Military governments have been around since the days of feudalism. It
is the oldest and most common political state. According to Shively, a military
government is one in which a group of officers use their troops to take over the
governmental apparatus and run it themselves. Military governments are usually
weak in appeasing the masses for they are known to be brutal and power hungry
and are also rather fragile, both internally and externally.
In its primitive state, existing as feudalism, the high ranking
officials/nobility and the military itself was composed solely of the elite
ruling class. But as society became more complex, the role of the elite was
slightly altered as technology progressed and the nobility and kings no longer
controlled weapons nor could prevent the disintegration of the feudal society.
Modern military governments usually occur after the military stages a
coup. A coup is the forceful deposition of a government by all or a portion of
the armed forces and installation of a new military government. Coups
ordinarily take place when the present government poses a threat to the state or
the status quo. Because the military controls more armed power than anyone in a
state, they have the ability to take over the government at any given time. In
Power and Choice, Shively questions the notion of the infrequency of military
governments. Yes, they are common, but why aren't they more common? The reason
being that as societies advance and become more complex, it is necessary for the
ruling elite to be more knowledgeable of the processes by which a government is
operated. This explains the recurrence of civilian-run governments. The
military may have a few leaders who are skilled politically, but the armed
forces are not customarily trained to run governments. Recall that the role of
the military is to protect and serve the state, therefore there is usually a
cycle, known as the Barracks cycle, in which the military brings about a coup,
but later reestablishes civilian control, and is the new state threatens
governmental stability, the military stages yet another coup, etc. The longer
the military stays in power, the more the political state exists unstably.
In Nigeria, for ...
... middle of paper ...
... form of government or evolve to a new sophisticated
In any case, military governments are weak internally and externally.
They pose as forms of transitional governments, not necessarily in times of
revolution, but in times when the state itself becomes weak or poses a threat to
the status quo. Though some military governments do perservere for years and
years without being overthrown, their inability to run the state efficiently
forces the military to restore democracy or to stage another overthrow of the
government. Also, because the military government itself takes power through no
regular process as other, more stable forms of government, but simply seizes it,
they encounter the problem of legitimacy. Lastly, coalitions internally are in
itself a whole other government. The weakness and competition present between
these coalitions usually causes the downfall of the military government and
installment of a new civilian-run government decided so by the general consensus.
Generally, all military governments will fail in time and return to it previous
government or evolve to a whole new governmental system with a revolution.
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