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OLIGARCHY. This name is given to designate the power which a few citizens of a state have usurped, which ought by the constitution to reside in the people. Among the Romans the government degenerated several times into an oligarchy; for example, under the decemvirs, when they became the only magistrates in the commonwealth.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
What use would a constitutional reform be to a Liberal candidate who would simply resort to oligarchic tactics like a grand wedding?
The post Le Pen's FN party calls EU flag "oligarchic rag" appeared first on Cyprus Mail .
The strong cultural emphasis on pesse (solidarity), the collegial or oligarchic nature of statecraft, a habit of contractual arrangements with porous host societies, and specific steps by Wajo to open its doors and encourage migration were the keys to this success.
This month of September is likely to be equally telling, perhaps even historic, in that critical arena where citizens' rights, expectations and power come into contact -- and confrontation -- with the power of the government and the state, as well as the oligarchic elite that has managed them both throughout Lebanon's history as an independent country.
In Southeast Asia, the forcible disorganization of popular and leftist forces has left as the main political actors dominant, illiberal, oligarchic elites; relatively weak and contingently liberal and democratic middle-class NGOs; and conservative religious organizations.
Oligarchic power flourished during the Soeharto era.
Themistocles is forced to an unwilling alliance with the traditional rival of Athens, oligarchic Sparta whose might lies with its superior infantry troops.
The system in operation is a product of Tony Blair, who weakened the Labour Party and its relationship with the trade unions, and set up councils with oligarchic cabinets or policy made by a few.
The long-standing contest between older communal and republican traditions and newer oligarchic forms, papal interference in Bolognese politics, and the fear of a Bentivoglio restoration, all had a significant impact on the formation of the Bolognese charitable system.
Armenia is experiencing a critical situation, which is proved by large-scale migration, oligarchic structure of
Placing all the power in one person's hands fits the model of oligarchic control and if we need to have a current example of this we need look no further than the creation of Police and Crime Commissioners to see how undemocratic and unaccountable these oligarchies really are.
Thousands of demonstrators demand the resignation of the Socialist-led government, deeming it corrupt and protective of oligarchic interests, including Russian political and business interests.