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Definition a political system governed by a few people
  • 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
  • It's time to rebuke the judicial oligarchy...  -- (retrieved 06/29/06)
  • the big cities were notoriously in the hands of the oligarchy of local businessmen
  • It has posed the question whether Americans are willing to submit to what Thomas Jefferson predicted would be "the despotism of an oligarchy" if judges are allowed to be "the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions."  -- (retrieved 06/29/06)
  • Throughout history, the common people have been discontented when ruled by an oligarchy.
  • one of his cardinal convictions was that Britain was not run as a democracy but as an oligarchy
  • 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
  • It had long been realized that the only secure basis for oligarchy is collectivism.
    George Orwell  --  1984
  • 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 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • This constitutional form must beware of degenerating into an "oligarchy"—when the government is run by a few people.
    Jostein Gaarder  --  Sophie's World
  • 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
  • The Spartans held Athens and Thebes, establishing there an oligarchy, nevertheless they lost them.
    Nicolo Machiavelli  --  The Prince
  • 5 million as a kind of feudal oligarchy.
    Warren St. John  --  Outcasts United
  • Describe an oligarchy.
    Meg Cabot  --  The Princess Diaries

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