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Autocracy is a
system of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...
in which supreme power over a
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
is concentrated in the hands of one person, whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regularized mechanisms of popular control (except perhaps for the implicit threat of
coup d'état A coup d'état (; French for "blow of state"), often shortened to coup in English, (also known as an overthrow) is a seizure and removal of a government and its powers. Typically, it is an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a politic ...
or other forms of
rebellion Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders of an established authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behavio ...
). In earlier times, the term ''autocrat'' was coined as a favorable description of a ruler, having some connection to the concept of "lack of conflicts of interests" as well as an indication of grandeur and power. This use of the term continued into modern times, as the
Russian Emperor The emperor or empress of all the Russias or All Russia, ''Imperator Vserossiyskiy'', ''Imperatritsa Vserossiyskaya'' (often titled Tsar or Tsarina/Tsaritsa) was the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch H ...
was styled "Autocrat of all the Russias" as late as the early
20th century The 20th (twentieth) century began on January 1, 1901 ( MCMI), and ended on December 31, 2000 ( MM). It was the tenth and final century of the 2nd millennium. The 20th century was dominated by significant events that defined the era: Spanish ...
. In the 19th century, Eastern and Central Europe were under autocratic monarchies within the territories of which lived diverse peoples.


History and etymology

Autocracy comes from the
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
''autos'' (Greek
αὐτός
"self") and ''kratos'' (Greek
κράτος
"power", "strength") from Kratos, the Greek personification of authority. In
Medieval Greek Medieval Greek (also known as Middle Greek or Byzantine Greek) is the stage of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek ...
, the term ''Autocrates'' was used for anyone holding the title ''emperor'', regardless of the actual power of the
monarch.
monarch.
The term was used in Ancient Greece and Rome with varying meanings. In the Middle Ages, the Byzantine Emperor was styled ''Autocrat of the Romans''. Some historical Slavic monarchs such as Russian tsars and emperors included the title ''Autocrat'' as part of their official styles, distinguishing them from the
constitutional monarchs A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. ...
elsewhere in Europe.


Comparison with other forms of government

Both
totalitarian 259x259px, Democracy Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit (2020): perceived authoritarian regimes in red, democracies in green, and color intensity ≈ regime intensity Totalitarianism is a form of government and a political system that prohi ...
and
military dictatorship A military dictatorship is a dictatorship in which the military exerts complete or substantial control over political authority, and the dictator is often a high-ranked military officer. The reverse situation is to have civilian control of the m ...
are often identified with, but need not be, an autocracy. Totalitarianism is a system where the state strives to control every aspect of life and civil society. It can be headed by a supreme leader, making it autocratic, but it can also have a
collective leadership Collective leadership is a distribution of power within an organizational structure. Communist examples China Collective leadership in China and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is generally considered to have begun with Deng Xiaoping in the lat ...
such as a
commune An intentional community is a voluntary residential community designed from the start to have a high degree of group cohesiveness, social cohesion and teamwork. The members of an intentional community typically hold a common social, politica ...

commune
,
military junta A military junta () is a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of ...
, or a single
political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and parties may promote specific political ideology ...
as in the case of a
one-party state A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. ...
.


