Dictatorship

A dictatorship is defined as an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by an individual: a dictator. It has three possible meanings:

  1. A Roman dictator was the incumbent of a political office of legistrate of the Roman Republic. Roman dictators were allocated absolute power during times of emergency. Their power was originally neither arbitrary nor unaccountable, being subject to law and requiring retrospective justification. There were no such dictatorships after the beginning of the 2nd century BC, and later dictators such as Sulla and the Roman Emperors exercised power much more personally and arbitrarily.
  2. A government controlled by one person, or a small group of people. In this form of government the power rests entirely on the person or group of people, and can be obtained by force or by inheritance. The dictator(s) may also take away much of its peoples' freedom.
  3. In contemporary usage, dictatorship refers to an autocratic form of absolute rule by leadership unrestricted by law, constitutions, or other social and political factors within the state.

For some scholars, a dictatorship is a form of government that has the power to govern without consent of those being governed (similar to authoritarianism), while totalitarianism describes a state that regulates nearly every aspect of public and private behavior of the people. In other words, dictatorship concerns the source of the governing power and totalitarianism concerns the scope of the governing power.

In this sense, dictatorship (government without people's consent) is a contrast to democracy (government whose power comes from people) and totalitarianism (government controls every aspect of people's life) opposes pluralism (government allows multiple lifestyles and opinions).

Other scholars stress the omnipotence of the State (with its consequent suspension of rights) as the key element of a dictatorship and argue that such concentration of power can be legitimate or not depending on the circumstances, objectives and methods employed.

Read more about Dictatorship:  Definitions, History, Origins of Power, Impact On Culture

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Miguel Etchecolatz
... officer, who worked in the Buenos Aires Provincial Police during the first years of the military dictatorship ... was a series of atrocities committed under the military dictatorship of Argentina during 1976 to 1983 ... The dictatorship began with a coup d'état staged against President Isabel Perón by a military junta led by General Jorge Rafael Videla ...
Brasil: Nunca Mais
... Evaristo Arns, in which episodes of torture under the military dictatorship in Brazil between 1964 and 1979 are documented ... The book was kept secret for five years under the dictatorship, and only published with the return to democracy ... years by tremendously brave lawyers and Church activists while the country was still under dictatorship ...
Celso Emilio Ferreiro - Dictatorship
... Ferreiro was mobilized in the Spanish Civil War by Francisco Franco's troops ... He studied law, and contributed to many magazines and newspapers over the period of Franco's dictatorship ...
Dictatorship - Impact On Culture
... The wave of military dictatorships in Latin America in the second half of the twentieth century left a particular mark on Latin American culture ... In Latin American literature, the dictator novel challenging dictatorship and caudillismo, is a significant genre ... There are also many films depicting Latin American military dictatorships ...
Antonio López De Santa Anna - Redemption, Dictatorship, and Exile
... In 1838, Santa Anna had a chance for redemption from the loss of Texas ... After Mexico rejected French demands for financial compensation for losses suffered by French citizens, France sent forces that landed in Veracruz in the Pastry War ...

Famous quotes containing the word dictatorship:

    In the kingdom of consumption the citizen is king. A democratic monarchy: equality before consumption, fraternity in consumption, and freedom through consumption. The dictatorship of consumer goods has finally destroyed the barriers of blood, lineage and race.
    Raoul Vaneigem (b. 1934)

    Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.
    George Orwell (1903–1950)

    Those newspapers of the nation which most loudly cried dictatorship against me would have been the first to justify the beginnings of dictatorship by somebody else.
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945)