Autocracy is a form of government where unlimited power is held by a single individual. An emperor may rise to power due to hereditary lines, but is referred to as an autocrat rather than a monarch when his power overshadows his bloodline. It is a type of government historically found in the Eastern world; in the West a primary example is that of Russia, where the sovereign assumed, as a title, Autocrat of all the Russias. The term can also refer to a country that is ruled in this manner. In comparison, an oligarchy is a form of government where power is held by multiple people (yet still a small segment of society).
An example of an autocracy is Imperial Russia.
Last updated: 10-19-2005 02:28:30