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oligarchy


Many political theorists believe there is an iron law of oligarchy that all forms of organization will eventually develop tendencies to be ruled by the few.
  a political system governed by a few people
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oligarchy oligarchic oligarchies
Strongly Associated with:   monarchy, autarchy
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  • Many political theorists believe there is an iron law of oligarchy that all forms of organization will eventually develop tendencies to be ruled by the few.
  • This is, without discussion, the earliest-known occasion on which the Oligarchy was so designated.
    London, Jack  --  The Iron Heel
  • We cannot successfully advance the cause of popular democracy and at the same time align ourselves with corrupt and reactionary oligarchies...
    Senator J. William Fulbright
  • He was ready to keep this up for years, he told her, for "I cannot believe Providence intends to destroy this Nation, this great asylum for the oppressed of all other nations and build a slave Oligarchy on the ruins thereof."
    James M. McPherson  --  What They Fought For - 1861-1865

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  • It had long been realized that the only secure basis for oligarchy is collectivism.
    George Orwell  --  1984
  • For the next 130 years, the AmericoLiberian minority—just 3 percent of the population—backed by the U.S. government, ruled the nation of around 2.5 million as a kind of feudal oligarchy.
    Warren St. John  --  Outcasts United
  • The city, which was owned by an oligarchy of businessmen, being nominally ruled by the people, a huge army of graft was necessary for the purpose of effecting the transfer of power.
    Upton Sinclair  --  The Jungle
  • It is well understood here, that by the words Venice, England, we designate not the peoples, but social structures; the oligarchies superposed on nations, and not the nations themselves.
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • The Spartans held Athens and Thebes, establishing there an oligarchy, nevertheless they lost them.
    Nicolo Machiavelli  --  The Prince
  • Describe an oligarchy.
    Meg Cabot  --  The Princess Diaries

