Autocracy vs. Dictatorship: What’s The Difference Between Autocracy And Dictatorship?

What are the differences between an autocracy and a dictatorship? What are the pros and cons of each system of government? What are some examples of each? Read on to find out.
Autocracy vs. Dictatorship: 5 Key Differences, Pros & Cons, Examples

An autocracy and dictatorship are similar systems of governance used interchangeably. But if we talk about autocracy vs. dictatorship differences, both have different organizations, political systems, and decisions. An autocracy is a government ruled by only one person, while a dictatorship is a kind of autocracy ruled by one person or group of people.

Let’s take a closer look at Autocracy vs. Dictatorship

Headed ByAutocracy is only headed by one person, while a dictatorship can also be headed by a group.
Monarchical systemMonarchies can be autocracies, but Dictatorships don’t have to be monarchs
EffectAutocracy consider less evil than dictatorship
ControlIn both political systems, the ruler has all the control

What Is Autocracy?

What Is Autocracy? If we look at the meaning, it is a political system in which all the supreme authority tests in the hands of one person. In an autocracy, all the legal powers are handled by just one person, like creating state policies and making national decisions. An autocrat run this government and is not answerable to anyone. Autocratic leaders make decisions according to their judgment and ideas, which have zero input from the followers. But at earlier times, the word "autocracy" has a more positive meaning. At that time, autocratic regimes did not have to deal with political fights from the opposing sides because there were none to begin with. For example, August, the first Roman emperor, retained the Roman senate and kept all the power to himself. In his time, Rome grew prosperous and peaceful.

If we look at the meaning, it is a political system in which all the supreme authority tests in the hands of one person. In an autocracy, all the legal powers are handled by just one person, like creating state policies and making national decisions. An autocrat run this government and is not answerable to anyone. Autocratic leaders make decisions according to their judgment and ideas, which have zero input from the followers. But at earlier times, the word “autocracy” has a more positive meaning. At that time, autocratic regimes did not have to deal with political fights from the opposing sides because there were none to begin with. For example, August, the first Roman emperor, retained the Roman senate and kept all the power to himself. In his time, Rome grew prosperous and peaceful.

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What Is Dictatorship?

What Is Dictatorship? If we look at dictatorship meaning: it is a form of government in which the nation is ruled by one person or a group of people. The ruling by dictatorship is exercised through many different mechanisms to make sure that power stays in control. A dictatorship is basically a form of authoritarianism where people who have power have control over every aspect of the people's personal and public lives. All types of political propaganda are used on the public to make them less interested in the opposite government. Monarchy systems in the West employed various religious tactics to maintain their rule. Between the 10th and 20th centuries, the traditional monarchies declined. Elf-appointed leaders were backed by private armies. Which started a wave of military dictatorship in South America into the mid-20th century.

If we look at dictatorship meaning: it is a form of government in which the nation is ruled by one person or a group of people. The ruling by dictatorship is exercised through many different mechanisms to make sure that power stays in control. A dictatorship is basically a form of authoritarianism where people who have power have control over every aspect of the people’s personal and public lives. All types of political propaganda are used on the public to make them less interested in the opposite government. Monarchy systems in the West employed various religious tactics to maintain their rule. Between the 10th and 20th centuries, the traditional monarchies declined. Elf-appointed leaders were backed by private armies. Which started a wave of military dictatorship in South America into the mid-20th century.

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5 Key Differences Between Autocracy And Dictatorship

ComponentsAutocracyDictatorship
DefinitionAn autocracy is a political system in which all the authorities are handed to a single ruler. That ruler exercises both legal and political power decisions.A dictatorship is a type of government in which the authority is handed to a single person or a group of people.
Political SystemThe political system in an autocracy is run by only one person, which makes all the decisions, and no one can question them.The political system in a dictatorship is ruled by one person or group of people, which is exercised through a different mechanism.
DecisionsIn an autocracy, the ruler makes decisions very carefully and refrains from making any extremely important decision that can hurt his people.In a dictatorship, the ruler cares about the consequences on the people after his choice, but he still carries out his intentions even if they lead to some harm to people.
RulersAutocracy is ruled only by a single person.Dictatorship is ruled by one person or a whole party or class.
ThoughtfulnessAutocrats used different methods to rule and control their county and the people in it.Dictatorship is much like a monarchy, in which a party or person rules a country and its resources. 

Autocracy vs. Dictatorship Similarities

  • Autocracy or dictatorship are both forms of government or a political system.
  • In both systems, the ruler has infinite power of ruling and decision-making.
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Autocracy vs. Dictatorship Examples

Autocracy Examples

  • August, the first Roman emperor, retained the Roman senate and kept all the power to himself. In his time, Rome grew prosperous and peaceful.
  • Tokugawa became the single ruler of medieval Japan. He closed his borders to foreign trade and controlled all aspects of human lives.

Dictatorship Examples

  • An example of dictatorship can be seen in Spain, ruled by Francisco Franco, who made many controversial decisions.
  • A wave of military dictatorship started in South America in mid 20th century when Elf-appointed leaders were defeated by private enemies.

Autocracy vs. Dictatorship Pros and Cons

Autocracy Pros and Cons

Autocracy Pros and Cons

Pros of Autocracy

  • In an autocracy, the government is ruled by a single person, meaning there is less waste than when multiple branches exist.
  • In an autocracy, the ruler makes the decision very carefully and refrains from making any extremely important decision that can hurt his people.

Cons of Autocracy

  • In an autocracy, there are no different parties with different political views. This means no one would stand up for his rights or his family.
  • There are no individual liberties for the people under autocracy. In an autocracy, there are restrictions on freedom of the press, media, speech, and other civil liberties.

Dictatorship Pros and Cons

Dictatorship Pros and Cons

Pros of Dictatorship

  • In a dictatorship, the government is ruled by a group of people, making it easier to control the country and its people.
  • When everyone in a dictatorship has the same ideas, it can be used as an army against the opposition party.

Cons of Dictatorship

  • Inequality among the people of the ruling party can lead to harmful consequences like unfair distribution of wealth and impoverishment of the masses.
  • In a dictatorship, the ruler carries out his intentions in making decisions even if they lead to some harm to people.

Comparison Chart

What are the differences between an autocracy and a dictatorship? What are the pros and cons of each system of government? What are some examples of each? Read on to find out.

Comparison Video

What is the difference between an authoritarian, a dictator, and a fascist?

Conclusion                  

Autocracy and dictatorship are the two forms of government that are often used interactable. But if we talk about autocracy versus dictatorship, these are both different in many ways. The main difference between autocracy and dictatorship is that an autocracy is a form of a political system in which a single person rules the whole country, while in a dictatorship, a person or a whole party can be a ruler. Moreover, in autocracy, the people of the country elect their ruler. While in a dictatorship, the ruler is a dictator. In both the political system, the ruler has infinite power to make decisions and control every aspect of human lives.

Alex Stantor

Author & Researcher @ Difference 101 Master in Philosophy & Data Analysis, Sorbonne Université (Graduated 2011) Lived in New York City

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