Origin and developments

Examples from early modern Europe suggests early statehood was favorable for democracy. According to Jacob Hariri, outside Europe, history shows that early statehood has led to autocracy. The reasons he gives are continuation of the original autocratic rule and absence of "institutional transplantation" or European settlement. This may be because of the country's capacity to fight colonization, or the presence of state infrastructure that Europeans did not need for the creation of new institutions to rule. In all the cases, representative institutions were unable to get introduced in these countries and they sustained their autocratic rule. European colonization was varied and conditional on many factors. Countries which were rich in natural resources had an extractive /sup> and indirect rule whereas other colonies saw European settlement. Because of this settlement, these countries possibly experienced setting up of new institutions. Colonization also depended on factor endowments and settler mortality.
Mancur Olson Mançur Lloyd Olson Jr. (; January 22, 1932 – February 19, 1998) was an American economist An economist is a professional and practitioner in the social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A ...
theorizes the development of autocracies as the first transition from
anarchy Anarchy is the state of a society being freely constituted without authorities or a governing body A governing body is a group of people that has the authority to exercise governance Governance comprises all of the processes of governing – ...
to
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
. For Olson, anarchy is characterized by a number of "roving bandits" who travel around many different geographic areas extorting wealth from local populations leaving little incentive for populations to invest and produce. As local populations lose the incentive to produce, there is little wealth for either the bandits to steal or the people to use. Olson theorizes autocrats as "stationary bandits" who solve this dilemma by establishing control over a small fiefdom and monopolize the extortion of wealth in the fiefdom in the form of taxes. Once an autocracy is developed, Olson theorizes that both the autocrat and the local population will be better off as the autocrat will have an "encompassing interest" in the maintenance and growth of wealth in the fiefdom. Because violence threatens the creation of rents, the "stationary bandit" has incentives to monopolize violence and to create a peaceful order.
Peter Kurrild-KlitgaardPeter Kurrild-Klitgaard , , (born 1966) is a Danish political scientist with a particular interest in public choice Public choice, or public choice theory, is "the use of economic An economy (from Greek language, Greek οίκος – "househ ...
and G.T. Svendsen have argued that the Viking expansion and settlements in the 9th-11th centuries may be interpreted as an example of roving bandits becoming stationary.
Douglass North Douglass Cecil North (November 5, 1920 – November 23, 2015) was an American economist known for his work in economic history. He was the co-recipient (with Robert William Fogel) of the 1993 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. In the word ...

Douglass North
, John Joseph Wallis and Barry R. Weingast describe autocracies as limited access orders that arise from this need to monopolize violence. In contrast to Olson, these scholars understand the early state not as a single ruler, but as an organization formed by many actors. They describe the process of autocratic state formation as a bargaining process among individuals with access to violence. For them, these individuals form a dominant coalition that grants each other privileges such as the access to resources. As violence reduces the rents, members of the dominant coalition have incentives to cooperate and to avoid fighting. A limited access to privileges is necessary to avoid competition among the members of the dominant coalition, who then will credibly commit to cooperate and will form the state.


Maintenance

Because autocrats need a power structure to rule, it can be difficult to draw a clear line between historical autocracies and
oligarchies Oligarchy (; ) is a form of power structure in which power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of power ...
. Most historical autocrats depended on their
nobles Nobility is a normally ranked immediately below and found in some societies that have a formal . Nobility has often been an that possessed more acknowledged and higher than most other classes in society. The privileges associated wi ...

nobles
, the
military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...

military
, the
priest A priest is a religious leader Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social w ...

priest
hood, or other
elite In Political philosophy, political and sociology, sociological theory, the elite (French ''élite'', from Latin ''eligere'', to select or to sort out) are a small group of powerful people who hold a economic inequality, disproportionate amount o ...

elite
groups.Tullock, Gordon. "Autocracy", Springer Science+Business, 1987. . Some autocracies are rationalized by assertion of divine right; historically this has mainly been reserved for medieval kingdoms. In recent years researchers have found significant connections between the types of rules governing succession in monarchies and autocracies and the frequency with which coups or succession crises occur. According to
Douglass North Douglass Cecil North (November 5, 1920 – November 23, 2015) was an American economist known for his work in economic history. He was the co-recipient (with Robert William Fogel) of the 1993 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. In the word ...

Douglass North
, John Joseph Wallis and Barry R. Weingast, in limited access orders the state is ruled by a dominant coalition formed by a small elite group that relates to each other by personal relationships. In order to remain in power, this elite hinders people outside the dominant coalition to access organizations and resources. Autocracy is maintained as long as the personal relationships of the elite continue to forge the dominant coalition. These scholars further suggest that once the dominant coalition starts to become broader and allow for impersonal relationships, limited access orders can give place to open access orders. For
Daron Acemoglu Kamer Daron Acemoğlu (; born September 3, 1967) is a Turkish-born Armenian Americans, Armenian-American economist who has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) since 1993. He is currently the James Rhyne Killian, Elizabeth an ...

Daron Acemoglu
, Simon Johnson and James Robinson, the allocation of political power explains the maintenance of autocracies which they usually refer to as "extractive states". For them, the ''
de jure In law and government, ''de jure'' ( ; , "by law") describes practices that are legally recognized, regardless of whether the practice exists in reality. In contrast, ("in fact") describes situations that exist in reality, even if not legally ...
'' political power comes from political institutions, whereas the ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
'' political power is determined by the distribution of resources. Those holding the political power in the present will design the political and economic institutions in the future according to their interests. In autocracies, both ''de jure'' and ''de facto'' political powers are concentrated in one person or a small elite that will promote institutions for keeping the ''de jure'' political power as concentrated as the de facto political power, thereby maintaining autocratic regimes with extractive institutions.


