party state. Voltaire argued that "the Holy Roman Empire is neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire".[15] Many governments that officially call themselves a "democratic republic" are not democratic, nor a republic; they are usually a dictatorship de facto. Communist dictatorships have been especially prone to use this term. For example, the official name of North Vietnam was "The Democratic Republic of Vietnam". China uses a variant, "The People's Republic of China". Thus in many practical classifications it would not be considered democratic.

Identifying a form of government is also difficult because many political systems originate as socio-economic movements and are then carried into governments by parties naming themselves after those movements; all with competing political-ideologies. Experience with those movements in power, and the strong ties they may have to particular forms of government, can cause them to be considered as forms of government in themselves.

Other complications include general non-consensus or deliberate "distortion or bias" of reasonable technical definitions to political ideologies and associated forms of governing, due to the nature of politics in the modern era. For example: The meaning of "conservatism" in the United States has little in common with the way the word's definition is used elsewhere. As Ribuffo notes, "what Americans now call conservatism much of the world calls liberalism or neoliberalism".[16] Since the 1950s conservatism in the United States has been chiefly associated with the Republican Party. However, during the era of segregation many Southern Democrats were conservatives, and they played a key role in the Conservative Coalition that controlled Congress from 1937 to 1963.[17]

Social-political ambiguity

Every country in the world is ruled by a system of governance that combines at least three or more political or economic attributes. Additionally, opinions vary by individuals concerning the types and properties of governments that exist. "Shades of gray" are commonplace in any government and its corresponding classification. Even the most liberal democracies limit rival political activity to one extent or another while the most tyrannical dictatorships must organize a broad base of support thereby creating difficulties for "pigeonholing" governments into narrow categories. Examples include the claims of the United States as being a plutocracy rather than a democracy since some American voters believe elections are being manipulated by wealthy Super PACs.[18]

The dialectical forms of government

The Classical Greek philosopher Plato discusses five types of regimes: aristocracy, timocracy, oligarchy, democracy and tyranny. Plato also assigns a man to each of these regimes to illustrate what they stand for. The tyrannical man would represent tyranny for example. These five regimes progressively degenerate starting with aristocracy at the top and tyranny at the bottom.

Forms of government

One method of classifying governments is through which people have the authority to rule. This can either be one person (an autocracy, such as monarchy), a select group of people (an aristocracy), or the people as a whole (a democracy, such as a republic).

The division of governments as monarchy, aristocracy and democracy has been used since Aristotle's Politics. In his book Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes expands on this classification.

The difference of Commonwealths consisteth in the difference of the sovereign, or the person representative of all and every one of the multitude. And because the sovereignty is either in one man, or in an assembly of more than one; and into that assembly either every man hath right to enter, or not every one, but certain men distinguished from the rest; it is manifest there can be but three kinds of Commonwealth. For the representative must needs be one man, or more; and if more, then it is the assembly of all, or but of a part. When the representative is one man, then is the Commonwealth a monarchy; when an assembly of all that will come together, then it is a democracy, or popular Commonwealth; when an assembly of a part only, then it is called an aristocracy. Other kind of Commonwealth there can be none: for either one, or more, or all, must have the sovereign power (which I have shown to be indivisible) entire.[19]

Autocracy

An autocracy is a system of government in which supreme power is concentrated in the hands of one person, whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regularized mechanisms of popular control (except perhaps for the implicit threat of a coup d'état or mass insurrection).[20]

A despotism is a government ruled by a single entity with absolute power, whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regular mechanisms of popular control (except perhaps for implicit threat). That entity may be an individual, as in an autocracy, or it may be a group, as in an oligarchy. The word despotism means to "rule in the fashion of despots".

A monarchy is where a family or group of families (rarely another type of group), called the royalty, represents national identity, with power traditionally assigned to one of its individuals, called the monarch, who mostly rule kingdoms. The actual role of the monarch and other members of royalty varies from purely symbolical (crowned republic) to partial and restricted (constitutional monarchy) to completely despotic (absolute monarchy). Traditionally and in most cases, the post of the monarch is inherited, but there are also elective monarchies where the monarch is elected.

Aristocracy

Aristocracy (Greek ἀριστοκρατία aristokratía, from ἄριστος aristos "excellent", and κράτος kratos "power") is a form of government that places power in the hands of a small, privileged ruling class.[21]

Many monarchies were aristocracies, although in modern constitutional monarchies the monarch himself or herself has little real power. The term "Aristocracy" could also refer to the non-peasant, non-servant, and non-city classes in the Feudal system.

An oligarchy is ruled by a small group of segregated, powerful or influential people who usually share similar interests or family relations. These people may spread power and elect candidates equally or not equally. An oligarchy is different from a true democracy because very few people are given the chance to change things. An oligarchy does not have to be hereditary or monarchic. An oligarchy does not have one clear ruler but several rulers.

Some historical examples of oligarchy are the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Some critics of representative democracy think of the United States as an oligarchy. The Athenian democracy used sortition to elect candidates, almost always male, Greek, educated citizens holding a minimum of land, wealth and status.

A theocracy is rule by a religious elite; a system of governance composed of religious institutions in which the state and the church are traditionally or constitutionally the same entity. The Vatican's (see Pope), Iran's (see Supreme Leader), Tibetan government's (see Dalai Lama), Caliphates and other Islamic states are historically considered theocracies.

Democracy

In a general sense, in a democracy, all the people of a state or polity are involved in making decisions about its affairs. Also refer to the rule by a government chosen by election where most of the populace are enfranchised. The key distinction between a democracy and other forms of constitutional government is usually taken to be that the right to vote is not limited by a person's wealth or race (the main qualification for enfranchisement is usually having reached a certain age). A democratic government is, therefore, one supported (at least at the time of the election) by a majority of the populace (provided the election was held fairly). A "majority" may be defined in different ways. There are many "power-sharing" (usually in countries where people mainly identify themselves by race or religion) or "electoral-college" or "constituency" systems where the government is not chosen by a simple one-vote-per-person headcount.

In democracies, large proportions of the population may vote, either to make decisions or to choose representatives to make decisions. Commonly significant in democracies are political parties, which are groups of people with similar ideas about how a country or region should be governed. Different political parties have different ideas about how the government should handle different problems.

Liberal democracy is a variant of democracy. It is a form of government in which representative democracy operates under the principles of liberalism. It is characterised by fair, free, and competitive elections between multiple distinct political parties, a separation of powers into different branches of government, the rule of law in everyday life as part of an open society, and the protection of human rights and civil liberties for all persons. To define the system in practice, liberal democracies often draw upon a constitution, either formally written or uncodified, to delineate the powers of government and enshrine the social contract. After a period of sustained expansion throughout the 20th century, liberal democracy became the predominant political system in the world. A liberal democracy may take various constitutional forms: it may be a republic, such as France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Taiwan, or the United States; or a constitutional monarchy, such as Japan, Spain, or the United Kingdom. It may have a presidential system (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, or the United States), a semi-presidential system (France, Portugal, or Taiwan), or a parliamentary system (Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, India, Italy, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom).

