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ARISTOCRACY. That form of government in which the sovereign power is exercised by a small number of persons to the exclusion of the remainder of the people.

References in classic literature ?
The feudal aristocracy was not the only class that has ruined by the bourgeoisie, not the only class whose conditions of existence pined and perished in the atmosphere of modern bourgeois society.
The fight of the German, and especially, of the Prussian bourgeoisie, against feudal aristocracy and absolute monarchy, in other words, the liberal movement, became more earnest.
It is, therefore, not among our aristocracy that we must look (if at all, in Appallachia), for the spirituality of a British boudoir.
The spirit of clanship which was, at an early day, introduced into that kingdom, uniting the nobles and their dependants by ties equivalent to those of kindred, rendered the aristocracy a constant overmatch for the power of the monarch, till the incorporation with England subdued its fierce and ungovernable spirit, and reduced it within those rules of subordination which a more rational and more energetic system of civil polity had previously established in the latter kingdom.
First, then, I said, let us enquire how timocracy (the government of honour) arises out of aristocracy (the government of the best).
But the aristocracy of the earth are not of such as these.
Even a Master of Arts in our University of Wentbridge has been known to confuse a ten-sided with a twelve-sided Polygon; and there is hardly a Doctor of Science in or out of that famous University who could pretend to decide promptly and unhesitatingly between a twenty-sided and a twenty-four sided member of the Aristocracy.
I CAN NEVER TOO OFTEN REPEAT THAT aristocracy is a monster to be chained," John Adams cautioned Benjamin Rush, "yet so chained as not to be hurt, for he is a most useful and necessary animal in his place.
The Destruction of the Medieval Chinese Aristocracy, by Nicolas Tackett.
Making Ireland English: The Irish Aristocracy in the Seventeenth Century.
But those of an aristocracy do tend to monopolize power and wealth in the hands of a few, because in the nature of thing an aristocracy is a minority.
This satirical guide to manners was originally aimed at the aristocracy and first published back in 1900, but it''''s never too late to swot up on the proper rules of etiquette.