Characteristics of American Government

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Characteristics of Trump's Government

Is the modern democratic state turning more conservative and authoritarian? I would argue that yes its turning more conservatist but not authoritarian, there are many examples of democratic states turning conservatist but not authoritarian. Some examples of democratic states that have turned conservatist would be Trump's America. Others such North Korea are authoritarian regimes. We will be comparing these two in this assignment to establish whether the modern state is turning conservatist and authoritarian. We will also be going more in-depth on the meaning of conservatism and authoritarianism. This assignment will consist of what conservatism, authoritarianism and a modern state is, is trumps America turning conservatist and authoritarian, what is North Korea and a conclusion.

What are conservatism and authoritarianism?

For us to understand if democratic states are turning Conservatist and Authoritarian we must first look at what Conservatism and Authoritarianism are.

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Conservatism is a political ideology that “emphasises the value of traditional institutions and practices. Conservatism is preference for the historical inherited than by the abstract and ideal” (Peter Viereck; Richard Dagger; Terence Ball; Kenneth Minogue, 2020). The preference of conservatism has traditionally rested on a conception of society, the belief that society is not just a collection of people but a “living organism” (Peter Viereck; ct; 2) of closely linked interdependent members.

In the ideology of conservatism, it is believed that the government's duty is to be the servant in preference to being the master for that reason the politicians must not rework modern-day society and politics. Thus conservatist governments despise the liberal ideology as it brings in a modernizing, anti-traditionalist manner of thinking, that's to correct the wronging doing of abuse from the misuse of social and political power. The creator Ambrose Bierce critically described conservatism as “a statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.” In his book “the Devils Dictionary (1906)” (Peter Viereck; ct; 2).

In the late 18th century due do the response of the french revolution did conservatism begin to become a distinct political ideology and movement. Conservatism as a term was best introduced after 1815 with the aid of the supporters of the Bourbon monarchy in France. John Wilson Croker used the term conservatism to explain the British Tory Party and later John C. Calhoun a defender of the states’ rights in America followed the term thereafter.

Edmund Burke was a British political writer and parliamentarian whose thoughts on the Revolution in France in the 1790s were an expression of conservatists rejecting the French revolution and a large inspiration for counterrevolutionary theorists within the 19th century.

A common way of telling the difference between conservatism and both liberalism and radicalism is to say “conservatives reject the optimistic view that human beings can be morally improved through political and social change” (Peter Viereck; ct; 2).

Characteristics of a conservatist state:

  1. Tradition.
  2. A natural society.
  3. Hierarchy.
  4. Authority.
  5. Property rights.

Authoritarianism is “the principle of blind submission to authority, as opposed to individual freedom of thought and action. In government, authoritarianism denotes any political system that concentrates power in the hands of a leader or a small elite that is not constitutionally responsible to the body of the people” (Britannica, 2017).

Leaders in authoritarian regimes exercise their power volitionally and with no relevance the present law. These leaders aren’t replaced by voters selecting to freely vote them out for an additional candidate in elections. In authoritarian regimes the liberty to form associate opposing parties or another political parties with to contend with in national elections is either restricted or not aloud.

Authoritarianism could be a elementary distinction to democracy. it's totally different to a totalitarianism however as a result of authoritarian governments don’t usually have developed guiding ideologies and therefore they tolerate some philosophy within the social atmosphere and that they lack power to inspire the population to chase national goals, they exercise the ability in predictable limits.

Examples of authoritarian regimes according to indy100 which rated countries on scales on 1 – 10 in 2016 with 1 - 2 being Authoritarian 3 – 4 being a Hybrid government 5 – 7 being a Flawed democracy and 8 – 10 being a full democracy. Authoritarian countries would be North Korea, Syria, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, and more (Vesey-Byrne, 2017).

Characteristics of an authoritarian state would be:

  1. A limited political spectrum with restrictions on the activities of groups and parties.
  2. Not much social movement and political participation.
  3. A dominant political culture.
  4. And finally a personalized form of leadership.

Is Trumps America Conservatist and Authoritarian?

Since we know what an authoritarian government is and what its characteristics is we can thus check to see if America is an authoritarian government with these characteristics. We hereby can compare if America has a limited political spectrum with restrictions on the activities of other groups and parties.

We know America does not have a limited political spectrum with restrictions over other groups and parties because trump has never placed any law in that would limit the democratic party and leave the republican party as the only one to vote for. We know that Americans are extremely into their social and political participation.

We can take for example Colin Kaepernick and his protest against police brutality in 2016 and how Americans rallied behind him in support, another example would be the Native Americans march to the site of a sacred burial ground that was disturbed by bulldozers building the Dakota Access Pipeline(2016) (Davis, 2016), the #metoo movement, black lives matter movement and no ban no wall movement in 2018 (Callahan, 2018) and finally the woman’s march, the Direct action to address climate breakdown and the movement for a better economy(2019). All these movements show us that Americans do have social and political participation (Foreman, 2018).

Does America have a personalized form a leadership under trump? I would say no, Donald Trump is being like all previous presidents of the united states but more controversial. Thus since we have checked none of the boxes for an authoritarian government we know America isn’t turning authoritarian.

Since we know what a modern state is and what its characteristics are we can thus check to see if America is a modern state with these characteristics.

Does America have defined territory, yes it does, it borders Canada and Mexico. Does America have a permanent population, that is true America does have a permanent population. Is there a functional government, yes there is, the current government is the republican party and they are a functional government. And finally, does America have Sovereignty? Yes they can control the population with the military and the police. Thus we know America is a modern state.

Does Trumps America support a Traditional government, A natural society, Hierarchy, Authority, and Property rights? Many republican Americans are Christian and believe in keeping up traditions even in the government thus they do support the traditional government. I would agree that Americans agree with natural society and leaving people to live in freedom as long as it does not break the law. Americans do not support a hierarchy and more of a class-based system of wealth. Americans only listen to authority as in the police and the government and thus there is an authority in America. Lastly Americans believe in property rights and each having to work for their own share in a capitalist society. Thus America is turning conservatist.


  1. Peter Viereck; Richard Dagger; Terence Ball; Kenneth Minogue, 2020. Conservatism. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Febuary 2020].
  2. Britannica, T. E. o. E., 2017. Authoritarianism. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 23 February 2020].
  3. Vesey-Byrne, J., 2017. indy100 from independent. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 25 February 2020].
  4. D’Amato, D. S., 2018. Understanding the Modern State. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 03 March 2020].
  5. D'Amato, D. S., 2017. Understanding the Feudal Order. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 03 March 2020].
  6. Editorial, e., 2012. Characteristics Of A State. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 05 March 2020].
  7. Davis, R., 2016. 16 Powerful Protests That Shaped News And Culture In 2016. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 07 March 2020].
  8. Callahan, M., 2018. #METOO, #BLACKLIVESMATTER, #NOBANNOWALL: SOCIAL MOVEMENTS LIKELY TO DOMINATE 2018. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 07 March 2020].
  9. Foreman, E., 2018. Three Movements To Watch Out For In 2019. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 08 March 2020].
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Characteristics of American Government. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 17, 2024, from
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