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Political Spectrum. Role of Government


When Benjamin Franklin exited the Constitution (1)____ he was asked by a woman: “Sir, what have you given us?”. His immediate response was: “A republic, Ma’am, if you can keep it”. Yet most Americans today have been persuaded that our nations’ (2)____ system is a (3)____, not a republic. The difference between these two is essential in understanding Americanism and the American system.

Before we discuss political systems, however, it’s helpful to address the confusion that has been spread about the political (4)____. Many have been led to believe that the political spectrum places groups such as (5)_____ on the far left, fascists or dictators on the far right, and political moderates or centrists in the middle. However, a more accurate political spectrum will show government having zero power on the far right to having 100% power on the far left. At the extreme right there is no government, the extreme left features total government under such labels as communism, socialism, Nazism, (6)____, princes, kings etc. Those who claim that Nazists and fascists are right-wing never define their terms, this amounts to spreading confusion. To the middle of the political spectrum can be found the type of government limited to its proper role of protecting the (7)____ of the people. That’s where the Constitution of the United States is. Those who applicate such a form of government are really constitutional (8)____.

So let’s analyze the basic forms of government. They are: monarchy, or (9)___ (rule by one); oligarchy (rule by a few); democracy (rule by (10)___); republic (rule by (11)____); and anarchy (which is rule by no one). In discussing these five we’ll see that they can be narrowed down to even fewer. Looking first at monarchy or dictatorship, this form of government doesn’t really exist in a practical sense. It’s always a group which puts one of its members up (12)___: a king has its council of nobles or earls and every dictator has his (13)___ or commissars – the men behind the scenes. This isn’t rule by one even though one person maybe the visible leader, it’s rule by a group. So let’s eliminate monarchy, dictatorship because it never truly exists. Oligarchy, which is rule by a group, is the most (14)___ form of government in the whole history and it’s the most common form of government today. Most of the nations of the world are ruled by a powerful (15)____, and therefore oligarchy remains.

At the other end we find anarchy which means ‘without government’. Some people have looked over history and found that many of its worst crimes were committed by governments. So they decided that having no government might be a good idea. But this is a mistake, because the Ancient Greeks stated: “Without law there can be no (16)____”. Our Founding Fathers agreed and helped that some amount of government is a necessary force in any civilized orderly society. In a state of anarchy, however, everyone has to (17)___ life, their property and the lives of family members. Everyone must be armed and movement is severely restricted because one’s property must be protected at all times. Civilized people have always hired someone to do the guarding: a sheriff, a police force or some branch of (18)____. Once law enforcement was in place, the people were freer: they could leave their property, work in fields and so on. In short, the proper amount of government makes everyone (19)_____.


1. (a) Convention (b) convenience (c) assembly (d) session
2. (a) political (b) governmental (c) parliament (d) government
3. (a) democrat (b) republic (c) democracy (d) republican
4. (a) specter (b) spectrum (c) charter (d) graph
5. (a) dictatorship (b) Leninism (c) communism (d) communists
6. (a) anarchy (b) fascism (c) dictatorship (d) totalitarianism
7. (a) rights (b) responsibilities (c) duty (d) laws
8. (a) democracy (b) centrist (c) middle (d) moderates
9. (a) dictator (b) dictatorship (c) totalitarian (d) king
10. (a) most (b) many (c) major (d) majority
11. (a) duty (b) right (c) law (d) obligation
12. (a) back (b) behind (c) towards (d) front
13. (a) assembly (b) council (c) councilor (d) cabinet
14. (a) usually (b) common (c) familiar (d) new
15. (a) chosen (b) not much (c) few (d) little
16. (a) free (b) freedom (c) obligation (d) duty
17. (a) protector (b) protection (c) guard (d) safe
18. (a) government (b) govern (c) guard (d) governor
19. (a) happiness (b) freedom (c) freer (d) liberty


1 Give Ukrainian equivalents for the following words and expressions.

Immediate, to persuade, confusion, accurate, oligarchy, feature, narrow, necessary.


2 Comprehension questions.

1. What forms of government exist?

2. What form of government doesn’t really exist?

3. Why can’t people be happy living in a state of anarchy?

4. Why do civilized people put someone to do the guarding?

5. What did Ancient Greeks say about the law?


6 Say if the following statements are true according to the text.

1. Democracy is the rule by a few.

2. Monarchy or dictatorship never truly existed.

3. Some people have looked over history and found that many of its worst crimes were committed by government.

4. Having no government is a good idea.

5. Ancient Romans stated: “Without law there can be no freedom”.

6. In a state of anarchy everyone has to guard their life, the lives of family members and their property.

7. Civilized people have always hired someone to do the guarding.

8. When Benjamin Franklin exited the forum he was asked by a man: “Sir, what have you given us?”

9. The constitution of the United States is in the middle of the political spectrum.

10. Oligarchy is a rule by one.


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