An Explanation of the Difference Between Absolute and Representative Governments

A government is a group or body of people, usually an administrative authority, governing a geographically organized community. Governments at all levels operate through a system of command and accountability known as rule of law. Historically, the conception of a government was based on the concept of a territorial entity existing alongside and independent from its people, although historically many peoples have developed independent states (from the Latin’rex Caesaris’) that were recognized by Rome as part of the Roman Empire. Historically, the Roman government would often appoint local leaders as representatives of the government in their respective areas.


The primary function of governments is to protect their citizens from external threats or to ensure that the citizens have a right to participate in political processes at the national level. There are three forms of government: limited government, defined government, and unlimited government. Limited government includes executive and legislative branches; state and local governments; and local property qualifications and taxation systems. Defined government includes legislative and regulatory policies and procedures for managing businesses and industries. Unlimited government has no restrictions on either the number of seats held by members of the legislature or the authority of municipalities over taxation or local public utilities.

Many citizens believe that the system of government they live in now, or the political parties they identify with, are representative of America. In reality, the political parties that represent individuals, groups, and local governments are only loosely representative of America as a whole, and the Constitution as written by the framers does not clearly define what these governmental institutions should do. For example, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate each elects several members of their respective parties to serve as representatives in the U.S. Congress. Thus, their votes are not necessarily reflective of the views of the broader American population.

All other nations, both ancient and modern, have been governed by monarchies. However, there are two unique characteristics that distinguish modern-day monarchies in England from other hereditary monarchies such as those in Latin American Countries, India, or Africa. Firstly, the absolute monarchs of the English system enjoy absolute power within their kingdoms and palaces. They are able to do whatever they want without having to consult the consent of parliamentarians, the elected representatives of their constituents. Because of this, many citizens of the United Kingdom question the legitimacy of the systems of governance which are exercised by the British monarchy.

Secondly, the majority of societies that utilize a participatory political system, such as England, Scotland, Wales, and Australia, have experienced periods of rule by strongmen or oligarchical leaders. For example, although the Monarchy in England enjoyed absolute rule for over three centuries, the throne was never used by a direct hereditary member of the Monarchy. This means that, in theory, England is one of the few nations in the world to have a functioning system of pure democracy without a significant presence of either absolute or representative government. Oligarchy and democracy share a fundamental aspect of entrenched societal power, with the former requiring a majority to exercise power while the latter is a system of rule by a small group.

In contrast, modern governments throughout the United States are generally representative and democratic in nature. Although smaller political parties dominate most of the public debate than they do in other countries, there are a substantial degree of economic freedom and a free market that support a robust welfare state and promote individual freedom. The two basic definitions of a free market are that it is based on private property ownership, with contracts involving individuals to purchase or sell goods subject to negotiation and a system of taxation designed to provide revenue. A more limited form of democracy would likely restrict the ability of political parties to affect the economic landscape, while preventing them from forcibly redistributing wealth through taxation.