Autocracy promotion

It has been argued that
authoritarian Authoritarianism is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a mon ...
regimes such as
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
and
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
and totalitarian states such as
North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It borders China and Russia to the north, at the Yalu River, Yalu (Amnok) and Tu ...

North Korea
have attempted to export their system of government to other countries through "autocracy promotion". A number of scholars are skeptical that China and Russia have successfully exported authoritarianism abroad.


Historical examples

* The
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
, which
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
founded following the end of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
in 27 BC. Augustus officially kept the while effectively consolidating all of the real power in himself. Rome was generally peaceful and prosperous until the imperial rule of
Commodus Commodus (; 31 August 161 – 31 December 192) was a Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn R ...

Commodus
starting in 180 AD. The
crisis of the Third Century The Crisis of the Third Century, also known as Military Anarchy or the Imperial Crisis (235–284 AD), was a period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed. It ended due to the military victories of Aurelian and with the ascension of Dioclet ...
saw the
barbarian invasions The Migration Period or better known as the Barbarian Invasions (from the Roman and Greek perspective) was a period in the history of Europe, during and after the decline of the Roman Empire, decline of the Western Roman Empire, during which the ...
and insurrections by prominent generals as well as economic decline. Both
Diocletian Diocletian (; la, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; born Diocles; 22 December c. 244 – 3 December 311) was from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in , Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become a commander of ...
and
Constantine the Great Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ...

Constantine the Great
ruled as autocratic leaders, strengthening the control of the emperor in a phase known as
Dominate The Dominate, also known as the late Roman Empire is the name sometimes given to the "despotic Despotism ( el, Δεσποτισμός, ''despotismós'') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing a ...
. The empire grew extremely large and was ruled by a
tetrarchy The Tetrarchy was the system instituted by Roman Emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles throughout history. Often when ...
, instituted by Diocletian. Eventually, it was split into two halves, namely the
Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...
and the
Eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current Chinese airline based in Shanghai *Eastern Air, former name of Zambia Skyways *Eastern Air Lines, a defunct American airline that operated from 1926 to 1991 *Eastern Air Lin ...

Eastern
. The Western Roman Empire fell in 476 after civic unrest, further economic decline and invasions led to the surrender of
Romulus Augustus Romulus Augustus ( 460 – after 476, possibly still alive as late as 507), known derisively and historiographically as Augustulus, was Roman emperor The Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire ...
to
Odoacer Flavius Odoacer ( ; – 493 AD), also spelled Odovacer or Odovacar ( grc, Ὀδόακρος, translit=Odóakros), was a soldier and statesman of Barbarian kingdoms, barbarian background, who deposed the child emperor Romulus Augustulus and bec ...

Odoacer
, a Germanic king. On the other hand, the Eastern Roman Empire survived until 1453, with the
Fall of Constantinople The fall of Constantinople ( grc-x-byzant, Ἅλωσις τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως , translit=Hálōsis tē̂s Kōnstantīnoupóleōs ; tr, İstanbul'un Fethi, lit=Conquest of Istanbul ) was the capture of the capital Cap ...
. Its rulers main titles in Greek were ''Autocrator'' and ''Basileus''. * The
Eastern Han#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...
dynasty of China under
Dong Zhuo Dong Zhuo () (died 22 May 192), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere ...
. * The
Aztec Empire The Aztec Empire, or the Triple Alliance ( nci, Ēxcān Tlahtōlōyān, Help:IPA for Nahuatl, jéːʃkaːn̥ t͡ɬaʔtoːˈlóːjaːn̥, was an alliance of three Nahua peoples, Nahua city-states: , , and . These three city-states ruled th ...

Aztec Empire
, where the Mesoamerican
Aztec The Aztecs () were a Mesoamerican culture that flourished in central Mexico in the post-classic period from 1300 to 1521. The Aztec peoples included different Indigenous peoples of Mexico, ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those g ...

