What’s the Difference Between Limited and Unlimited Government? | Social Studies

November 23, 2015 thetasctest

What’s the Difference Between Limited and Unlimited Government? | Social Studies

Governments provide safety and structure to a country. Depending on the type of government a country has – limited or unlimited – will determine the amount of power the government has over its citizens. Understanding the difference between a limited and unlimited government is a high emphasis topic on the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™ Social Studies subtest.

Let’s take a look at what makes them different:

Limited Government

Limited governments have established and respected laws and restraints of power.

  • The power of the government is usually limited by a binding document.
    • For example, the Constitution of the United States details all powers and limitations the government has.
  • Citizens’ rights are protected by the constitution.
    • For example, in America, freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights.
  • All citizens, figures of authority, and government officials must obey established laws and restraints of power.
  • Limited governments seek to improve and protect the public.
  • The United States, India, and Mexico have limited governments.


Unlimited Government

Unlimited governments have no restraint of power and are typically led by a leader who is above established laws.

  • The power of the government is not limited by a constitution or laws.
  • These governments have total control over their citizens.
    • For example, China enacted a one-child policy to control the country's population in 1979. It was recently announced that families will be allowed to have a second child, according to the NYTimes.com.
  • There are two different types of unlimited governments.
    • Authoritarian governments concentrate power to one person or a small group of people.
    • Totalitarian governments try to control every aspect of their citizen’s lives and ban independent organizations.
  • Unlimited governments seek to increase power.
  • China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia have unlimited governments. 
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