Difference Between Democracy and Dictatorship: Concepts and Comparison

By Aarna Tiwari|Updated : September 30th, 2022

Democracy and Dictatorship are two principal forms of government that are poles apart. While democracy is a government elected by citizens of any country or other qualified state members through electoral representatives, a dictatorship is a government where a single person or group of individuals wield authority without restriction.

This article will discuss and analyze the major Difference Between Democracy and Dictatorship. The topic is broadly covered under the Polity section of the UPSC Syllabus in the UPSC Exam.

Dictatorship vs Democracy 

The key Difference between Dictatorship and Democracy is the change in government form. Dictatorship follows a single party rule without any elections, whereas regular and frequent elections mark Democracy.

What is Dictatorship?

A dictatorship is a government system where one individual or group enjoys unhindered authority without restrictions. Dictators usually employ coercive means to acquire political authority.

They retain their government through the use of brutality, anguish, and the suspension of civil liberties. They also use additional means to sustain their rule, such as distributing wrong information. 

What is Democracy?

Democracy, in its simplest definition, is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. In a democratic government, the participation of individuals is of paramount significance, without which it loses its essence.

People in this form of government get an equal share of opportunities, whether from an ethnic or religious minority. Furthermore, in a democracy, people hold power to criticise the government if it does something unlawful. 

Difference Between Democracy and Dictatorship

Below is a tabular representation of Democracy vs Dictatorship:

Criteria

Democracy

Dictatorship

Definition

In a democracy, an individual who gets the highest votes and support grows to become the head

Only one ruler has illegally seized control in a dictatorship and leads the whole nation with an iron fist

Type of Political System

In a democracy, a bi-party or multi-party system represents various societies and beliefs

Political authority is given only through a rigorously monitored, unrestricted election process

In a dictatorial government system, the political parties are mostly restricted from carrying out activities freely.

Freedom

People in a democratic government are the ones who make it likely to select the government of their own will through the procedure of elections

The government limits personal freedoms without constitutional assurances. Individuals in this type of government are oppressed and suppressed every day

Rule of law

The government always works for the betterment of the people, and citizens in a democratic country can select their government.

The government might or might not work for the public interest and people in a monarchial country cannot choose their government.

Democracy and Dictatorship

Democracy and Dictatorship are very different concepts, and we have looked at the major Difference Between Democracy and Dictatorship, which should help better understand how they work.

The significant features of a Democracy include:

  • Freedom of Manifestation: In a democratic government, every individual is free to voice their views without apprehension or oppression.
  • People's Sovereignty: People in a democratic government are the ones who make it likely to select the government of their own will through elections. They choose their representatives, who are all responsible to the citizens.
  • Free Judiciary: In a democratic country, the judiciary is a self-dependent institution, not accountable even to the ruling administration. The privileges of a judiciary are bestowed in the constitution of a nation.

Mentioned hereunder are some characteristics of a Dictatorship:

  • Rule of a Single Person: Unlike a democratic government, there is no concept of an election, and a single individual or political party continues to govern without constitutionality restrictions.
  • Suppression of freedom: The government effectively restricts personal freedoms without constitutional assurances. Individuals in this type of government are oppressed and suppressed every day.
  • No Rule of Law: There is government-enforced misrule in this government system, where individuals can be imprisoned or detained without trial by the judiciary.

 >> Difference Between Democracy and Dictatorship [PDF]

 

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Difference Between Democracy and Dictatorship FAQs

  • The Difference Between Democracy and Dictatorship is that while democracy is a government elected by citizens of any country or other qualified members of the state through electoral representatives, a dictatorship is a government where a single person or group of individuals wield authority without restrictions on constitutional governance.

  • Dictatorship is a government system where one individual or group enjoys unhindered authority without restrictions. There is no rule of law in the concept of dictatorship.

  • The Difference Between Democracy and Dictatorship in terms of freedom of expression is that people can freely voice their opinions in a democracy. In contrast, there is no freedom of expression in a dictatorship.

  • Democracy and Dictatorship in terms of the ideal state, states that while a democratic government promotes an ideal state, there is no such case in a dictatorship. Download Dictatorship vs Democracy PDF Notes here.

  • A Dictator is someone who has absolute power, and rules over the entire country with no fear of checks and balances. Napoleon, Kim Jong-un, Adolf Hitler, and Joseph Stalin are fine examples of dictators.

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