Aztec
s were a tremendous military powerhouse that earned a fearsome reputation of capturing prisoners during battle to be used for sacrificial rituals. The priesthood supported a pantheon that demanded human sacrifice and the nobility consisted mainly of warriors who had captured many prisoners for these sacrificial rites. The Aztec Emperor hence functioned both as the sole ruler of the empire and its military forces and as the religious figurehead behind the empire's aggressive foreign policy. *
Tsarist Tsarist autocracy (russian: царское самодержавие, transcr. ''tsarskoye samoderzhaviye''), also called Tsarism, is a form of autocracy Autocracy is a system of government in which supreme power over a State (polity), state is ...
and
Imperial Russia The Russian Empire, . commonly referred to as Imperial Russia, was a historical empire that extended across Eurasia and North America from 1721, succeeding the Tsardom of Russia following the Treaty of Nystad that ended the Great Northern War. T ...
under
Tsar Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate Orthodox Slavs, East and South Slavic monarchs. In this last capacity it lends its name to a system of government, tsarist autocra ...

Tsar
Ivan the Terrible Ivan IV Vasilyevich (russian: Ива́н Васильевич; 25 August 1530 – ), commonly known in English language, English as Ivan the Terrible (from , Romanization of Russian, romanized: , Literal translation, lit. "Ivan the Formidable ...
. Shortly after being crowned as ruler, Ivan IV immediately removed his political enemies by execution or exile and established dominance over the Russian empire, expanding the borders of his kingdom dramatically. To enforce his rule, Ivan established the Streltzy as Russia's standing army and developed two cavalry divisions that were fiercely loyal to the Tsar. He also established the
Cossacks The Cossacks * russian: казаки́ or * be, казакi * pl, Kozacy * cs, kozáci * sk, kozáci * hu, kozákok, cazacii * fi, Kasakat, cazacii * et, Kasakad, cazacii are a group of predominantly East Slavic East Slavic may refer ...

Cossacks
and the
Oprichniki . Oprichnik (russian: опри́чник, , ''man aside''; plural ''Oprichniki'') was the designation given to a member of the Oprichnina, a bodyguard corps established by Tsar Ivan the Terrible to govern a division of Russia from 1565 to 1572. Fo ...
. In his later years, Ivan made orders for his forces to sack the city of
Novgorod Veliky Novgorod ( rus, links=yes, Великий Новгород, p=vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj ˈnovɡərət), also known as just Novgorod (russian: Новгород, lit=newtown, links=yes), is the largest city and administrative center of Novgorod O ...

Novgorod
in fear of being overthrown. The ideology Orthodoxy, Autocracy and Nationality was introduced by Emperor
Nicholas I of Russia , house = Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov The House of Romanov (also transcribed Romanoff; rus, Рома́новы, Románovy, rɐˈmanəvɨ) was the reigning dynasty, imperial house of Russia from 1613 to 1917. The Romanovs achieved prom ...

Nicholas I of Russia
. * The
Tokugawa shogunate The Tokugawa shogunate (, Japanese 徳川幕府 ''Tokugawa bakufu''), also known as the , was the military government {{Systems of government Military dictatorships A military government is generally any government A government is th ...

Tokugawa shogunate
, a period of
Japanese history The first human habitation in the Japanese archipelago has been traced to prehistoric times around 30,000 BCE. The Jōmon period The is the time in Japanese prehistory, traditionally dated between  Upper Paleolithic, 14,000–300 BC ...
which followed a series of conflicts between warring clans, states, and rulers.
Tokugawa Ieyasu was the founder and first ''shōgun , officially , was the title of the military dictatorship, military dictators of Japan during most of the period spanning from 1185 to 1868. Nominally appointed by the Emperor of Japan, Emperor, shoguns ...

Tokugawa Ieyasu
seized control of all of Japan through a mix of superior tactics and diplomacy, until he became the undisputed
shogun , officially , was the title of the military dictators of Japan during most of the period spanning from 1185 to 1868. Nominally appointed by the Emperor An emperor (from la, imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem o ...
(military ruler of Japan). The shogunate established by Tokugawa and continued by his successors controlled all aspects of life, closing the borders of Japan to all foreign nations and ruling with a policy of isolationism known as ''
sakoku was the of the ese under which, for a period of 264 years during the (from 1603 to 1868), relations and trade between Japan and other countries were severely limited, and nearly all foreign nationals were barred from entering Japan, while ...
''. *
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
during the reigns of
Gustav I Gustav I, born Gustav Eriksson of the House of Vasa, Vasa Swedish nobility, noble family and later known as Gustav Vasa (12 May 1496 – 29 September 1560), was King of Sweden from 1523 until his death in 1560, previously self-recognised Prot ...
(1523–1560),
Charles XI Charles XI or Carl ( sv, Karl XI; ) was King of Sweden The monarchy of Sweden concerns the monarchical head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Fo ...

