As of today, no country has an aristocratic government. Also known as aristocracy, this form of government results when a society is ruled by a few people of a certain class or privilege, typically wealthy, educated nobility.
Sparta, Rome and Athens were, at times, aristocracies. From 1714, when the House of Hanover ruled England, until the 19th century, England had a king and parliamentary form of government but was actually run as an aristocracy. The country’s rulers were controlled by several families in the Whig party.
Aristocracy was one of six government classifications presented by the Greek philosopher Aristotle in his eight-book series “Politics.” He listed aristocracy, kingship and polity as just or correct forms of government, while naming tyranny, oligarchy and democracy as unjust or deviant government systems. Aristotle considered aristocracy, or the rule of the best people, to be the best option for government.
The Greek philosopher Plato, who was also Aristotle’s teacher, outlines five types of government regimes in “The Republic,” his most famous literary work. In it, Plato discusses aristocracy, democracy, tyranny, oligarchy and timocracy, but he makes clear his opinion of aristocracy as the superior system. Plato believed an aristocracy should be led by a philosopher king and based in wisdom and reason.