Republics

A republic is a form of government in which the country is considered a "public matter" (Latin: res publica), not the private concern or property of the rulers, and where offices of states are subsequently directly or indirectly elected or appointed rather than inherited. The people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people.[22][23] A common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of state is not a monarch.[24][25] Montesquieu included both democracies, where all the people have a share in rule, and aristocracies or oligarchies, where only some of the people rule, as republican forms of government.[26]

Other terms used to describe different republics include Democratic republic, Parliamentary republic, Federal republic, and Islamic Republic.

Scope of government

Rule by authoritarian governments is identified in societies where a specific set of people possess the authority of the state in a republic or union. It is a political system controlled by unelected rulers who usually permit some degree of individual freedom. Rule by a totalitarian government is characterised by a highly centralised and coercive authority that regulates nearly every aspect of public and private life.

In contrast, a constitutional republic is rule by a government whose powers are limited by law or a formal constitution, and chosen by a vote amongst at least some sections of the populace (Ancient Sparta was in its own terms a republic, though most inhabitants were disenfranchised). Republics that exclude sections of the populace from participation will typically claim to represent all citizens (by defining people without the vote as "non-citizens"). Examples include the United States, South Africa, India, etc.

Federalism

Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together by covenant (Latin: foedus, covenant) with a governing representative head. The term "federalism" is also used to describe a system of government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and constituent political units (such as states or provinces). Federalism is a system based upon democratic rules and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between national and provincial/state governments, creating what is often called a federation. Proponents are often called federalists.

Economic systems

Historically, most political systems originated as socioeconomic ideologies. Experience with those movements in power and the strong ties they may have to particular forms of government can cause them to be considered as forms of government in themselves.

Term Definition
Capitalism A social-economic system in which the means of production (machines, tools, factories, etc.) are under private ownership and their use is for profit.
Communism A social-economic system in which means of production are commonly owned (either by the people directly, through the commune or by communist society), and production is undertaken for use, rather than for profit.[27][28] Communist society is thus stateless, classless, moneyless, and democratic.
Distributism A social-economic system in which widespread property ownership as fundamental right;[29] the means of production are spread as widely as possible rather than being centralized under the control of the state (state socialism), a few individuals (plutocracy), or corporations (corporatocracy).[30] Distributism fundamentally opposes socialism and capitalism,[31][32] which distributists view as equally flawed and exploitative. In contrast, distributism seeks to subordinate economic activity to human life as a whole, to our spiritual life, our intellectual life, our family life".[33]
Feudalism A social-economic system of land ownership and duties. Under feudalism, all the land in a kingdom was the king's. However, the king would give some of the land to the lords or nobles who fought for him. These presents of land were called manors. Then the nobles gave some of their land to vassals. The vassals then had to do duties for the nobles. The lands of vassals were called fiefs.
Socialism A social-economic system in which workers, democratically and socially own the means of production[34] and the economic framework may be decentralized, distributed or centralized planned or self-managed in autonomous economic units.[35] Public services would be commonly, collectively, or state owned, such as healthcare and education.
Statism A social-economic system that concentrates power in the state at the expense of individual freedom. Among other variants, the term subsumes theocracy, absolute monarchy, Nazism, fascism, authoritarian socialism, and plain, unadorned dictatorship. Such variants differ on matters of form, tactics and ideology.
Welfare state A social-economic system in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life.

Maps

Forms of government
States by their systems of government. For the complete list of systems by country, see List of countries by system of government.
  Parliamentary republics with an executive presidency elected by and dependent on parliament
  Parliamentary constitutional monarchies in which the monarch does not personally exercise power
  Constitutional monarchies in which the monarch personally exercises power, often alongside a weak parliament
  Republics whose constitutions grant only one party the right to govern
  Monarchies where constitutional provisions for government have been suspended
  States that do not fit in any of the above listed systems
EIU Democracy Index 2017
Democracy Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit, 2017.[36]
World administrative levels
World administrative levels
Map of unitary and federal states
A world map distinguishing countries of the world as federations (green) from unitary states (blue).

See also

Principles

Certain major characteristics are defining of certain types; others are historically associated with certain types of government.

Autonomy

This list focuses on differing approaches that political systems take to the distribution of sovereignty, and the autonomy of regions within the state.

References

  1. ^ "government". Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press. November 2010.
  2. ^ a b c International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Elsevier. 2001. ISBN 978-0-08-043076-8.
  3. ^ "government". OxfordDictionaries.com. 2010.
  4. ^ The Encyclopædia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information. Encyclopædia Britannica Company. 1911.
  5. ^ Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th edition. Columbia University Press. 2000.
  6. ^ a b Christian 2004, p. 245.
  7. ^ Christian 2004, p. 294.
  8. ^ The New Encyclopædia Britannica (15th edition)
  9. ^ Christian 2004, pp. 146–147.
  10. ^ Christian, David (2004). Maps of Time. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-24476-4.
  11. ^ a b Adam Kuper and Jessica Kuper (ed.). The Social Science Encyclopedia. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-47635-5.
  12. ^ The Oxford Handbook of State and Local Government, 2014, ISBN 978-0-19-957967-9
  13. ^ Lewellen, Ted C. Political Anthropology: An Introduction Third Edition. Praeger Publishers; 3rd edition (2003)
  14. ^ Comparative politics : interests, identities, and institutions in a changing global order, Jeffrey Kopstein, Mark Lichbach (eds.), 2nd ed, Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN 0521708400, p. 4.
  15. ^ Renna, Thomas (Sep 2015). "The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire". Michigan Academician. 42 (1): 60–75. doi:10.7245/0026-2005-42.1.60.
  16. ^ Leo P. Ribuffo, "20 Suggestions for Studying the Right now that Studying the Right is Trendy," Historically Speaking Jan 2011 v.12#1 pp. 2–6, quote on p. 6
  17. ^ Kari Frederickson, The Dixiecrat Revolt and the End of the Solid South, 1932–1968, p. 12, "...conservative southern Democrats viewed warily the potential of New Deal programs to threaten the region's economic dependence on cheap labor while stirring the democratic ambitions of the disfranchised and undermining white supremacy.", The University of North Carolina Press, 2000, ISBN 978-0-8078-4910-1
  18. ^ "Plutocrats – The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else" Archived 7 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan  – via Wikisource.
  20. ^ Paul M. Johnson. "Autocracy: A Glossary of Political Economy Terms". Auburn.edu. Retrieved 2012-09-14.
  21. ^ "Aristocracy". Oxford English Dictionary. December 1989. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved December 22, 2009.
  22. ^ Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws (1748), Bk. II, ch. 1.
  23. ^ "Republic". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  24. ^ "republic". WordNet 3.0. Retrieved 20 March 2009.
  25. ^ "Republic". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
  26. ^ Montesquieu, Spirit of the Laws, Bk. II, ch. 2–3.
  27. ^ Steele, David Ramsay (September 1999). From Marx to Mises: Post Capitalist Society and the Challenge of Economic Calculation. Open Court. p. 66. ISBN 978-0875484495. Marx distinguishes between two phases of marketless communism: an initial phase, with labor vouchers, and a higher phase, with free access.
  28. ^ Busky, Donald F. (July 20, 2000). Democratic Socialism: A Global Survey. Praeger. p. 4. ISBN 978-0275968861. Communism would mean free distribution of goods and services. The communist slogan, 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs' (as opposed to 'work') would then rule
  29. ^ Shiach, Morag (2004). Modernism, Labour and Selfhood in British Literature and Culture, 1890–1930. Cambridge University Press. p. 224. ISBN 978-0-521-83459-9
  30. ^ Zwick, Mark and Louise (2004). The Catholic Worker Movement: Intellectual and Spiritual Origins . Paulist Press. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-8091-4315-3
  31. ^ Boyle, David; Simms, Andrew (2009). The New Economics. Routledge. p. 20. ISBN 978-1-84407-675-8
  32. ^ Novak, Michael; Younkins, Edward W. (2001). Three in One: Essays on Democratic Capitalism, 1976–2000. Rowman and Littlefield. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-7425-1171-2
  33. ^ Storck, Thomas. "Capitalism and Distributism: two systems at war," in Beyond Capitalism & Socialism. Tobias J. Lanz, ed. IHS Press, 2008. p. 75
  34. ^ Sinclair, Upton (1918). Upton Sinclair's: A Monthly Magazine: for Social Justice, by Peaceful Means If Possible. Socialism, you see, is a bird with two wings. The definition is 'social ownership and democratic control of the instruments and means of production.'
  35. ^ Schweickart, David. Democratic Socialism Archived 17 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice (2006): "Virtually all (democratic) socialists have distanced themselves from the economic model long synonymous with 'socialism,' i.e. the Soviet model of a non-market, centrally-planned economy...Some have endorsed the concept of 'market socialism,' a post-capitalist economy that retains market competition, but socializes the means of production, and, in some versions, extends democracy to the workplace. Some hold out for a non-market, participatory economy. All democratic socialists agree on the need for a democratic alternative to capitalism."
  36. ^ "Democracy Index 2017 – Economist Intelligence Unit" (PDF). EIU.com. Retrieved 17 February 2018.

