Difference between Autocracy and Dictatorship

Difference between Autocracy and Dictatorship


We live in a democratic world where democracy is the political system being exercised. It ensures that the world remains civilized. Other than democracy, there are some other political systems as well that could be used to run the system of a country. These political systems are autocracy and dictatorship. The rules and regulations of these political systems are different from democracy but relate to each other.

However, there is a slight difference between autocracy and dictatorship. This subtle difference separates the two governance rules from each other. This article focuses on briefly explaining the two terms along with the difference in them.

What is Autocracy?

Autocracy is a Greek word having a translation of auto and rule so it means self-rule. Autocracy means it is a place where a single person handles all the matters and rules over others all by himself. Therefore, autocracy is a political system in which a person holds the anchor of a ship and has control over all decisions made for a country.

In other words, the destiny of the citizens of that particular nation lies under the command of the autocrat. The decisions taken by an autocrat are supreme and he is not answerable to any supreme authority. Unlike democracy, there is no rule of law in autocracy.

The individuality rule in an autocracy can be observed by the fact that no one in the system can take part in the decision-making of the autocrat. Therefore, if anything wrong happens to the country, it is solely the responsibility of the autocrat.

What is Dictatorship?

In a dictatorship, the supreme authority is given to a person or a group of people. The power that a dictator holds is unlimited and uncontrolled. Along with this, a dictator is not accountable in front of anyone neither the decisions taken by the dictator are reviewed by any of the judicial departments. There is no need to learn the consent of the people before making a new policy in the dictatorship.

A dictator becomes arrogant once he tastes the power as he does not have to answer anyone about any of the decisions or policies made by him. A dictatorship could be run by a group of people with one person being the dictator among them. Other than this, it could be a military dictatorship with all the powers given to the head of the military.

Dictatorship works side by side with genocide, killing, and murdering as pride, power, and greed are involved in it. Whenever the word “dictatorship” is heard, Hitler is the name that comes to our mind. He has been the reason for the deaths of millions of people during his reign.

Difference between Autocracy and Dictatorship:

There is a very minute difference between autocracy and dictatorship. We would be explaining this difference below.


Characteristics for differentiation




It is a system that is run by a single person.

It is a group of people or a single person that runs the entire country.

Benefit for citizens

Before taking harsh decisions, and Autocrat thinks about people.

A Dictator does not think about the concerns and interests of the citizens.


It is solely ruled by a single individual.

It is ruled by a political party, military, or a single individual.


It is considered less cruel.

It is considered deadly if power is misused.



To conclude, we would like to say that such governance should be adopted that grants favor to its citizens. One should not take advantage of power when the lives of millions of people are associated with it. In this article, we have discussed few political systems that were once in practice but now mostly we see democracy. We have explained the difference between autocracy and dictatorship which helps the people to learn the basic difference between them.

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