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What is the difference between Democracy and Authoritarianism?

emocracy and authoritarianism are to some extent opposing forms of government. On the one hand, democracy is the form of government in which, through the vote of the citizens, its representatives are elected, who will defend their ideals and interests. Theoretically, in a “pure” democracy, the majority can not be limited in any way and should always be able to impose itself over the minority.

On the other hand, authoritarianism is a political regime in which power is exercised in an authoritarian way. This means that whoever represents the highest figure of authority in a state practices abuse of it. Forms of government such as dictatorship or fascism usually practice authoritarianism as a way of maintaining power over its citizens. It should be mentioned that a democracy could become an authoritarian government in certain cases; in theory oppose, in practice is something that could happen.

Comparison table

Democracy
Authoritarianism
DefinitionMost rule. In a democracy an individual or group of individuals that integrate a minority have no power against the unlimited power of the majority. It is a case of the majority over the minority. It is a form of government in which the government imposes its authority, almost always in a repressive and aggressive way on its citizens.Authoritarianism is oppressive, totalitarian, despot, among other similar characteristics.
Restrictions on governmentNo. The majority is imposed at all times.Yes. The government or the figure that has the power sends over all.
PhilosophyThe voice of all citizens has the same value and weight when making decisions.The only voice that really matters is that of the dictator, president or party in power.
Most Popular ExamplesAncient Rome and Greece are the two greatest examples of this ideology.Nazi Germany, Italy under the government of Mussolini or Spain governed by Franco.
About sovereigntyThe sovereignty of a nation governed by this system depends entirely on the people.The state is the absolute sovereign. It is he who governs all institutions (if any) and makes all decisions.
Political systemDemocratic (it should be mentioned that it is not related to the US Democratic Party)Fascism, totalitarianism, dictatorship; many types of government can be authoritarian.
About religionFreedom of creed is allowed although most could limit minority beliefs without problems.There are governments called theocratic that govern in an authoritarian way and use religion as a tool of control of the masses.
VariationsDirect democracy, parliamentary democracy, representative democracy and presidential democracy are some variations of democracy.Totalitarianism, fascism, absolutism, autocracy, despotism, dictatorship, theocracy, militarism, nationalism, among others are often related to each other, often coexist with each other at the same time.
Modern examplesMore than half of the countries of the modern world, including the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, among others.One of the most popular examples of modern authoritarianism is the government of North Korea, under the power of its leader Kim Jong-un.

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