Bibliography

  • American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 0-395-82517-2

Further reading

  • Krader, Lawrence (1968). Formation of the State, in Foundations of Modern Anthropology Series. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. 118 pp.
  • Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith (2011). The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics. Random House. p. 272. ISBN 9781610390446. OCLC 701015473.
  • Friedrich, Carl J.; Brzezinski, Zbigniew K. (1965). Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy (2nd ed.). Praeger.
  • Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce; Smith, Alastair; Siverson, Randolph M.; Morrow, James D. (2003). The Logic of Political Survival. The MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-63315-4.
  • William J. Dobson (2013). The Dictator's Learning Curve: Inside the Global Battle for Democracy. Anchor. ISBN 978-0307477552.

External links

Canberra

Canberra ( (listen))

is the capital city of Australia. With a population of 410,301, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory, 280 km (170 mi) south-west of Sydney, and 660 km (410 mi) north-east of Melbourne. A resident of Canberra is known as a Canberran. Although Canberra is the capital and seat of government, many federal government ministries have secondary seats in state capital cities, as do the Governor-General and the Prime Minister.

The site of Canberra was selected for the location of the nation's capital in 1908 as a compromise between rivals Sydney and Melbourne, Australia's two largest cities. It is unusual among Australian cities, being an entirely planned city outside of any state, similar to Washington, D.C., in the United States, or Brasília in Brazil. Following an international contest for the city's design, a blueprint by American architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin was selected and construction commenced in 1913. The Griffins' plan featured geometric motifs such as circles, hexagons and triangles, and was centred on axes aligned with significant topographical landmarks in the Australian Capital Territory.

The city's design was influenced by the garden city movement and incorporates significant areas of natural vegetation. The growth and development of Canberra were hindered by the World Wars and the Great Depression, which exacerbated a series of planning disputes and the ineffectiveness of a procession of bodies that were created in turn to oversee the development of the city. The national capital emerged as a thriving city after World War II, as Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies championed its development and the National Capital Development Commission was formed with executive powers. Although the Australian Capital Territory is now self-governing, the Commonwealth Government retains some influence through the National Capital Authority.

As the seat of the government of Australia, Canberra is the site of Parliament House, the official residence of the Monarch's representative the Governor-General, the High Court and numerous government departments and agencies. It is also the location of many social and cultural institutions of national significance, such as the Australian War Memorial, Australian National University, Royal Australian Mint, Australian Institute of Sport, National Gallery, National Museum and the National Library. The Australian Army's officer corps is trained at the Royal Military College, Duntroon and the Australian Defence Force Academy is also located in the capital.

The ACT is independent of any state to prevent any one state from gaining an advantage by hosting the seat of Commonwealth power. The ACT has voting representation in the Commonwealth Parliament, and has its own Legislative Assembly and government, similar to the states.

As the city has a high proportion of public servants, the Commonwealth Government contributes the largest percentage of Gross State Product and is the largest single employer in Canberra, although no longer the majority employer. Compared to the national averages, the unemployment rate is lower and the average income higher; tertiary education levels are higher, while the population is younger. Property prices are relatively high, in part due to comparatively restrictive development regulations.

Countries of the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom (UK) comprises four countries: England, Scotland and Wales (which collectively make up Great Britain) and Northern Ireland (which is variously described as a country, province or region).Within the United Kingdom, a unitary sovereign state, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have gained a degree of autonomy through the process of devolution. The UK Parliament and British Government deal with all reserved matters for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, but not in general matters that have been devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly, Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales. Additionally, devolution in Northern Ireland is conditional on co-operation between the Northern Ireland Executive and the Government of Ireland (see North/South Ministerial Council) and the British Government consults with the Government of Ireland to reach agreement on some non-devolved matters for Northern Ireland (see British–Irish Intergovernmental Conference). England, comprising the majority of the population and area of the United Kingdom, remains fully the responsibility of the UK Parliament centralised in London.

England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are not themselves listed in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) list of countries. However the ISO list of the subdivisions of the UK, compiled by British Standards and the UK's Office for National Statistics, uses "country" to describe England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland, in contrast, is described as a "province" in the same lists. Each has separate national governing bodies for sports and compete separately in many international sporting competitions, including the Commonwealth Games. Northern Ireland also forms joint All-Island sporting bodies with the Republic of Ireland for most sports, including rugby union.The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are dependencies of the Crown and are not part of the UK. Similarly, the British overseas territories, remnants of the British Empire, are not part of the UK.

