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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 ?
We consider a setting where each economy is characterized by an initial comparative disadvantage in manufacturing, and study the optimal regimes chosen in three types of oligarchies: a benchmark capital oligarchy with inexpensive bequests, a land oligarchy, and a capital oligarchy with expensive bequests.
For, the entrenched oligarchies are not easy to dislodge.
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.
For example, a number of countries (Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) have regressed from oligarchies to autocracies; and a number of democracies have regressed either to autocracies (Azerbaijan) or to oligarchies (Armenia and Georgia).
Aristotle lists the causes of why oligarchies and aristocracies break up.
It's when "corporations and oligarchies" take control of forests "for their own ends" that people rise up in protest, says Berman.
Historically the status of "mixed-race" people has presented an administrative and political problem for racial oligarchies, but the situations of South Africa and the United States differ significantly.
A caller told a local newspaper that the bombings were the work of the leftist Revolutionary Nucleii protesting at "the criminal Nato formation, the European Union and their banking oligarchies which force a capitalist dictatorship".
Their faith unshaken by the spectacle of fatted oligarchies in Thailand and Indonesia paying a heavy price for their insolence and greed, Mr.
Tittler's central thesis - a convincing one - is that ruling urban oligarchies built these halls primarily to strengthen and symbolize their political authority.