A dictatorship is defined as an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by an individual, the dictator. It has three possible meanings:
1. A Roman dictator was a politicaloffice 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 andrequiring 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 personallyand arbitrarily.
2. A government controlled by one person or a small group of people.
3. In contemporary usage, dictatorship refers to an autocratic form of absolute rule by leadershipunrestricted by law, constitutions, or other social and political factors within the state.
Among the most extreme examples of a dictatorship in recent history were Nazi Germany and the SovietUnion.
In the twentieth century, hereditary dictatorship has become a common phenomenon.
For some scholars, dictatorship is a form of government that has the power to govern without consentof those being governed, 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 ofthe governing power (where the power comes from) and totalitarianism concerns the scope of the governing power (what is the government). 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 lifestylesand opinions). Though the definitions of the terms differ, they are related in reality as most of the dictatorship states tend to show totalitarian characteristics. When governments' power does not...
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