Historically, from 1801, following the Acts of Union, until 1921 the whole island of Ireland was a country within the UK. Ireland was split into two separate jurisdictions in 1921: Southern Ireland and Northern Ireland. Southern Ireland left the United Kingdom under the Irish Free State Constitution Act 1922.

Executive (government)

The executive is the organ exercising authority in and holding responsibility for the governance of a state. The executive executes and enforces law.

In political systems based on the principle of separation of powers, authority is distributed among several branches (executive, legislative, judicial)—an attempt to prevent the concentration of power in the hands of a small group of people. In such a system, the executive does not pass laws (the role of the legislature) or interpret them (the role of the judiciary). Instead, the executive enforces the law as written by the legislature and interpreted by the judiciary. The executive can be the source of certain types of law, such as a decree or executive order. Executive bureaucracies are commonly the source of regulations.

In the Westminster political system, the principle of separation of powers is not as entrenched. Members of the executive, called ministers, are also members of the legislature, and hence play an important part in both the writing and enforcing of law.

In this context, the executive consists of a leader(s) of an office or multiple offices. Specifically, the top leadership roles of the executive branch may include:

head of state – often the supreme leader, the president or monarch, the chief public representative and living symbol of national unity.

head of government – often the de facto leader, prime minister, overseeing the administration of all affairs of state.

defence minister – overseeing the armed forces, determining military policy and managing external safety.

interior minister – overseeing the police forces, enforcing the law and managing internal safety.

foreign minister – overseeing the diplomatic service, determining foreign policy and managing foreign relations.

finance minister – overseeing the treasury, determining fiscal policy and managing national budget.

justice minister – overseeing criminal prosecutions, corrections, enforcement of court orders.In a presidential system, the leader of the executive is both the head of state and head of government. In a parliamentary system, a cabinet minister responsible to the legislature is the head of government, while the head of state is usually a largely ceremonial monarch or president.

Federal government of the United States

The Federal Government of the United States (U.S. Federal Government) is the national government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and several island possessions. The federal government is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial, whose powers are vested by the U.S. Constitution in the Congress, the President, and the federal courts, respectively. The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts of congress, including the creation of executive departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court.

Government of India

The Government of India (IAST: Bhārata Sarakāra), often abbreviated as GoI, is the union government created by the constitution of India as the legislative, executive and judicial authority of the union of 29 states and seven union territories of a constitutionally democratic republic. It is located in New Delhi, the capital of India.

Government of the United Kingdom

The Government of the United Kingdom, formally referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is also commonly referred to as simply the UK Government or the British Government.The government is led by the Prime Minister, who selects all the remaining ministers. The prime minister and the other most senior ministers belong to the supreme decision-making committee, known as the Cabinet. The government ministers all sit in Parliament, and are accountable to it. The government is dependent on Parliament to make primary legislation, and since the Fixed-terms Parliaments Act 2011, general elections are held every five years to elect a new House of Commons, unless there is a successful vote of no confidence in the government or a two-thirds vote for a snap election (as was the case in 2017) in the House of Commons, in which case an election may be held sooner. After an election, the monarch (currently Queen Elizabeth II) selects as prime minister the leader of the party most likely to command the confidence of the House of Commons, usually by possessing a majority of MPs.Under the uncodified British constitution, executive authority lies with the monarch, although this authority is exercised only by, or on the advice of, the prime minister and the cabinet. The Cabinet members advise the monarch as members of the Privy Council. In most cases they also exercise power directly as leaders of the Government Departments, though some Cabinet positions are sinecures to a greater or lesser degree (for instance Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster or Lord Privy Seal).

The current prime minister is Theresa May, who took office on 13 July 2016. She is the leader of the Conservative Party, which won a majority of seats in the House of Commons in the general election on 7 May 2015, when David Cameron was the party leader; although at the last general election she failed to secure a majority government. Prior to this, Cameron and the Conservatives led a coalition from 2010 to 2015 with the Liberal Democrats, in which Cameron was prime minister.

The Government is occasionally referred to with the metonym Westminster, due to that being where many of the offices of the government are situated, especially by members in the Government of Scotland, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive in order to differentiate it from their own.

Iranian Revolution

The Iranian Revolution (Persian: انقلاب ایران‎, translit. Enqelābe Irān; also known as the Islamic Revolution or the 1979 Revolution) was a series of events that involved the overthrow of the monarch of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, and the replacement of his government with an Islamic republic under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a leader of one of the factions in the revolt. The movement against the United States-backed monarchy was supported by various leftist and Islamist organizations and student movements.

Demonstrations against the Shah commenced in October 1977, developing into a campaign of civil resistance that included both secular and religious elements, and which intensified in January 1978. Between August and December 1978, strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the country. The Shah left Iran for exile on 16 January 1979, as the last Persian monarch, leaving his duties to a regency council and Shapour Bakhtiar who was an opposition-based prime minister. Ayatollah Khomeini was invited back to Iran by the government, and returned to Tehran to a greeting by several million Iranians. The royal reign collapsed shortly after on 11 February when guerrillas and rebel troops overwhelmed troops loyal to the Shah in armed street fighting, bringing Khomeini to official power. Iran voted by national referendum to become an Islamic republic on 1 April 1979 and to formulate and approve a new theocratic-republican constitution whereby Khomeini became Supreme Leader of the country in December 1979.

The revolution was unusual for the surprise it created throughout the world: it lacked many of the customary causes of revolution (defeat at war, a financial crisis, peasant rebellion, or disgruntled military), occurred in a nation that was experiencing relative prosperity, produced profound change at great speed, was massively popular, resulted in the exile of many Iranians, and replaced a pro-Western authoritarian monarchy with an anti-Western totalitarian theocracy based on the concept of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists (or velayat-e faqih). It was a relatively non-violent revolution, and it helped to redefine the meaning and practice of modern revolutions (although there was violence in its aftermath).

List of Prime Ministers of India

The Prime Minister of India is the chief executive of the Government of India. In India's parliamentary system, the Constitution names the President as head of state de jure, but his or her de facto executive powers are vested in the prime minister and their Council of Ministers. Appointed and sworn-in by the President, the prime minister is usually the leader of the party or alliance that has a majority in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament of India.Since 1947, India has had 14 prime ministers, fifteen including Gulzarilal Nanda who twice acted in the role. The first was Jawaharlal Nehru of the Indian National Congress party, who was sworn in on 15 August 1947, when India gained independence from the British Raj. Serving until his death in May 1964, Nehru remains India's longest-serving prime minister. He was succeeded by fellow Congressman Lal Bahadur Shastri, whose 19-month term also ended in death. Indira Gandhi, Nehru's daughter, succeeded Shastri in 1966 to become the country's first woman prime minister. Eleven years later, she was voted out of power in favour of the Janata Party, whose leader Morarji Desai became the first non-Congress prime minister. After he resigned in 1979, his former deputy Charan Singh briefly held office until Indira Gandhi was voted back six months later. Her second stint as prime minister ended five years later on the morning of 31 October 1984, when she was gunned down by her own bodyguards. That evening, her son Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as India's youngest premier and the third from his family. Members of Nehru-Gandhi family have been prime minister for a total of 37 years and 303 days.Rajiv's five-year term ended with his former cabinet colleague, V. P. Singh of the Janata Dal, forming the year-long National Front coalition government in 1989. A seven-month interlude under prime minister Chandra Shekhar followed, after which the Congress party returned to power, forming the government under P. V. Narasimha Rao in June 1991. Rao's five-year term was succeeded by four short-lived governments—Atal Bihari Vajpayee from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for 13 days in 1996, a year each under United Front prime ministers H. D. Deve Gowda and I. K. Gujral, and Vajpayee again for 19 months in 1998–99. After Vajpayee was sworn-in for the third time, in 1999, he managed to lead his National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government to a full five-year term, the first non-Congress alliance to do so. Vajpayee was succeeded by Manmohan Singh, whose United Progressive Alliance government was in office for 10 years between 2004 and 2014. The incumbent prime minister of India is Narendra Modi who has headed the BJP-led NDA government since 26 May 2014 which is India's first non-Congress single party majority government.

