Difference between Democracy and Dictatorship Essay

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Difference between Democracy and Dictatorship

Democracy means a government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is a form of government where the government is controlled either by the whole population, or by a set of people elected to run the government on behalf of the people.

Dictatorship is a form of government where one person or political entity has absolute authority and control over the government. Attempts are made to maintain the powerful position of the the dictator or his political entity.

Democracy and dictatorship are the two contradictory political ideologies. They form different forms of Government and are quite different from each-other. Let us look at the following distinction:

1. Sovereignty: The people exercise sovereign power in democracy. The adult population exercise their voting rights and elect their representatives to run the government. So democracy is called public opinion-oriented government. A true democratic government assumes the participation of common people in the governance.

Dictatorship form of government is controlled by the dictator. There is no place of public opinion in dictatorship. The people cannot take part in administration either directly or indirectly. Here, irresistible dominance of only one ruler is present everywhere.

2. Stability: Democracy suffers from the negative aspects of party politics. Owing to conflict of contradictory party interests, political defections, etc. the government frequently falls in democracy. One of the main defects of democracy is the lack of stability.

Dictatorship, on the other, is the rule of one party. There is absence of frequent change of governments in a dictatorship setup. So, defections, political groupism and conflict of contradictory interests are absent here.

3. People’s consent versus brutal force: Democracy is a form of government based on the consent of the people. The people can change the government if they desire so.

But in dictatorship the government is based on brute force, not on the will of the citizens. The dictator forces the people to abide by his tyrannical rule with the help of the police and the military and other representative measures.

4. Self-government: Democracy recognizes the right of self-governance. The government is formed by the elected representatives of the people of the country. In case, the people of the country are not satisfied with the working of the representatives, they can select another candidate in the next election.

The right of self-governance of people is absolutely refused in dictatorship.

5. Whether individual or state: In democracy, the state is considered necessary for the welfare of people.

But in dictatorship, emphasis is laid on the all-pervading authority of the state and not on the individual.

6. Party system: Democracy encourages different political parties with divergent ideologies to function in the political system. In fact, multiple parties are indispensable in democracy. Every party can work freely in such a government. Opposition party may form public opinion in its favour by criticizing the loopholes of the government.

But in dictatorship all other parties are abolished except the party of the dictator. The views other than the views of the dictated by the dictator is not tolerated.

7. Nature of administration: In democracy majority of people are ignorant, uneducated and superstitious. Very often, they are unable to elect a suitable representative. As a result, such administration becomes the rule of the disabled and uneducated people. Further, a democratic set-up has to undergo a lot of constitutional formalities which delays the decision making process.

But some are of the opinion that in dictatorship the country is governed under the leadership of a well-qualified and expert ruler and so it is considered very speedy and effective in solving the myriad problems of the country.

8. Emergency provision: In democracy, decisions are taken through discussions and deliberations. So, this type of government is not useful at the times of emergency like war, ethnic and communal riots, natural calamities and high profile terrorist attacks.

But the decision of the dictator is final in dictatorship and so it is very useful in times of grave danger.

9.  Liberty: Democracy stands for liberty and individual rights. Recognition of political and social freedom of the people is the characteristic feature of democracy.

But in a dictatorship all sorts of freedom of men are denied. In such form of government, total militarization is thrust upon the body and the mind of the people. Individual liberty has little place in a dictatorship setup.

10. Effect of party rule: Party conflict, misuse of the voting system, wastage of money in election etc. are found to be the demerits of democracies.

But all these vices of the party system are not found in dictatorship as there is only one party in dictatorship.

11. Equality and freedom: Democracy is based on the principles of equality, equal rights, personal freedom, etc. People of divergent views are free to express their opinion. Every citizen is allowed to freely develop their inner potentialities without restrictions. The personal endeavor of the individual and the collective endeavor of the society is recognized.

But all these principles have no value in dictatorship. Dictatorship stands for conformity with the state. In such administration the majority of the people compelled to accept the rule against their interest without any protest.

12. Possibility of revolution: The people can change the government in a peaceful manner through the ballot in democracy. So, this form of government is most likely to be free from the possibility of revolution.

But the government can never be changed peacefully in dictatorship. The suppressed discontent of the people for a long time takes the form of revolution and destroys such government.


On the basis of the aforesaid discussion, it may be said that democracy is superior to dictatorship. But, in practice, liberal democracy being guided by the interest of the rich and merchant classes ignores the interests of the people. The majority of the people have practically no role to play here. Judged from this point of view, it may be said that popular sovereignty can really be established in socialist democracy. In such democracy, there is the control of the people over the means of production. As a result, the political system is also run by the people for the people.

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