Types of Government: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Have you ever thought about how different governments function? Come and learn about types of government, including those that have many leaders, one leader, or no leaders at all.

What Is Government?

Think about the leader in your household. It might be a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, or any other adult guardian. If there is more than one leader in your house, think of them both. What role do they play in making the household run? They make important decisions, like what groceries to buy, what time bedtime is, and rules for how to play safely in the backyard.

This is similar to the role that the government plays in making a country or state run. They are a group of people who have the authority to make decisions that are for the good of the people and the country. The government works to create and enforce laws and policies for the country or state.

Many Rulers

Democracies give people the right to vote
Obama voting

One of the most well-known types of government that has multiple rulers is a democracy, which means 'rule by the people.' While there are varieties of different democracies, they are all centered around the idea of giving power to the people. Sometimes, every citizen of the country has an equal say in the decision-making process. This system is very challenging when dealing with a group that is larger than a few people. Other times, the people vote on representatives to make the decisions for the country, like in the United States. The President of the United States is decided based on voting, as well as other political positions like a governor or a mayor. This gives the citizens of the United States a voice in what they would like to see for the place they live. This structure is also known as a republic.

One Ruler

Sometimes, government decisions are made by one single person. This person might be a king, queen, emperor, or another royal person. This is called a monarchy. Unlike in a democracy or a republic, the leader of a monarchy is typically determined by their family. So, if your dad was the king of a country, then you would be eligible to be the king when your father passes away. Sometimes, the leader is chosen based on religious reasons. It is important to keep in mind that just because a country has a king or queen does not mean that they are a monarchy. England, for example, has a queen, but there are other political leaders in England that make the decisions.

Joseph Stalin

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