Non-governmental organization

Non-governmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations, or nongovernment organizations, commonly referred to as NGOs, are usually non-profit and sometimes international organizations independent of governments and international governmental organizations (though often funded by governments) that are active in humanitarian, educational, health care, public policy, social, human rights, environmental, and other areas to affect changes according to their objectives. They are thus a subgroup of all organizations founded by citizens, which include clubs and other associations that provide services, benefits, and premises only to members. Sometimes the term is used as a synonym of "civil society organization" to refer to any association founded by citizens, but this is not how the term is normally used in the media or everyday language, as recorded by major dictionaries. The explanation of the term by NGO.org (the non-governmental organizations associated with the United Nations) is ambivalent. It first says an NGO is any non-profit, voluntary citizens' group which is organized on a local, national or international level, but then goes on to restrict the meaning in the sense used by most English speakers and the media: Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of service and humanitarian functions, bring citizen concerns to Governments, advocate and monitor policies and encourage political participation through provision of information.NGOs are usually funded by donations, but some avoid formal funding altogether and are run primarily by volunteers. NGOs are highly diverse groups of organizations engaged in a wide range of activities, and take different forms in different parts of the world. Some may have charitable status, while others may be registered for tax exemption based on recognition of social purposes. Others may be fronts for political, religious, or other interests. Since the end of World War II, NGOs have had an increasing role in international development, particularly in the fields of humanitarian assistance and poverty alleviation.The number of NGOs worldwide is estimated to be 10 million. Russia had about 277,000 NGOs in 2008. India is estimated to have had around 2 million NGOs in 2009, just over one NGO per 600 Indians, and many times the number of primary schools and primary health centres in India. China is estimated to have approximately 440,000 officially registered NGOs. About 1.5 million domestic and foreign NGOs operated in the United States in 2017.The term 'NGO' is not always used consistently. In some countries the term NGO is applied to an organization that in another country would be called an NPO (non-profit organization), and vice versa. Political parties and trade unions are considered NGOs only in some countries. There are many different classifications of NGO in use. The most common focus is on "orientation" and "level of operation". An NGO's orientation refers to the type of activities it takes on. These activities might include human rights, environmental, improving health, or development work. An NGO's level of operation indicates the scale at which an organization works, such as local, regional, national, or international.The term "non-governmental organization" was first coined in 1945, when the United Nations (UN) was created. The UN, itself an intergovernmental organization, made it possible for certain approved specialized international non-state agencies — i.e., non-governmental organizations — to be awarded observer status at its assemblies and some of its meetings. Later the term became used more widely. Today, according to the UN, any kind of private organization that is independent from government control can be termed an "NGO", provided it is not-for-profit, non-prevention, but not simply an opposition political party.

One characteristic these diverse organizations share is that their non-profit status means they are not hindered by short-term financial objectives. Accordingly, they are able to devote themselves to issues which occur across longer time horizons, such as climate change, malaria prevention, or a global ban on landmines. Public surveys reveal that NGOs often enjoy a high degree of public trust, which can make them a useful - but not always sufficient - proxy for the concerns of society and stakeholders.

Politics

Politics (from Greek: πολιτικά, translit. Politiká, meaning "affairs of the cities") refers to a set of activities associated with the governance of a country, or an area. It involves making decisions that apply to members of a group.It refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance—organized control over a human community, particularly a state. The academic study focusing on just politics, which is therefore more targeted than general political science, is sometimes referred to as politology (not to be confused with politicology, a synonym of political science).

In modern nation-states, people have formed political parties to represent their ideas. They agree to take the same position on many issues and agree to support the same changes to law and the same leaders.An election is usually a competition between different parties. Some examples of political parties worldwide are: the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa, the Conservative in the United Kingdom, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Germany and the Indian National Congress in India.

Politics is a multifaceted word. It has a set of fairly specific meanings that are descriptive and nonjudgmental (such as "the art or science of government" and "political principles"), but does often colloquially carry a negative connotation. The word has been used negatively for many years: the British national anthem as published in 1745 calls on God to "Confound their politics", and the phrase "play politics", for example, has been in use since at least 1853, when abolitionist Wendell Phillips declared: "We do not play politics; anti-slavery is no half-jest with us."A variety of methods are deployed in politics, which include promoting one's own political views among people, negotiation with other political subjects, making laws, and exercising force, including warfare against adversaries. Politics is exercised on a wide range of social levels, from clans and tribes of traditional societies, through modern local governments, companies and institutions up to sovereign states, to the international level.

A political system is a framework which defines acceptable political methods within a given society. The history of political thought can be traced back to early antiquity, with seminal works such as Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Politics and the works of Confucius.

Politics of the United States

The United States is a federal republic in which the President, Congress and federal courts share powers reserved to the national government, according to its Constitution. The federal government shares sovereignty with the state governments.

The executive branch is headed by the President and is formally independent of both the legislature and the judiciary. The cabinet serves as a set of advisers to the President. They include the Vice President and heads of the executive departments. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The judicial branch (or judiciary), composed of the Supreme Court and lower federal courts, exercises judicial power. The judiciary's function is to interpret the United States Constitution and federal laws and regulations. This includes resolving disputes between the executive and legislative branches. The federal government's structure is codified in the Constitution.

Two political parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, have dominated American politics since the American Civil War, although smaller parties exist such as the Libertarian Party, the Green Party and the Constitution Party. Generally, the Democratic Party is commonly known as the center-left liberal party within the United States, while the Republican Party is commonly known as a centre-right conservative party.

There are a few major differences between the political system of the United States and that of most other developed democracies. These include greater power in the upper house of the legislature, a wider scope of power held by the Supreme Court, the separation of powers between the legislature and the executive and the dominance of only two main parties. Third parties have less political influence in the United States than in other democratically run developed countries; this is because of a combination of stringent historic controls. These controls take shape in the form of state and federal laws, informal media prohibitions and winner-take-all elections and include ballot access issues and exclusive debate rules. There have been five United States presidential elections in which the winner lost the popular vote.

