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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 ?
Conversely, not all autocracies have been enemies of the United States; yet McFaul judges that the long-term liabilities outweigh the short-term security gains made by collaborating with autocracies (e.
The lust for land was certainly a motive, but it seems that Poland was destroyed most of all because its powerful rich had helped create a weak centre, which, though weak, was experimenting with a political form of government that was anathema to the surrounding autocracies.
Indeed, one of the purposes of the concert is to give autocracies incentives to embrace democratic practices.
Today, a host of autocracies may soon face deep popular unrest over their crippled economies.
Their analogues in current regimes provide an essential backdrop for gauging the impact of soft-liner behavior or the plebiscitarian ploys of electoral autocracies.
And autocracies pursue foreign policies aimed at making the world safe, if not for all autocracies, at least for their own continued rule.
The Bush administration imagined that the United States and Saudi Arabia, along with fellow Sunni autocracies such as Egypt and Jordan, shared common interests in containing Iran, stabilizing Iraq, defending the Lebanese government and settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
More than half of that is expected to come from OPEC suppliers, with much of the rest from Russia and the Central Asian autocracies.
It was at the start of the 19905s, after all, that full democracies first began to outnumber autocracies, and the gap has grown steadily ever since.
Kuwait's parliament votes the country's ailing ruler out of office, marking the first time a ruler from the Gulf's dynastic autocracies has been deposed by constitutional means.
My key hypothesis is that enforcement is less likely in autocracies, where government officials and their supporters both control the regulatory and judicial systems and are likely to engage in inside trading.
In a speech to a conference in London on Militant Islam, he said repressive regimes were the "greenhouse of extremism", adding: "There is plenty of evidence that militancy, Islamic or otherwise, grows more vigorously in autocracies.