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What does oligarchy mean?

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Oligarchy is a system of government in which power is shared by a privileged few.  Theoretically or ideally, the individuals sharing power would be considered the wisest of the populace.  The concept of oligarchy descends from the Greeks.  The government of Sparta was an oligarchy, while neighboring Athens had a democracy.  In contrast to the democracy, Sparta was ruled by a few and not everyone.

There have not been many examples of oligarchies in history or literature.  The governing structure of the community in the...

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