In an autocracy , political power is held by a person who can control most or all aspects of people’s lives. The autocrats can be called dictators and emperors . In the past, the Egyptian pharaohs were a type of autocrat for that society. Other people can play an important role in helping to maintain the power of an autocrat, such as the elite members of society who benefit from the leader remaining in power.


What is autocracy?

Autocracy is the type of government in which power is concentrated in a single person who does not allow the participation of other individuals or social groups so that absolute decisions are solely in their power.


To maintain full control of a country, an autocratic government can use force and the repression of individual and human rights. Autocracies are authoritarian in this way, which means that one authority has the most control over everyone’s life. Authoritarian leaders can employ a variety of means to prevent loss of power, including threats of violence to those who speak out against them.

  • Etymology
  • Characteristics of the autocracy
  • History of autocracy
  • Advantage
  • Disadvantages
  • Examples of autocracy


The term autocracy is derived from the Greek term autokrateia . This concept consists of two different words, ” car ” whose meaning one mism or and ” Kratos ” meaning government . So the translation would be the government of one.

According to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, autocracy is a form of government in which the will of a single person is the supreme law and is applied to the rest of society.

Characteristics of the autocracy

Among its main characteristics we can mention the following:

  • It is the government of a single person who can be a military , professional , or union .
  • The leader must be a person of a strong and decisive character , and impose decisions with firmness.
  • There cannot be any kind of opposition and if there is it must be very weak.
  • Autocratic governments do not have any kind of tolerance and have methods of repression towards those who are against the policies and decisions taken.
  • Autocracies can have their origin within other types of governments, for example, within democratic forms .
  • The people who come to rule in the form of autocracy consider that they have a divine right and for this reason they think that they have all the absolute or unlimited power .
  • The governments that take this type of government are those known as dictatorships and monarchies.
  • They can arise as a party proposal, which is chosen through free and democratic elections but, when it manages to come to power, it becomes a centralist and authoritarian person.

History of autocracy

Its history is in the Byzantine Empire where the emperor became known as an autocratic , which meant that he was the only one who had the supreme and absolute power, in an unlimited and irresponsible way over all the situations that arose around him. , and that all this power was given by God .

The term expanded after the end of the empire, with Russia being the first country to adopt this form of government.


Some disadvantages of having an autocracy as a form of government are:

  • Faster decision-making: it is considered that having a ruler who decides on matters related to a nation, without distractions and influences from others, makes it easier for the leader to make sensible decisions in the interest of the country
  • There is no opposition:  since there is a ruler to create and enact laws, there will be no other political parties that can oppose what bills or decrees will be approved.
  • Leadership strong:  the leader must be strong, powerful and firm decisionmaking and control a nation. An autocratic leader generally hasmilitary control and is one who can force a group of people to follow his rules and instructions .


Among the disadvantages of an autocracy we mention the following:

  • Absolute power –  One downside is that power is only wielded by one person. If the leader is greedy and not a good person, he will use the power to accumulate wealth and abuse people.
  • There are no elections: the ruler will remain in power as long as he lives because there will be no elections, unlike a democratic government where citizens can choose their leaders.
  • Instill fear:  People usually fear for their lives. This is because, in this form of government, people are expected to obey the rules or face heavy fines and penalties for not following the ruler.

Examples of autocracy

We see a clear example of autocracy in Venezuela . Its president came to politics through the popular vote of the people, but once he was elected he began to rule autocratically , silencing the political opposition through persecution and imprisonment , without having any reason for it. In Venezuela thousands of people are imprisoned solely for their way of thinking and for being against the government regime.

Leave a Comment