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This lesson is designed to help students understand the various characteristics of government systems and power structures that have been used throughout history. This is a great lesson to use during any history class to demonstrate that various civilizations have implemented and experimented with many different forms of power and rule throughout history. I usually use it at the beginning of the school year to introduce students to the primary characteristics of these systems and to provide a foundation of knowledge upon which to build. The two documents included are in Microsoft Word format and can be modified to fit your individual needs.
The first document is a graphic organizer that provides information on the characteristics of various government systems and power structures. Examples of topics include direct and representative democracy, oligarchy, autocracy, totalitarianism, fascism, dictatorship, monarchy (absolute and constitutional), divine right, theocracy, and presidential/parliamentary systems.
The second document included is a 15-question worksheet that students can complete by looking up information on the graphic organizer. The questions help students identify characteristics of various governments and differentiate between types of power structures. Some questions are open-ended and others require lists or are fill-in-the-blank.