Autocratic and Democratic Leadership: A Comparative Analysis

Essay by Chrissy_ChaosCollege, UndergraduateA, December 2008

download word file, 9 pages 3.0

There are many pros and cons of both autocratic and democratic government, not to mention, many obvious differences. Surprisingly, there are also some similarities between these two unique governing styles. Autocracy as defined by the Merriam Webster online dictionary is, "A government in which one person possesses unlimited power." Opposingly, democracy as defined by Danzinger, professor and former chair of the department of political science at the University of California is "A governance by leaders whose authority is based on a limited mandate from a universal electorate that selects among genuine alternatives and has some rights to political participation and opposition" (173). Most leadership characteristics can be categorized into these two groups further separating them into two distinct leadership styles. An autocratic leader tends to lead with an iron fist similar to the style of a totalitarian government, whereas a democratic leader tends to take a slightly softer approach governing with consent and compliance from the people.

Throughout this paper I will provide an analysis of basic characteristics of both autocratic and democratic government and leaders, as well as a brief overview of the positive and negative aspects of both governing systems. Each governing style is made to work within its own environment, governing its people and doing what is best for its country.

Autocracy requires a lack of separation of powers, so the absolute ruler cannot beopposed by any other powerful source. For example, a checks and balances' system would deter an autocratic government because the leader would not have absolute power. Autocracies can take the form of a totalitarian/dictoral government, where a country is under the rule of one person. Many times, autocratic rulers work to better their countries only because it in turn provides great advantages for the rulers themselves. "An autocratic government is one that maximizes...