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File:Benito Mussolini Duce.jpg
Benito Mussolini, dictator of Italy from 1922 to 1943.
Joseph Stalin, dictator of the Soviet Union from 1929 to 1953.
Adolf Hitler, dictator of Germany from 1933 to 1945
Augusto Pinochet, dictator of Chile from 1973 to 1990
Saddam Hussein, dictator of Iraq from 1979 to 2003

A dictator is a ruler who wields absolute authority. A state ruled by a dictator is called a dictatorship. The word originated as the title of a magistrate in ancient Rome appointed by the Senate to rule the republic in times of emergency (see Roman dictator and justitium).<ref> n {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

Like the term "tyrant" (which was originally a respectable Ancient Greek title), and to a lesser degree "autocrat", "dictator" came to be used almost exclusively as a non-titular term for oppressive, even abusive rule, yet had rare modern titular use.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }}

In modern usage, the term "dictator" is generally used to describe a leader who holds and/or abuses an extraordinary amount of personal power, especially the power to make laws without effective restraint by a legislative assembly{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }}. Dictatorships are often characterised by some of the following traits: suspension of elections and of civil liberties; proclamation of a state of emergency; rule by decree; repression of political opponents without abiding by rule of law procedures; these include single-party state, and cult of personality.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }}

The term "dictator" is comparable to

  1. REDIRECT but not synonymous with
  2. REDIRECT the ancient concept of a tyrant; initially "tyrant", like "dictator", did not carry negative connotations. A wide variety of leaders coming to power in a number of different kinds of regimes, such as military juntas, single-party states and civilian governments under personal rule, have been described as dictators. They may hold left or right-wing views, or can even be apolitical.

Dictator sections
Intro  Roman origin  Garibaldi as a positive dictator   Modern era    Modern use in formal titles    Human rights abuses    Dictators in game theory    See also   Notes  References  Bibliography  External links  

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