Democracies, Dictatorships & Oligarchies

Civics Studies 11 MUNDY 2007


Democracies, Dictatorships & Oligarchies. Civics Studies 11 MUNDY 2007. Dictatorships – RULE BY ONE. Dictatorship occurs when one person or small group holds all power in a government Dictators decide upon their own rules for the country’s people and businesses - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Transcript of Democracies, Dictatorships & Oligarchies

Page 1: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

Civics Studies 11MUNDY 2007

Page 2: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

Dictatorship occurs when one person or small group holds all power in a government

Dictators decide upon their own rules for the country’s people and businesses

People are not given chance for elections to change government

Page 3: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

Dictators do not allow criticism or dissent, frequently using country’s military and courts to control anyone who objects

“Rule of law” not followed – dictator is above law

Dictators often justify their rule by persuading people that they are doing this for the benefit of the people’s wealth, safety

Page 4: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

Dictators have appeared throughout history in a variety of countries across the political spectrum (left to right):

Julius CaesarRome

Benito MussoliniItaly - Fascist

Idi AminUganda – Nationalist

Joseph StalinRussia – Communist

Page 5: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

Dictators take power either by coup d’etat, revolution or through general support of people

Many dictators enjoy popular support initially due to poor economic or political chaos – people want tough leader to bring order to country

Page 6: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

Termed by Greek philosopher Aristotle to mean rule of a country by a few priviledged individuals as a group

Aristotle felt that rule by a few of the best and brightest would be ideal form of government, what he called ARISTOCRACY

If a government, however, was ruled only by wealthy group, this was PLUTOCRACY

Page 7: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

The ruling members of an oligarchy can be made up of people of similar:

◦ Race (South Africa – white rule)

◦ Wealth (Upper Canada – “Family Compact”)

◦ Family (Kazakhstan – Nazarbayev)

◦ Religion (Saudi Arabia – Wahhabism, now


Page 8: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

Oligarchies are very similar in their control over their country’s people:

◦ Stifling freedom of press

◦ Authoritarian control through army/police

◦ Lack of independent judiciary (courts)

◦ Banning opposition parties in elections

Page 9: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

Purpose of oligarchies is to spread wealth and privileges amongst the rulers and those they wish to include

Example: South Africa allowed businesses, civil rights and legal benefits for white people only, barring black majority populace from these liberties

Page 10: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

“democracy” comes from Greek word “demos” meaning ‘people’

Democracy means people hold the power in a country; power over their legislators and their overall government.

This is typically called “majority rule” through elections in which the government is chosen by the majority of people.

Page 11: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

First instance of democracy was in Ancient India in 11th Century BCE, later organized as sabha (assembly, primarily chieftains) and samiti (a meeting of people in tribe), who kept control over a king by voting on matters

Second instance is in the 5th Century BCE Mesopotamia (now Iraq), where kings required consent from senate and “men of the town” (assembly) to go to war

Page 12: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

Greek government was a DIRECT DEMOCRACY

DIRECT DEMOCRACY involves all citizens in a country in its decision making (bills, laws, etc.) by having them meet and decide in person

In Greece, all adults (18 and up) who were born within the country and not slaves were expected to participate in public dialogue on issues

Page 13: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

Greek leader Pericles, first to endorse direct democracy in Greece:◦ “Our system of government does

not copy the systems of our neighbors: we are a model to them, not them to us. Our constitution is called a democracy, because power rests not in the hands of the few but of the many... We differ from other states in regarding the man who keeps aloof from public life not as “private” but as useless”

Page 14: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

In Greece, citizens met at the Pnyx, near the Acropolis in Athens, to debate issues important to the welfare of the country

The speaker’s Corner at PnyxAthens, Greece

Page 15: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

Citizens were able to express their concerns and directly vote on laws and policies that mattered to them

One pitfall of the direct democracy process was the emergence of DEMAGOGUES

Demagogues use lies to prey on people’s fears and prejudices in order to manipulate them into voting for their policies

Page 16: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

H.L. Mencken, political critic and humorist, wrote that demagogues, “will preach doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.”

Yes, demagoguesexist even today!

Page 17: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

Today’s democracies are known as REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACIES

Representative Democracies differ from Direct Democracies in that they allow its citizens to vote not directly on the proposed laws and policies, but for officials who will represent them in parliaments when deciding upon new laws.

Page 18: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

Any country using a democratic form of government can be seen as either:




Page 19: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

Countries with FULL DEMOCRACIES have the following characteristics:◦ A constitution that guarantees individual rights

and freedoms◦ Majority rule◦ Protection of minority rights◦ Rule of law◦ Choice of political parties◦ Free and fair elections◦ Independent judiciary◦ Civilian control over armed forces

Page 20: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

Tony Benn video on Democracy

Page 21: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies

With PARTIAL or EMERGING DEMOCRACIES, any range of elements of a FULL DEMOCRACY are weak or not present, such as:◦ A judiciary (courts) that is influenced by a leader

or the wealthy (corrupt)◦ Only one political party allowed to campaign in

elections◦ Press and media (TV, internet news) are censored

by government

Page 22: Democracies, Dictatorships  & Oligarchies


EMERGING DEMOCRACIES are attempting to reform their country’s government to incorporate more democratic elements to reach FULL DEMOCRACY

Whereas PARTIAL DEMOCRACIES have governments who wish for no changes towards FULL DEMOCRACIES