Charles XI
and
Charles XII Charles XII, sometimes Carl XII ( sv, Karl XII) or Carolus Rex (17 June 1682 – 30 November 1718 O.S.), was the King of Sweden The monarchy of Sweden concerns the monarchical head of state of Sweden,See the #IOG, Instrument of Government ...
(1680–1718), and
Gustav III Gustav III (29 March 1792), also called ''Gustavus III'', was King of Sweden from 1771 until his assassination in 1792. He was the eldest son of Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden and Queen Louisa Ulrika of Prussia. Gustav was a vocal opponent of ...

Gustav III
and
Gustav IV Adolf Gustav IV Adolf or Gustav IV Adolph (1 November 1778 – 7 February 1837) was King of Sweden The monarchy of Sweden concerns the monarchical head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodie ...
( 1772–1809). *
Denmark–Norway Denmark–Norway (Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestr ...
under the
House of Oldenburg The House of Oldenburg is a Germans, German dynasty. and with links to Denmark since the 15th century. It has branches that rule or have ruled in Denmark, Iceland, Greece, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Duchy of Schleswig, Schleswig, Duchy of Holstein, H ...
. * The
French Republic France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of severa ...
and the
French Empire#REDIRECT French Empire {{Redirect shell , {{R from ambiguous page {{R from other capitalisation ...
from 1799 to 1814 under
Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon Bonaparte ; co, Napulione Buonaparte. (born Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) r ...

Napoleon Bonaparte
. * The
President of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of ...

President of the United States
has been regarded as an autocratic ruler over sovereign Native American nations, in his role as chief executive of the
Department of the Interior The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) is a federal executive department of the Federal government of the United States, U.S. government. It is responsible for the management and conservation of most federal lands and natural resource ...
and its
Office of Indian Affairs The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), also known as Indian Affairs (IA), is a United States federal agency within the Department of the Interior The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) is a federal executive department of the Fede ...

