Q:

What is a dictatorship?

A:

Quick Answer

A dictatorship is a system of government in which a single person or party has complete political power; the dictator often maintains power by employing oppressive methods. Dictatorship is an old form of government with origins in ancient Rome. Dictators often ascend to power through democratic means but use their authority to subvert constitutional safeguards.

Know More
What is a dictatorship?
Credit: Keystone-France Gamma-Keystone Getty Images

Full Answer

According to Political Systems, a dictatorship is characterized by the rule of a dictator and the presence of a single dominant party. Examples include Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany, Stalin and the Communist Party in Russia and Benito Mussolini and the National Fascist Party in Italy. Once dictators are in office, they use unlawful methods to cement themselves and their party in power. They imprison, exile or assassinate political opponents, change the constitution and manipulate the press. In a dictatorship, the ruling party is closely aligned with the military and the dictator is often seen as a high general. This is in contrast to modern democracies, in which leaders distance themselves from the military and the law subordinates the armed forces to civilian control.

The term "dictator" and the concept come from ancient Rome. Originally, a dictator was an incumbent of a political office endowed by the Senate with strong emergency powers to deal with major threats. The dictator did not have unlimited or arbitrary power. The period of his dictatorship was circumscribed and he was expected to render justification for all of his actions following his period of service.

Learn more about Types of Government

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the laws of dictatorship?

    A:

    There is no common set of laws within a dictatorship because the laws are always decided by the dictator himself. Most dictators enact laws that are meant to better the country, but the actual benefit of such laws is subjective.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a military regime?

    A:

    A military regime is a system of government in which the military holds the power. Such systems may be ruled by either a single individual or a small group.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the disadvantages of the unitary system?

    A:

    The disadvantages of a unitary system include a lack of power balances, the possibility for slow national response because the national government must control everything, the lack of power in the local government and a lack of representation among its citizens. The British government is a unitary system and the United States government is a federalist system.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a limited government?

    A:

    A limited government is a political system in which power is controlled by a constitution and divided among different entities in order to prevent tyranny. The governments of the United States and other western democracies are based on the idea of limited government.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore