We explain what a dictatorship is and what de facto regimes are like. In addition, its characteristics, types, differences with democracy and more.

What is a dictatorship?

A dictatorship is a government system that concentrates all power in a single person or group , who exercises absolute control by force or fraud, without respecting democratic constitutional principles and repressing individual freedoms .

It is also called de facto government , that is, power is exercised in practice, but it is not supported by any legal norm and does not present the division of powers, executive , legislative and judicial . The political system is a dictatorship that does not represent the people or recognize their rights .

The de facto government can come to power through a coup with the support of the armed forces or through fraud. In both cases, he manages to perpetuate himself in power through mass propaganda techniques, alteration of the Constitution , intimidation, terror and the repression of civil liberties.

The word dictatorship comes from the Latin in which dictare refers to "dictate" and the suffix ura refers to "activity". It means "person who gives orders" or who dictates, hence the name of the highest authority of a de facto government as dictator.

Characteristics of the dictatorship

The dictatorship is characterized by:

  • The identification of the State with a single political party .
  • The suppression of the division of powers.
  • The figure of a leader or dictator.
  • Control media communication and press censorship.
  • The propaganda of the official ideology and its repetitive diffusion.
  • The use of military force and violence.
  • The repression of human rights and individual freedoms.

Dictatorships have no control or limits in their actions. Throughout world history , dictators have unjustifiably murdered and tortured, deprived of liberty, raped and imprisoned millions of people.

Control of the media is an effective tool to instill in the population , through persuasion and lies, positive characteristics of the dictator leader who is presented as the protector and benefactor of the people.

Types of dictatorship

Types of dictatorship

The main types of dictatorships are:

  • Authoritarian Authoritarian leaders often come to power through democratic elections and, during their tenure, use force or fraud to perpetuate themselves in power, restrict civil liberties, and view any confrontation as an act of conspiracy.
  • Totalitarian. Totalitarian leaders seek to persuade the masses through elaborate ideology and exaltation of the leader, in order to change people's minds, as well as exercise terror.
  • Military. Military leaders come to power by force after overthrowing the existing government. They manage to perpetuate themselves in power through the use of force, violence and terror.
  • Constitutional. The leaders of constitutional dictatorships partially respect the Constitution, that is, they exercise their power in a practically authoritarian manner and, in addition, they directly or indirectly control the legislative, executive and judicial powers.

Difference between dictatorship and democracy

Difference between dictatorship and democracy

The dictatorship is characterized by concentrating power in a single person or small group , while in the democratic government system the separation of powers allows freedom to be maintained and the powers control each other.

While the dictatorship is distinguished by the continuity of authority in power, democracy renews, through universal suffrage, the authority and other representatives.

The dictatorship is opposed to the democratic government system, since it is based on respect for the Constitution, civil rights and guarantees, and institutions. It is based on freedom of expression and the plurality of political parties so that the representatives are elected by the people.

Examples of dictatorship

Some examples of dictatorships throughout world history are:

  • The totalitarian dictatorship of Adolf Hitler in Germany , from 1933 to 1945.
  • The dictatorship of Francisco Franco in Spain , from 1939 to 1975.
  • The fascist dictatorship of Benito Mussolini in Italy , from 1943 to 1945.
  • The totalitarian dictatorship in the People's Republic of China , from 1949 to the present.
  • The totalitarian dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile , from 1973 to 1990.
  • The military dictatorship in Argentina , from 1976 to 1983.

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational and educational purposes only and has been developed by referring reliable sources and recommendations from technology experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.


Luke is passionate about fostering student involvement and connection. He studied psychology for his major and likes learning about the past. Luke aims to specialize in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. .

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