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  • This constitutional form must beware of degenerating into an "oligarchy"—when the government is run by a few people.
    Jostein Gaarder  --  Sophie’s World
  • According to Fifi, the alta sociedad, the high-class ladies of the oligarchy who form a kind of club, not unlike a country club, are delighted by this juicy bit of gossip.
    Julia Alvarez  --  How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
  • After he tried to return the oligarchy and was executed, his family forfeited their lands and titles.
    Megan Whalen Turner  --  The Thief
  • It’d had more generations in which to form an oligarchy of respectability.
    Sinclair Lewis  --  Main Street
  • It embodies the heavy dignity of those Victorian financiers who ruled the generation between the pioneers and the brisk "sales-engineers" and created a somber oligarchy by gaining control of banks, mills, land, railroads, mines.
    Sinclair Lewis  --  Babbitt
  • The government may look more democratic, but it will actually be more oligarchic.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers — Modern English Edition 2
  • The wave of discontent that was stirring the people was beginning to strike at the heart of that oligarchic society.
    Isabel Allende  --  The House of Spirits
  • I want a democratic power strong enough to force the intellectual oligarchy to use its genius for the general good or else perish.
    George Bernard Shaw  --  Major Barbara
  • To style the oligarchy which ruled over France in 1793 by that name would be to offer an insult to the republican form of government.
    Alexis de Toqueville  --  Democracy In America, Volume 1
  • The countenance of the government may become more democratic, but the soul that animates it will be more oligarchic.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers
  • The power of the State is exercised without restraint, either by dictators or by compact oligarchies operating through a privileged party and a political police.
    Winston Churchill  --  Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech
  • The power of the State is exercised without restraint, either by dictators or by compact oligarchies operating through a privileged party and a political police.
    Winston Churchill  --  Churchill’s Sinews of Peace Speech
  • It is an odious aristocracy; a hateful oligarchy of sex; the most hateful aristocracy ever established on the face of the globe; an oligarchy of wealth, where the rich govern the poor.
    Susan B. Anthony  --  On Women’s Right to Vote
  • The oligarchy confiscated the estates of Athenian aristocrats, banished 5,000 women, children, and slaves, and summarily executed about 1,500 of Athen’s most prominent democrats.
    Doug Linder  --  The Trial of Socrates
  • But when the oligarchy of the Thirty was in power, they sent for me and four others into the rotunda, and bade us bring Leon the Salaminian from Salamis, as they wanted to put him to death.
    Plato  --  The Apology
  • It’s not hard for me to believe that the Bureau would do bad things, because every government I’ve ever known has done bad things, even the Abnegation oligarchy, of which my father was the head.
    Veronica Roth  --  Allegiant
  • I think that even such a government would not differ very much from the outline I have drawn in the chapter to which this note belongs, and that it would retain none of the fierce characteristics of a military oligarchy.
    Alexis de Toqueville  --  Democracy In America, Volume 2
  • So there were various processes in the basic set-up that allowed for change, such as the election of officials that, at the end of the day, could override the wishes of the functional oligarchy of wealthy elites if enough nonelite Glatun felt it necessary.
    John Ringo  --  Live Free or Die
  • Tyranny And Oligarchy, But Different Names Of Monarchy, And Aristocracy There be other names of Government, in the Histories, and books of Policy; as Tyranny, and Oligarchy: But they are not the names of other Formes of Government, but of the same Formes misliked.
    Thomas Hobbes  --  Leviathan
  • The families of the oligarchy forgot all about the barrel organ, and Marcos became the star attraction of the season.
    Isabel Allende  --  The House of Spirits
  • Although the Thirty normally used their own gang of thugs for such duties, the oligarchy asked Socrates to arrest Leon of Salamis so that he might be executed and his assets appropriated.
    Doug Linder  --  The Trial of Socrates
  • 2 This objection to the Constitution suggests an oligarchy will develop.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers — Modern English Edition 2
  • Whilst the objection itself is levelled against a pretended oligarchy, the principle of it strikes at the very root of republican government.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers
  • The Rangora are that oddest of ducks, a functional military-dominated oligarchy.
    John Ringo  --  Live Free or Die
  • Tyranny And Oligarchy, But Different Names Of Monarchy, And Aristocracy There be other names of Government, in the Histories, and books of Policy; as Tyranny, and Oligarchy: But they are not the names of other Formes of Government, but of the same Formes misliked.
    Thomas Hobbes  --  Leviathan
  • It is an odious aristocracy; a hateful oligarchy of sex; the most hateful aristocracy ever established on the face of the globe; an oligarchy of wealth, where the rich govern the poor.
    Susan B. Anthony  --  On Women’s Right to Vote
  • All past oligarchies have fallen from power either because they ossified or because they grew soft.
    George Orwell  --  1984
  • This would lead directly to an aristocracy or an oligarchy.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers — Modern English Edition 2
  • We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing.
    George Orwell  --  1984
  • It is the Harry Haydocks, the Dave Dyers, the Jackson Elders, small busy men crushingly powerful in their common purpose, viewing themselves as men of the world but keeping themselves men of the cash-register and the comic film, who make the town a sterile oligarchy.
    Sinclair Lewis  --  Main Street
  • (Alcibiades had other strikes against him: four years earlier, Alcibiades had fled to Sparta to avoid facing trial for mutilating religious pillars—statues of Hermes—and while in Sparta had proposed to that state’s leaders that he help them defeat Athens.) Critias, first among an oligarchy known as the "Thirty Tyrants," led the second bloody revolt against the restored Athenian democracy in 404.
    Doug Linder  --  The Trial of Socrates
  • There was a great uproar over the attempt on his life, and before Severo could do anything to stop it, an announcement appeared in the opposition paper in which veiled accusations were made against the oligarchy and it was asserted that the conservatives were even capable of this act, because they could not forgive Severo del Valle for throwing his lot in with the liberals despite his social class.
    Isabel Allende  --  The House of Spirits
  • The previous month, the Glatun Council of Benefactors, the oligarchy that made most of the major decisions for the Glatun government, had agreed to cede to the Rangora strategic control over fifteen uninhabited solar systems.
    John Ringo  --  Live Free or Die
  • The product of Alba’s thefts wound up in the hands of Miguel, who distributed it in poor neighborhoods and in factories, along with his revolutionary pamphlets calling on the people to join in an armed struggle to bring down the oligarchy.
    Isabel Allende  --  The House of Spirits
  • He did not see that the continuity of an oligarchy need not be physical, nor did he pause to reflect that hereditary aristocracies have always been shortlived, whereas adoptive organizations such as the Catholic Church have sometimes lasted for hundreds or thousands of years.
    George Orwell  --  1984
  • …GOVERN CITIES OR PRINCIPALITIES WHICH LIVED UNDER THEIR OWN LAWS BEFORE THEY WERE ANNEXED Whenever those states which have been acquired as stated have been accustomed to live under their own laws and in freedom, there are three courses for those who wish to hold them: the first is to ruin them, the next is to reside there in person, the third is to permit them to live under their own laws, drawing a tribute, and establishing within it an oligarchy which will keep it friendly to you.
    Nicolo Machiavelli  --  The Prince
  • And when the same men shall be displeased with those that have the administration of the Democracy, or Aristocracy, they are not to seek for disgraceful names to expresse their anger in; but call readily the one Anarchy, and the other Oligarchy, or the Tyranny Of A Few.
    Thomas Hobbes  --  Leviathan
  • For they that are discontented under Monarchy, call it Tyranny; and they that are displeased with Aristocracy, called it Oligarchy: so also, they which find themselves grieved under a Democracy, call it Anarchy, (which signifies want of Government;) and yet I think no man believes, that want of Government, is any new kind of Government: nor by the same reason ought they to believe, that the Government is of one kind, when they like it, and another, when they mislike it, or are…
    Thomas Hobbes  --  Leviathan
  • The private attachments of one man might easily be satisfied; but to satisfy the private attachments of a dozen, or of twenty men, would occasion a monopoly of all the principal employments of the government in a few families, and would lead more directly to an aristocracy or an oligarchy than any measure that could be contrived.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers
  • An oligarchy of learning, where the educated govern the ignorant, or even an oligarchy of race, where the Saxon rules the African, might be endured; but this oligarchy of sex, which makes father, brothers, husband, sons, the oligarchs over the mother and sisters, the wife and daughters, of every household - which ordains all men sovereigns, all women subjects, carries dissension, discord, and rebellion into every home of the nation.
    Susan B. Anthony  --  On Women’s Right to Vote
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Associated words [difficulty]:   oligarchy [6] , monarchy [3]
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