Prime Minister of India

The Prime Minister of India is the leader of the executive of the Government of India. The prime minister is also the chief adviser to the President of India and head of the Council of Ministers. They can be a member of any of the two houses of the Parliament of India—the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of the States)—but has to be a member of the political party or coalition, having a majority in the Lok Sabha.

The prime minister is the senior-most member of cabinet in the executive of government in a parliamentary system. The prime minister selects and can dismiss members of the cabinet; allocates posts to members within the government; and is the presiding member and chairperson of the cabinet.

The union cabinet headed by the prime minister is appointed by the President of India to assist the latter in the administration of the affairs of the executive. Union cabinet is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha as per article 75(3) of the Constitution of India. The prime minister has to enjoy the confidence of a majority in the Lok Sabha and shall resign if they are unable to prove majority when instructed by the president.

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (informally abbreviated to PM) is the head of government of the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister directs both the executive and the legislature, and together with their Cabinet (consisting of all the most senior ministers, most of whom are government department heads) are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Monarch, to Parliament, to their political party and ultimately to the electorate. The office of Prime Minister is one of the Great Offices of State. The current holder of the office, Theresa May, leader of the Conservative Party, was appointed by the Queen on 13 July 2016.The office is not established by any statute or constitutional document but exists only by long-established convention, which stipulates that the monarch must appoint as Prime Minister the person most likely to command the confidence of the House of Commons; this individual is typically the leader of the political party or coalition of parties that holds the largest number of seats in that chamber. The position of Prime Minister was not created; it evolved slowly and erratically over three hundred years due to numerous acts of Parliament, political developments, and accidents of history. The office is therefore best understood from a historical perspective. The origins of the position are found in constitutional changes that occurred during the Revolutionary Settlement (1688–1720) and the resulting shift of political power from the Sovereign to Parliament. Although the Sovereign was not stripped of the ancient prerogative powers and legally remained the head of government, politically it gradually became necessary for him or her to govern through a Prime Minister who could command a majority in Parliament.

By the 1830s the Westminster system of government (or cabinet government) had emerged; the Prime Minister had become primus inter pares or the first among equals in the Cabinet and the head of government in the United Kingdom. The political position of Prime Minister was enhanced by the development of modern political parties, the introduction of mass communication (inexpensive newspapers, radio, television and the internet), and photography. By the start of the 20th century the modern premiership had emerged; the office had become the pre-eminent position in the constitutional hierarchy vis-à-vis the Sovereign, Parliament and Cabinet.

Prior to 1902, the Prime Minister sometimes came from the House of Lords, provided that his government could form a majority in the Commons. However as the power of the aristocracy waned during the 19th century the convention developed that the Prime Minister should always sit in the lower house. As leader of the House of Commons, the Prime Minister's authority was further enhanced by the Parliament Act 1911 which marginalised the influence of the House of Lords in the law-making process.

The Prime Minister is ex officio also First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. Certain privileges, such as residency of 10 Downing Street, are accorded to Prime Ministers by virtue of their position as First Lord of the Treasury. The status of the position as Prime Minister means that the incumbent is consistently ranked as one of the most powerful and influential people in the world.

Provinces and territories of Canada

The provinces and territories of Canada are the sub-national governments within the geographical areas of Canada under the authority of the Canadian Constitution. In the 1867 Canadian Confederation, three provinces of British North America—New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Province of Canada (which upon Confederation was divided into Ontario and Quebec)—were united to form a federated colony, becoming a sovereign nation in the next century. Over its history, Canada's international borders have changed several times, and the country has grown from the original four provinces to the current ten provinces and three territories. Together, the provinces and territories make up the world's second-largest country by area.

Several of the provinces were former British colonies, and Quebec was originally a French colony, while others were added as Canada grew. The three territories govern the rest of the area of the former British North America.

The major difference between a Canadian province and a territory is that provinces receive their power and authority from the Constitution Act, 1867 (formerly called the British North America Act, 1867), whereas territorial governments have powers delegated to them by the Parliament of Canada. The powers flowing from the Constitution Act are divided between the Government of Canada (the federal government) and the provincial governments to exercise exclusively. A change to the division of powers between the federal government and the provinces requires a constitutional amendment, whereas a similar change affecting the territories can be performed unilaterally by the Parliament of Canada or government.

In modern Canadian constitutional theory, the provinces are considered to be sovereign within certain areas based on the divisions of responsibility between the provincial and federal government within the Constitution Act 1867, and each province thus has its own representative of the Canadian "Crown", the lieutenant governor. The territories are not sovereign, but instead their authorities and responsibilities come directly from the federal level, and as a result, have a commissioner instead of a lieutenant governor.

Republic

A republic (Latin: res publica) is a form of government in which the country is considered a “public matter”, not the private concern or property of the rulers. The primary positions of power within a republic are not inherited, but are attained through democracy, oligarchy or autocracy. It is a form of government under which the head of state is not a monarch.In American English, the definition of a republic refers specifically to a form of government in which elected individuals represent the citizen body and exercise power according to the rule of law under a constitution, including separation of powers with an elected head of state, referred to as a constitutional republic or representative democracy.As of 2017, 159 of the world’s 206 sovereign states use the word “republic” as part of their official names – not all of these are republics in the sense of having elected governments, nor is the word “republic” used in the names of all nations with elected governments. While heads of state often tend to claim that they rule only by the “consent of the governed”, elections in some countries have been found to be held more for the purpose of “show” than for the actual purpose of in reality providing citizens with any genuine ability to choose their own leaders.The word republic comes from the Latin term res publica, which literally means “public thing,” “public matter,” or “public affair” and was used to refer to the state as a whole. The term developed its modern meaning in reference to the constitution of the ancient Roman Republic, lasting from the overthrow of the kings in 509 B.C. to the establishment of the Empire in 27 B.C. This constitution was characterized by a Senate composed of wealthy aristocrats and wielding significant influence; several popular assemblies of all free citizens, possessing the power to elect magistrates and pass laws; and a series of magistracies with varying types of civil and political authority.

Most often a republic is a single sovereign state, but there are also sub-sovereign state entities that are referred to as republics, or that have governments that are described as “republican” in nature. For instance, Article IV of the United States Constitution "guarantee[s] to every State in this Union a Republican form of Government". In contrast, the former Soviet Union, which described itself as being a group of “Republics” and also as a “federal multinational state composed of 15 republics”, was widely viewed as being a totalitarian form of government and not a genuine republic, since its electoral system was structured so as to automatically guarantee the election of government-sponsored candidates.