Office of Indian Affairs
, which oversaw relations between the U.S. and Native American nations. The U.S. government imposed complete control over the citizens of Native nations whose nations had entered into treaties with the U.S. This was especially true in the second half of the 19th century when U.S. policy was to acquire territory from Native nations and then remove that nation's population to the
Indian Territory The Indian Territory and the Indian Territories are terms that generally described an evolving land area set aside by the United States Government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. governmen ...
and confine them there. The confined population retained the citizenship of their Native nation and were not eligible for American citizenship because they were considered "Indians not taxed" under
Article One of the United States Constitution Article One of the United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the Supremacy Clause, supreme law of the United States, United States of America. This founding document, originally comprising seven articles, deline ...
. Unable to acquire U.S. citizenship, this meant that the confined population had no civil rights because they were not recognized as "persons" under American law. This deprived them of all means of legal redress to challenge the autocratic rule of the U.S. government imposed over every aspect of their lives. Native Americans were specifically excluded from the grant of universal citizenship following the abolition of slavery under the
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution The Fourteenth Amendment (Amendment XIV) to the United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the Supremacy Clause, supreme law of the United States, United States of America. This founding document, originally com ...
in 1868. It was not until 1879 that the first Native American was recognized as a "person" in the landmark civil rights case '' Standing Bear v. Crook''. In the Standing Bear case, 29 citizens of the Ponca Nation led by Standing Bear were required to renounce their Ponca citizenship just to acquire the basic constitutional right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness following the illegal forced removal of the Ponca to the Indian Territory in 1877 by the U.S. government in violation of the Ponca Treaty of 1865. Public opinion following the Standing Bear case led to a push for Native American citizenship with many major U.S. newspapers criticizing the U.S. autocracy. In 1880, the ''
New York Tribune The ''New-York Tribune'' was an American newspaper founded in 1841 by editor Horace Greeley Horace Greeley (February 3, 1811 – November 29, 1872) was an American newspaper editor and publisher who was the founder and newspaper editor, ...
'' editorialized: "So long as the Indians remain without the protection of the law, we give the lie to our claim to be a republic as much as we did when we permitted slavery. So far as they are concerned, our government is as autocratic today as that of Russia or Persia." Native Americans were not granted universal American citizenship for another 45 years when the
Indian Citizenship Act The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, (, enacted June 2, 1924) was an Act of the United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make la ...
was enacted in 1924. Still, autocratic rule continued. In 1934,
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
recognized his government's autocratic rule over Native Americans, saying the "continuance of autocratic rule by a federal department over the lives of more than 200,000 citizens of this nation is incompatible with American ideals of liberty". Despite Roosevelt's
Indian Reorganization Act The Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of June 18, 1934, or the Wheeler–Howard Act, was U.S. federal legislation that dealt with the status of American Indians in the United States. It was the centerpiece of what has been often called the "Indian ...
, autocratic rule continued until the administration of Richard Nixon and the enactment of the
Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 (Public Law 93-638) authorized the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare The United States secretary of health and human services is the ...
. * The
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
under the rule of
Joseph Stalin ( – 5 March 1953) was a Georgians, Georgian revolutionary and Soviet political leader who governed the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. He held power both as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952 ...
in addition to other Soviet dictators. The Soviet Union was founded in 1922 following the
Russian Civil War , date = October Revolution, 7 November 1917 – Yakut revolt, 16 June 1923{{Efn, The main phase ended on 25 October 1922. Revolt against the Bolsheviks continued Basmachi movement, in Central Asia and Tungus Republic, the Far East th ...
(1917–1922), and several of its leaders have been considered autocratic.
Political repression Political repression is the act of a state entity controlling a citizenry by force for political reasons, particularly for the purpose of restricting or preventing the citizenry's ability to take part in the political life of a society ...
occurred in the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991. * Fascist Italy under 's rule starting from 1925. *
Empire of Japan The was a historical nation-state A nation state is a political unit where the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of Sta ...

Empire of Japan
under
Hirohito , posthumuously known as Emperor , was the List of emperors of Japan, 124th emperor of Japan, ruling from 1926 until his death in 1989. Hirohito and his wife, Empress Kōjun, had two sons and five daughters; he was succeeded by his fifth child a ...
and
Hideki Tojo Hideki Tojo (, ', December 30, 1884 – December 23, 1948) was a Japanese politician, general officer, general of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) and convicted War Criminal, war criminal who served as Prime Minister of Japan and President ...

Hideki Tojo
with
Imperial Rule Assistance Association The , or Imperial Aid Association, was the Empire of Japan The was a historical nation-state that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 until the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of Japan, 1947 constitution and subs ...
. *
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...

Nazi Germany
ruled by
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the dictator of Nazi Germany, Germany from 1933 to 1945. Adolf Hitler's rise to power, He rose to power as the leader of the Nazi Party, becoming Cha ...

Adolf Hitler
. After the failed
Beer Hall Putsch The Beer Hall Putsch, also known as the Munich Putsch,Dan Moorhouse, ed schoolshistory.org.uk, accessed 2008-05-31.Known in German language, German as the or was a failed coup d'état by Nazi Party ( or NSDAP) leader Adolf Hitler, Erich Lu ...
, the
Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, ...
began a more subtle political strategy to take over the government. Following a tense social and political environment in the 1930s, the Nazis under Hitler took advantage of the civil unrest of the state to seize power through cunning propaganda and by the charismatic speeches of their party leader. By the time Hitler was appointed
Chancellor of Germany The chancellor of Germany, officially the Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (german: Bundeskanzler(in) der Bundesrepublik Deutschland), is the head of the federal government of Germany The Federal Cabinet or Federal Govern ...
, the Nazi Party began to restrict civil liberties on the public following the
Reichstag Fire The Reichstag fire (german: Reichstagsbrand, ) was an arson attack on the Reichstag building, home of the German parliament in Berlin, on Monday 27 February 1933, precisely four weeks after Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany. Hit ...
. With a combination of cooperation and intimidation, Hitler and his party systematically weakened all opposition to his rule, transforming the
Weimar Republic The Weimar Republic (german: Weimarer Republik ) was the German state from 1918 to 1933 when it functioned as a federal constitutional republic. The state was officially named the German Reich (german: Deutsches Reich, link=no, label=none), ...
into a dictatorship where Hitler alone spoke and acted on behalf of Germany. Nazi Germany is an example of an autocracy run primarily by a single leader and his party. *
Spanish State Francoist Spain ( es, España franquista) or the Francoist dictatorship ( es, dictadura franquista, links=no), was the period of history of Spain, Spanish history between 1939 and 1975, when Francisco Franco ruled Spain with the title ''Caudill ...

