Tyranny vs Dictatorship: Difference and Comparison

Several countries still follow or abide by different rule-based systems, such as Anarchy, Democracy, communalism, monarchy, dictatorship, aristocracy, tyranny, etc.

With this observation, it could be the monarchy, like in the UK, or a socialist state, like in North Korea, and the democracy in India, Switzerland, and so on. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Tyranny is an oppressive government, characterized by a single ruler with absolute power. In contrast, a dictatorship is a system where a single person or a small group holds complete authority.
  2. Tyrants gain power through force or manipulation, while dictators may gain power through legal or semi-legal means.
  3. Both forms of government deny citizens basic rights and freedoms, but tyranny is more brutal and exploitative.

Tyranny vs Dictatorship

Tyranny refers to a form of government where power is held by a single ruler who exercises absolute power unjustly or cruelly. A dictatorship is a form of government in which a single person or small group exercises absolute power without the consent of the citizens, which could be either oppressive or benevolent.

Tyranny vs Dictatorship

Tyranny is a Greek word that means the rule of a single person over the people. Moreover, all the power and decisions are in the hands of a single person, while no government comes into action.

Therein, these tyrants are mostly portrayed as cruel, ruthless people, as they will do anything repressive to restore their power from the opposition party. 

On the other hand, dictatorship is the rule of an individual, or a small group, with no place for political pluralism and independent means. Moreover, this ruler is not selected by people’s choice but by eliminating other voice-raising democracies.

These dictators are characterized by their strong personalities, such as speaking in public to bring complete political and social supremacy and stability. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonTyranny Dictatorship 
Meaning Tyranny is a form of absolute single sovereignty where laws are unrestrained by the government. The state or society is a monarchy leadership, who claim power without any constitutional right. A dictatorship is a form of a single ruler or a group of leaders who supremacy the people or the government of the state, where no one has the right to play independently. 
Introduction In the early 6th Century BC, the term ‘Tyranny’ started when Cleisthenes captured Sicyon and Polycrates ruled Samos in the Peloponnesus. Moreover, Greek and Sicilian are considered to be the ancient tyrants’ history. At the beginning of the 5th Century BC, the constitutional order of the  Roman Republic introduced the government Dictatorship. The Senate was appointed to rule when the dictatorship was started in Rome.
Ruling methods Tyranny follows two ilks of abrogating the government or people of the state by-Obtaining and Retaining. Tyranny is categorised into two types:Usurpers who became the ruler by defeating the enemies with their efforts are obtaining power to protect their people. On the other hand, a tyrannous ruler who coup by killing the enemies alive is retaining a method where he subrogates the people.  Dictatorship rules the country or region by decimating the basic civil liberations. Dictatorship subjugates opposing political parties by imposing terror on them to take over the power of the state. Dictatorship cruelly kills people who disobey the law or play against their set of public policy. 
Types Tyranny of the one (Autocracy), Tyranny of the minority(Oligarchy), the tyranny of the majority(Democracy) and Anarchism where no one rules. Military dictatorship, single-party dictatorship, Personalistic dictatorship, Monarchic dictatorship and Hybrid dictatorship. 
Example  North Korea is one fine example of the Tyranny Government.Adolf Hilter was a great example of a dictatorship, who captivated Nazi Germany. 

What is Tyranny?

Tyranny is also known as Despotism; it is an oppressive power exerted by a government. In the abstract, it is the tyrant that makes all the decisions of the government as well as the country.

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Tyranny is the Greek etymology implicating the rule of a person without any legal restraint. Later, in the 18th century, the term got its way to European countries, where absolute monarchies started using this strategy to build several reforms in the political and social systems.

Moreover, this governance is always depicted as a cruel and cold-hearted rule. 

Over and above, they are known for usurping the rule by violence and cruelty. On the other hand, a few tyrannies earned the kingdom through wisdom and, therein, have flourished the governance well enough. 

However, many philosophers affirmed that the ruler of this tyrannical government is called a Tyrant, and Tyrants are conceded for influencing their power viciously on the civilization for absolute control. 

As an illustration, here are some of the famous tyrannical countries ruled ruthlessly by nefarious tyrants; Enver Pasha, Oliver Cromwell, Fu Sheng, Ivan IV, Genghis Khan, Vlad III, and many more. 


What is Dictatorship? 

Speaking of which, dictatorship rule always reminds us of the notorious personality Adolf Hitler. This form of dictatorship stimulates the regime of a single leader or a committee of administrators to conserve the political and social reforms into one system.

This type of government made the limelight in the early stay of the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Furthermore, dictatorship does not consider constitutional barriers but a formation of jurisdiction to meet and resolve the country’s plight. 

The ruler of this regime is termed a Dictator, who quells the people’s thoughts and freedom to express themselves in a way to hold complete political and social stability around the nation.

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Despite the people’s rage for new governance, dictatorships and totalitarian societies operate political propaganda to curtail the opposition’s spell. Under dictatorship, there are four types, such as monarchic, hybrid, personalist, single-party, and military. 

For instance, the Nazi Germany of Adolf Hitler, The Prathet Thai of Plaek Phibhusongkhram, The Fascist Italy of Benito Mussolini, The Spain of Francisco Franco, The Romania of Ion Antonescu, etc. are notorious dictators who initiated impressive dictatorships. 


Main Differences Between Tyranny and Dictatorship

  1. The major distinction between Tyranny and Dictatorship is the ruler, wherein a single leader governs Tyranny, whereas the absolute sovereign is applied to the people and Government. On the other hand, Dictatorship is done either by a single ruler or a group of rulers. 
  2. Tyranny is derived from the Greek and Silician, which evolved early in the 6th century BC, whereas Dictatorship was established after the end of the monarchy by order of Roman republican. 
  3. Tyranny holds power in two ways- Obtaining where Usurpens earn the kingdom with their efforts in defeating the opponents, and Retaining is a method of coup leadership by brutally killing their enemies. A Dictatorship is a single leader or a group of rulers engaging in supremacy over the government either by suppressing civil rights to show their dominance in front of the people.
  4. Tyranny can be categorised into four forms of government- autocracy, democracy, anarchy, and oligarchy. While, dictatorships are grouped into Military dictatorship, Personalistic dictatorship, Monarchic dictatorship, single-party, and Hybrid dictatorship.
  5. North Korea is a great example of a Tranny government, and the Dictatorship example is stated by Adolf Hilter in history. 
Difference Between Tyranny and Dictatorship
  1. https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/abstractdb/AbstractDBDetails.aspx?id=42361
  2. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=rsWXgBcTmbwC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=dictatorship+government&ots=MOIkT6uCPO&sig=fyQ9XIeviGv5iYgQSoIzb6F9vFk

Last Updated : 12 July, 2023

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7 thoughts on “Tyranny vs Dictatorship: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The discussion of how tyrants come into power through force or manipulation provides insight into the nature of tyranny.

  2. Understanding the difference between different forms of government systems is crucial. The comparison between tyranny and dictatorship is particularly enlightening.

  3. The historical origins of tyranny and dictatorship in Greece and Rome provide valuable context to understand these forms of government.

  4. The comparison table provides a clear breakdown of the key differences between tyranny and dictatorship, making it easier to understand.


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