An autocracy is a system of governance whereby absolute power is held by a single person. Autocracies are similar to totalitarian regimes and dictatorships, but differ in several ways.
Autocracy is a government system which relies on a single person possessing unlimited power. The sole leader is referred to as an autocrat, which is derived from the ancient Greece model in which the "autokrator" was referred to as the "self-ruler" or "one who rules by himself."
Modern day autocrats are associated with despots, dictators and tyrants, although they each have their own separate and distinct meaning. Autocracy and totalitarianism are also orthogonal concepts; autocracy represents unlimited power, while totalitarianism looks to regulate every aspect of private and public life. In addition, an autocracy always has a single ruler, while a totalitarian government is not necessarily based on singular rule.
Historically, defining an autocracy has proved difficult because most autocrats require some kind of power structure to rule. Famous examples of autocratic societies include the Byzantine Empire, Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Russian emperors even included "autocrat" in their official title. The origin of this use dates back to the Byzantine Empire where "autokrator" was employed with "basileus" to denote emperor. Modern Greek still uses this term when referring to any emperor, regardless of actual power over state.Learn More
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 >
A confederate system of government is one where regional, or state, governments hold most of the power and the central government is weaker. The central government holds only the amount of power that the smaller political units allow it to exercise. This type of government is much less common than federal or unitary systems.Full Answer >
The constitution of a nation is the set of rules that governs how a government can exercise power. The constitution usually allocates different powers to various institutions and determines how they should exercise their powers. It is important to have rules that regulate how a government exercises its power because a government is usually the most powerful coercive force within a country.Full Answer >
The divine right theory of government posits that a ruling authority, such as a monarch, derives power directly from God. As a result, the king is not answerable to the aristocracy, the church, the people or anyone else.Full Answer >