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1. government by an individual with unrestricted authority
2. the unrestricted authority of such an individual
3. a country, society, etc., ruled by an autocrat


rule by one person, especially arbitrary or absolute rule. Compare ABSOLUTISM.



a form of government involving the unlimited and unchecked sovereignty of one individual in a state. The despotic monarchies of the ancient East, the tyrannical governments in some ancient Greek states, the Roman and Byzantine empires, and absolute monarchies of recent times were autocracies. The notion of autocracy was also used to designate unlimited authority in any given sphere of state activity. In contemporary literature, the notion of autocracy also designates political regimes characterized by the supreme power of a “leader” (Führer, duce, caudillo) who is not controlled by representative organs.


References in periodicals archive ?
Political absolutism and disregard for the rule of law--natural companions of militarism--were clearly exercised in governments of this period.
Here Dall'Aglio charts the various efforts by Savonarola's disciples to adapt their leader's teachings and prophecies to the new ideologies of the Counter-Reformation and political absolutism.
A technocratic system which operates through scientific planning, economic control and psychological conditioning is no longer a political absolutism of the traditional kind: it is a unitary mass organism in which the individual personality is absorbed and obliterated or transformed.
9] Initially isolated by politics from her homeland and by gender from full participation in the international inte llectual community, Margaret Cavendish likewise uses the language of political absolutism to define a new kind of poetic practice.
Such a reading would make the projected marriage compatible with the argument for allegiance to the king; but, as we have seen, in Cavendish's hands romance is also at odds with the demands of political absolutism since it dramatizes the instability of the passions, the necessarily figurative dimension of any so-called "binding" contract.