To What Extent Are Democracy and Dictatorship Different?

Topics: Democracy, Dictatorship, Government Pages: 4 (1179 words) Published: November 20, 2012
To what extent are democracy and dictatorship different?

In order to answer this question we must first examine the generic basis of both democracy and dictatorship separately. The term democracy originates from the Greeks, and is defined as “rule of the people” coming from the words “demos” (people) and “kratos” (power). It was coined around 400 BCE, to denote the political systems then existing in Greek city-states, notably Athens. Commonly, two forms of democracy are recognised, these being direct democracy and representative democracy. Direct democracy was used in Athenian democracy, and is a system in which people vote on policy initiatives directly. Many US states and Switzerland still use this system often. Representative democracy refers to the system which is in place in Britain today. It is a variation of democracy founded on the principle of elected people representing a group of people.

The term dictatorship is defined as an autocratic form of government in which the government is rules by an individual. For some scholars, a dictatorship is a form of government that has power to govern without consent of those being governed. As is the case with democracy, there are different kinds of dictatorship. An authoritarian dictatorship is one kind whereby the power the govern is held by a small group of elite politicians. A military dictatorship is a form of government wherein the political power resides with the military.

We can start to answer this question by looking at the way in which governments are formed in democracy and in dictatorship. We, in Britain live in a democracy whereby every five years we hold in general election in which everyone over 18 years of age can vote for who they would like to be their local MP. Whichever party wins more than 50% of the MPs in the House of Commons can then go on to form a government. We, therefore as citizens of this country, have handed over our sovereignty and elected the people who will go on to...
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