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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.
References in classic literature ?
A few passers turned their heads, and a few shook their fingers at him as an aristocrat; otherwise, that a man in good clothes should be going to prison, was no more remarkable than that a labourer in working clothes should be going to work.
From the cradle, Alfred was an aristocrat; and as he grew up, instinctively, all his sympathies and all his reasonings were in that line, and all mother's exhortations went to the winds.
The fact is, though he has fallen on democratic times, and embraced a democratic theory, he is to the heart an aristocrat, as much as my father, who ruled over five or six hundred slaves."
So he reasons, because, as I said, he is born an aristocrat;--so I don't believe, because I was born a democrat."
The capitalist and aristocrat of England cannot feel that as we do, because they do not mingle with the class they degrade as we do.
Horne Fisher had in him something of the aristocrat, which is very near to the anarchist.
Most men rather admire the nobs for having a good time, but I think we surrender too much when we admit that aristocracy has made even the aristocrats happy.
Don't be too hard on the aristocrats themselves if their heads are as weak as ours would be, and they are snobs about their own sorrows."
At this instant Ginevra abandoned the meditative attitude in which she had been contemplating her canvas, and turned her head toward the group of aristocrats. She measured, at a glance, the distance that now separated her from them; but she said nothing.
The most striking example of the latter phenomenon in this novel is Nichols, the town's black barber, who now lives in the Colonel's ancestral mansion and pays an impoverished southern aristocrat to give his daughter piano and voice lessons.
Stanko Milov, partnering Barker on opening night, was also good, his dancing often brilliant, especially in the Third Act Black Swan Pas de Deux, and every inch the aristocrat throughout.
But with Stewart's trading habits worrying Wall Street like a stubborn stain, the public ponders a deeper crisis of confidence: Who in America will stand for wholesome homemaking now that the aristocrat of craft has been herself besmirched?