Republic of China (1912–1949)

The Republic of China (ROC), was a state in East Asia which controlled the Chinese mainland between 1912 and 1949. The state was established in January 1912 after the Xinhai Revolution, which overthrew the Qing dynasty, the last imperial dynasty of China. Its government fled to Taipei in 1949 due to the Kuomintang's defeat in the Chinese Civil War. The Republic of China's first president, Sun Yat-sen, served only briefly before handing over the position to Yuan Shikai, leader of the Beiyang Army. His party, then led by Song Jiaoren won the parliamentary election held in December 1912. Song Jiaoren was assassinated shortly after and the Beiyang Army led by Yuan Shikai maintained full control of the Beiyang government. Between late 1915 and early 1916, Yuan Shikai tried to reinstate the monarchy before abdicating due to popular unrest. After Yuan Shikai's death in 1916, members of cliques in the Beiyang Army claimed their autonomy and clashed with each other. During this period, the authority of the Beiyang government was weakened by a restoration of the Qing dynasty.

In 1921, Sun Yat-sen's Kuomintang (KMT) established a rival government in Canton City, Canton Province, together with the fledgling Communist Party of China (CPC). The economy of North China, overtaxed to support warlord adventurism, collapsed between 1927 and 1928. General Chiang Kai-shek, who became KMT leader after Sun Yat-sen's death, started his Northern Expedition military campaign in 1926 to overthrow the Beiyang government, which was completed in 1928. In April 1927, Chiang established a Nationalist government in Nanking, and massacred communists in Shanghai, which forced the CPC into armed rebellion, marking the beginning of the Chinese Civil War.

There were industrialization and modernization, but also conflict between the Nationalist government in Nanking, the CPC, remnant warlords, and the Empire of Japan. Nation-building took a backseat to the Second Sino-Japanese War when the Imperial Japanese Army launched an offensive against China in 1937 that turned into a full-scale invasion. After the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II in 1945, the Chinese Civil War quickly resumed in 1946 between the KMT and CPC, with both sides receiving foreign assistance due to the Cold War between the USSR and USA. During this period, the 1946 Constitution of the Republic of China replaced the 1928 Organic Law as the Republic of China's fundamental law. Near the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party established the People's Republic of China, overthrowing the Nationalist government on the Chinese mainland. The Government of the Republic of China fled from Nanking to Taipei in 1949, controlling only Taiwan after 1949.

Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution was a pair of revolutions in Russia in 1917 which dismantled the Tsarist autocracy and led to the rise of the Soviet Union. The Russian Empire collapsed with the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II and the old regime was replaced by a provisional government during the first revolution of February 1917 (March in the Gregorian calendar; the older Julian calendar was in use in Russia at the time). Alongside it arose grassroots community assemblies (called 'Soviets') which contended for authority. In the second revolution that October, the Provisional Government was toppled and all power was given to the Soviets.

The February Revolution (March 1917) was a revolution focused around Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg), the capital of Russia at that time. In the chaos, members of the Imperial parliament (the Duma) assumed control of the country, forming the Russian Provisional Government which was heavily dominated by the interests of large capitalists and the noble aristocracy. The army leadership felt they did not have the means to suppress the revolution, resulting in Tsar Nicholas's abdication. The Soviets, which were dominated by soldiers and the urban industrial working class, initially permitted the Provisional Government to rule, but insisted on a prerogative to influence the government and control various militias. The February Revolution took place in the context of heavy military setbacks during the First World War (1914–18), which left much of the Russian Army in a state of mutiny.

A period of dual power ensued, during which the Provisional Government held state power while the national network of Soviets, led by socialists, had the allegiance of the lower classes and, increasingly, the left-leaning urban middle class. During this chaotic period there were frequent mutinies, protests and many strikes. Many socialist political organizations were engaged in daily struggle and vied for influence within the Duma and the Soviets, central among which were the Bolsheviks ("Ones of the Majority") led by Vladimir Lenin who campaigned for an immediate end to the war, land to the peasants, and bread to the workers. When the Provisional Government chose to continue fighting the war with Germany, the Bolsheviks and other socialist factions were able to exploit virtually universal disdain towards the war effort as justification to advance the revolution further. The Bolsheviks turned workers' militias under their control into the Red Guards (later the Red Army) over which they exerted substantial control.In the October Revolution (November in the Gregorian calendar), the Bolsheviks led an armed insurrection by workers and soldiers in Petrograd that successfully overthrew the Provisional Government, transferring all its authority to the Soviets with the capital being relocated to Moscow shortly thereafter. The Bolsheviks had secured a strong base of support within the Soviets and, as the now supreme governing party, established a federal government dedicated to reorganizing the former empire into the world's first socialist republic, practicing Soviet democracy on a national and international scale. The promise to end Russia's participation in the First World War was honored promptly with the Bolshevik leaders signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany in March 1918. To further secure the new state, the Cheka was established which functioned as a revolutionary security service that sought to weed out and punish those considered to be "enemies of the people" in campaigns consciously modeled on similar events during the French Revolution.

Soon after, civil war erupted among the "Reds" (Bolsheviks), the "Whites" (counter-revolutionaries), the independence movements and the non-Bolshevik socialists. It continued for several years, during which the Bolsheviks defeated both the Whites and all rival socialists and thereafter reconstituted themselves as the Communist Party. In this way, the Revolution paved the way for the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1922. While many notable historical events occurred in Moscow and Petrograd, there was also a visible movement in cities throughout the state, among national minorities throughout the empire and in the rural areas, where peasants took over and redistributed land.

Rwandan genocide

The Rwandan genocide, also known as the genocide against the Tutsi, was a mass slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda during the Rwandan Civil War, which had started in 1990. It was directed by members of the Hutu majority government during the 100-day period from 7 April to mid-July 1994. An estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 Rwandans were killed, constituting an estimated 70% of the Tutsi population. Additionally, 30% of the Pygmy Batwa were killed. The genocide and widespread slaughter of Rwandans ended after the Tutsi-backed and heavily armed Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), led by Paul Kagame, took control of the capital and the country. An estimated 2,000,000 Rwandans, mostly Hutu, were displaced and became refugees.The genocide was organized by members of the core Hutu political elite, many of whom occupied positions at top levels of the national government. Perpetrators came from the Rwandan army, the Gendarmerie, and government-backed militias including the Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi.

The genocide took place in the context of the Rwandan Civil War, a conflict beginning in 1990 between the Hutu-led government and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). The latter was made up largely of Tutsi refugees whose families had fled to Uganda after the 1959 Hutu revolt against colonial rule. Waves of Hutu violence against the RPF and Tutsi followed Rwandan independence in 1962. International pressure on the Hutu government of Juvénal Habyarimana resulted in a ceasefire in the civil war in 1993, with a road-map to implement the Arusha Accords. This was intended to create a power-sharing government with the RPF. Numerous conservative Hutu, including members of the Akazu, opposed the Accords, believing they were a concession to enemy demands.

The RPF military campaign had resulted in some intensified support for the so-called "Hutu Power" ideology, which portrayed the RPF as an alien force. In radio programs and other news, the Tutsis were portrayed as non-Christian, intent on reinstating the Tutsi monarchy and enslaving the Hutus. Many Hutu reacted to this prospect with extreme opposition.