Spanish State
, ruled by
Francisco Franco Francisco Franco Bahamonde (; 4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975) was a Spanish general who led the Nationalist forces in overthrowing the Second Spanish Republic The Spanish Republic ( es, link=no, República Española), commonly ...

Francisco Franco
. * The
Hungarian People's Republic The Hungarian People's Republic ( hu, Magyar Népköztársaság) was a one-party state, one-party socialist state from 20 August 1949 to 23 October 1989. It was governed by the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party, which was under the influence ...
as a member of the Soviet-aligned
Eastern Bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' ...
. *
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...
under the
military junta A military junta () is a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of ...
of
Georgios Papadopoulos Georgios Papadopoulos (; el, Γεώργιος Παπαδόπουλος ; 5 May 1919 – 27 June 1999) was a Greek dictator, the head of the military coup d'état A coup d'état (; French for "blow of state") or coup is the removal and seiz ...

Georgios Papadopoulos
(1967-1974). *
Paraguay Paraguay (; ), officially the Republic of Paraguay ( es, República del Paraguay, links=no; gn, Tetã Paraguái, links=no), is a country in South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively sma ...

Paraguay
under the
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...
of
Alfredo Stroessner Alfredo Stroessner Matiauda (; 3 November 1912 – 16 August 2006) was a Paraguayan Army officer who was the dictator of Paraguay from 1954 to 1989. He ascended to the position after leading 1954 Paraguayan coup d'état, an army coup in 1954. Hi ...
. *
Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be described as the southern ...

Chile
under the
dictatorship A dictatorship is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...
of
Pinochet Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte (, also , , ; 25 November 1915 – 10 December 2006) was a Chilean Army Captain general#Chile, General, politician and military dictatorship, military dictator who ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990, first as the ...
. *
Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cuba, links=no ), is a country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud Isla de la Juventud (; en, Isle of Youth) is the second-largest Cuban islan ...

Cuba
under the dictatorships of
Fulgencio Batista Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar (; ; born Rubén Zaldívar, January 16, 1901 – August 6, 1973) was a Cuban military officer and politician who served as the elected president of Cuba The president of Cuba ( es, Presidente de Cuba), officiall ...

Fulgencio Batista
and
Fidel Castro Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (; ; 13 August 1926 – 25 November 2016) was a Cuban revolutionary, lawyer, and politician who was the leader of Cuba from 1959 to 2008, serving as the prime minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976 and President of Cuba ...

Fidel Castro
. *Venezuela under the dictatorships of
Hugo Chavez Hugo or HUGO may refer to: People and fictional characters * Victor Hugo, a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. * Hugo (name), including lists of people with Hugo as a given name or surname, as well as fictional charact ...
and
Nicolas Maduro Nicolas or Nicolás may refer to: People * Nicolas (given name) Nicolas or Nicolás may refer to given names cognate to English Nicholas. The given name ''Nicolas'' is widely used in France () and Brazil (). The variant Nicolás () is widely u ...

Nicolas Maduro
.


See also

*
Absolute monarchy Absolute monarchy (or absolutism as doctrine) is a form of monarchy in which the monarch holds supreme autocracy, autocratic authority, principally not being restricted by written laws, legislature, or customs. These are often hereditary monar ...
*
Anocracy Anocracy or semi-democracy is a form of government that is loosely defined as part democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, th ...
*
Autarchism Autarchism is a political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the relationships between them. Its topics i ...
* Authoritarianism * Centralisation * Despotism * Dictatorship * Führerprinzip * Monarchy * Oligarchy * Theocracy * Tsarist autocracy * Tyranny * Theonomy


References


External links

* Felix Bethke
"Research on Autocratic Regimes: Divide et Impera"
''Katapult-Magazine'' (2015-03-15) {{Authority control · Authoritarianism Dictatorship