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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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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And by the end of the civil wars, war and exile had insured that a fairly uniform military culture characterized the aristocracies. The early part of the eighteenth century saw the three kingdoms fully engaged in European and colonial wars and in a refocusing of politics and foreign and military policies that indicated the inextricability of martial culture from a developing sense of British identity.
Michele Renee Salzman focuses specifically on members of the Roman senatorial, imperial, bureaucratic, and ecclesiastical aristocracies in the West from 284 to 423 from an empire that practiced traditional Roman religions to one that outlawed them.
With the exception of the English aristocracy, aristocracies and colonial elites running patrimonial management economic systems have generally been viewed as a parasitic class contributing little to process of economic growth.
Even recent works about the different types of aristocracies have rejected traditional sketches emphasizing their social failure derived from their political inability to found longlasting regimes in France.
It is in the nature of new aristocracies that they tend - at first, or until they've acquired the self-confidence to impose their own tastes and culture - to adopt the values of the class they've superseded.
Here and elsewhere he compares and contrasts with the case of other contemporary aristocracies, but without overdoing it or ever forgetting the special circumstances which obliged the aristocracy of this corner of Europe to remain committed to its military function -- though in this connection more might have been said of the role of the non-noble urban militias, the caballeros villanos, and further thought have been given to the proposition that by the twelfth century `bishops drawn from the greatest noble families seem to have become few and far between'.