On 6 April 1994, an aeroplane carrying Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down on its descent into Kigali. At the time, the plane was in the airspace above Habyarimana's house. The assassination of Habyarimana ended the peace accords.

Genocidal killings began the following day. Soldiers, police, and militia quickly executed key Tutsi and moderate Hutu military and political leaders who could have assumed control in the ensuing power vacuum. Checkpoints and barricades were erected to screen all holders of the national ID card of Rwanda (it contained ethnic classifications; the Belgian colonial government had introduced use of these classifications and IDs in 1933). This enabled government forces to systematically identify and kill Tutsi.

They also recruited and pressured Hutu civilians to arm themselves with machetes, clubs, blunt objects, and other weapons and encouraged them to rape, maim, and kill their Tutsi neighbors and to destroy or steal their property. The RPF restarted its offensive soon after Habyarimana's assassination. It rapidly seized control of the northern part of the country and captured Kigali about 100 days later in mid-July, bringing an end to the genocide. During these events and in the aftermath, the United Nations (UN) and countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Belgium were criticized for their inaction and failure to strengthen the force and mandate of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) peacekeepers. In December 2017, media reported revelations that the government of France had allegedly supported the Hutu government after the genocide had begun.The genocide had lasting and profound effects on Rwanda and neighboring countries. The pervasive use of rape as a weapon of war caused a spike in HIV infection, including babies born to mothers infected during rapes. Due to the wholesale slaughter of both men and women, many households were headed by widows or totally orphaned children. The destruction of infrastructure and the severe depopulation of the country crippled the economy, challenging the nascent government to achieve rapid economic growth and stabilization. The RPF military victory and installation of an RPF-dominated government prompted many Hutu to flee to neighboring countries.

Hutu refugees particularly entered the eastern portion of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC). Hutu genocidaires began to regroup in refugee camps along the border with Rwanda. Declaring a need to avert further genocide, the RPF-led government led military incursions into Zaire, resulting in the First (1996–97) and Second (1998–2003) Congo Wars. Armed struggles between the Rwandan government and their opponents in the DRC have continued through battles of proxy militias in the Goma region, including the M23 rebellion (2012–2013). Large Rwandan Hutu and Tutsi populations continue to live as refugees throughout the region.

Today, Rwanda has two public holidays mourning the genocide. The national mourning period begins with Kwibuka (Remembrance), the national commemoration, on 7 April and concludes with Liberation Day on 4 July. The week following 7 April is an official week of mourning, known as Icyunamo. As a result of the genocide, nations collaborated to establish the International Criminal Court in order to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

Vichy France

Vichy France (French: Régime de Vichy) is the common name of the French State (État français) headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain during World War II. Evacuated from Paris to Vichy in the unoccupied "Free Zone" (zone libre) in the southern part of metropolitan France which included French Algeria, it remained responsible for the civil administration of France as well as the French colonial empire.

From 1940 to 1942, while the Vichy regime was the nominal government of all of France except for Alsace-Lorraine, the German and Italian militarily occupied northern and south-eastern France. While Paris remained the de jure capital of France, the government chose to relocate to the town of Vichy, 360 km (220 mi) to the south in the zone libre, which thus became the de facto capital of the French State. Following the Allied landings in French North Africa in November 1942, southern France was also militarily occupied by Germany and Italy to protect the Mediterranean coastline. Petain's government remained in Vichy as the nominal government of France, albeit one that was obliged by circumstances to collaborate with Germany from November 1942 onwards. The government at Vichy remained there until late 1944, when it lost its de facto authority due to the Allied invasion of France and the government was compelled to relocate to the Sigmaringen enclave in Germany, where it continued to exist on paper until the end of hostilities in Europe.

After being appointed Premier by President Albert Lebrun, Marshal Pétain's cabinet agreed to end the war and signed an Armistice with Germany on 22 June 1940. On 10 July, the French Third Republic was dissolved, and Pétain established an authoritarian regime when the National Assembly granted him full powers. The Vichy government reversed many liberal policies and began tight supervision of the economy, calling for "National Regeneration", with central planning a key feature. Labour unions came under tight government control. Conservative Catholics became prominent and clerical input in schools resumed. Paris lost its avant-garde status in European art and culture. The media were tightly controlled and stressed virulent anti-Semitism, and, after June 1941, anti-Bolshevism.The French State maintained nominal sovereignty over the whole of French territory, but had effective full sovereignty only in the unoccupied southern zone libre ("free zone"). It had limited and only civil authority in the northern zones under military occupation. The occupation was to be a provisional state of affairs, pending the conclusion of the war, which at the time (1940) appeared imminent. The occupation also presented certain advantages, such as keeping the French Navy and French colonial empire under French control, and avoiding full occupation of the country by Germany, thus maintaining a degree of French independence and neutrality. Despite heavy pressure, the French government at Vichy never joined the Axis alliance.

Germany kept two million French soldiers prisoner, carrying out forced labour. They were hostages to ensure that Vichy would reduce its military forces and pay a heavy tribute in gold, food, and supplies to Germany. French police were ordered to round up Jews and other "undesirables" such as communists and political refugees. Much of the French public initially supported the government, despite its undemocratic nature and its difficult position vis-à-vis the Germans, often seeing it as necessary to maintain a degree of French autonomy and territorial integrity. In November 1942, however, the zone libre was also occupied by Axis forces, leading to the disbandment of the remaining army and the sinking of France's remaining fleet and ending any semblance of independence, with Germany now closely supervising all French officials.

Most of the overseas French colonies were originally under Vichy control, but with the Allied invasion of North Africa it lost one colony after another to Charles de Gaulle's Allied-oriented Free France. Public opinion in some quarters turned against the French government and the occupying German forces over time, when it became clear that Germany was losing the war, and resistance to them increased. Following the Allied invasion of France in June 1944 and the liberation of France later that year, the Free French Provisional government of the French Republic (GPRF) was installed by the Allies as France's government, led by de Gaulle. Under a "national unanimity" cabinet uniting the many factions of the French Resistance, the GPRF re-established a provisional French Republic, thus apparently restoring continuity with the Third Republic. Most of the legal French government's leaders at Vichy fled or were subject to show trials by the GPRF, and a number were quickly executed for "treason" in a series of purges (épuration légale). Thousands of collaborators were summarily executed by local communists and the Resistance in so-called "savage purges" (épuration sauvage).The last of the French state exiles were captured in the Sigmaringen enclave by de Gaulle's French 1st Armoured Division in April 1945. Pétain, who had voluntarily made his way back to France via Switzerland, was also put on trial for treason by the new Provisional government, and received a death sentence, but this was commuted to life imprisonment by de Gaulle. Only four senior Vichy officials were tried for crimes against humanity, although many more had participated in the deportation of Jews for internment in Nazi concentration camps, abuses of prisoners, and severe acts against members of the Resistance.

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