Definition and meaning of oligarchy: Oligarchy is a system of government in which a small group of people holds the majority of power. This small group of people, often wealthy or well-connected individuals, are able to manipulate the political system to their own interests, often at the expense of the majority of the population. Oligarchy stands in stark contrast to democracy, which is a system of government in which power is held by the people. Examples of oligarchy can be seen throughout the history of the United States. For example, during the Gilded Age of the late 1800s and early 1900s, a small group of wealthy business people and politicians manipulated the political system to their own advantage. This led to a lack of economic opportunity for the middle and working classes, as well as a lack of political representation for marginalized groups. Today, oligarchy is still pervasive in American politics. Moneyed elites and powerful corporations have a disproportionate influence over the political process, leading to policies that further entrench their own power and wealth while leaving the majority of people behind. This is why reform-minded individuals and groups are fighting to ensure that the political system is more inclusive and responsive to the needs of everyday people.