Difference between Dictatorship and Autocracy

Key difference: A Dictatorship is a form of government in which a dictator has complete power. Whereas, Autocracy is a system of government in which supreme power lies in the hands of one person, whose decisions are not subjected to any legal restraints.

Democracy is considered as the best form of governance, with many different ideologies present around the world. There was a time, where the ideologies were forced upon the countries like socialism, fascism, dictatorship, monarchy and autocracy. The world was divided into several different segments because of this form of governance. Referring to the political systems, wherein the power lies in the hands of an individual, both dictatorship and autocracy have subtle differences which make them different from each other.

Dictatorship is a system where a single person rules the entire nation. Dictatorship is very similar to autocracy, as the reins of power remain in the hands of an individual. The power of this individual is unlimited and uncontrolled. He is not answerable to anyone and none of his actions are subject to legal review. A dictator often turns tyrannical as he knows that he need not give a justification for any of his policies. A dictator is supreme in his country, and he does not need the consent of the people to do anything he wishes.

Dictatorship could be a result of a single party ruling the country, with its head being the dictator or it could be a military dictatorship, with the head of military assuming all powers to him. Dictatorships are often characterized by deaths or killings because of greed, hatred, pride, and power. Hitler is believed to have caused millions of deaths of Jews, whereas Idi Amin is believed to be responsible for killings of hundreds of thousands of Indians.

Autocracy is a political system of government, wherein a single person controls the affairs, the lives and decisions of all the people in his country. All decisions are taken by him, which are considered supreme and are not subjected to any law of the land. Autocracy is a Greek word that translates into self-rule. However, this literal translation means a place where one man rules everyone, all by himself. There is no rule of law as in the case of democracy, and there is no one who this supreme ruler consults while making decisions.

Comparison between Dictatorship and Autocracy:





It is one person ruling the entire nation.

A system in which one person rules the entire nation.

Attitude towards people

A dictator does worry about the consequences of his decisions on the people.

Autocrat refrains from taking extreme decision which could hurt his people.


It could be a rule of a particular party or class, or a single party.

It is always the rule of an individual person, in the system of government.


It has a negative implication.

It is considered as less evil.

Image Courtesy: theintersectionist.com, sevodnya.com

Most Searched in Business and Finance Most Searched in Computers and Internets
Most Searched in Health Most Searched in Home and Garden
Headache vs Migraine
Stickball vs Cricket
Rubber Wood vs Hardwood
Brahmin vs Pundit


Not adequate or lucid enough for clearly explaining the terms. THANKS for the help though.

Add new comment

Plain text

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.