Dictatorship Law and Legal Definition

A dictatorship is a government by a single person or group who holds unrestrained authority in using the powers and resources of the state, is not bound by any fixed legal or constitutional rules and whose governance does not answer to the general population or their elected representatives. It is a government that does not allow a nation to determine its own political direction by popular election.

Dictatorships are commonly referred to in a negative way because of the coercion, human rights abuses, and corruption associated with dictatorial methods of governing. A dictatorship is the polar opposite of a democracy. Latin American nations have undergone many dictatorships, usually by military leaders at the head of a junta. The modern trend in democratization has resulted in very few dictatorships surviving today.