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It currently refers to an undemocratic regime of government, that is, when citizens have no right to choose and to participate. In ancient Rome, it meant an extraordinary form of government that was activated only in emergency situations and regulated by laws or customs. At that time, a consul appointed a dictator, who was to restore order without modifying laws or declaring war. In more recent periods, there is no legal limit or control over dictatorship. Thus, while Roman dictators ruled exceptionally and for a certain time, current dictatorships have no time limit; and are generally characterized by violations of human rights, practices of repression and curtailment of freedoms. Dictatorships can now be characterized by authoritarianism or totalitarianism. The first case is the military regimes established in the 1960s and 1970s in various parts of America, especially in Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. These are governments that have broken democratic rules, disrupting free political play and the autonomy of powers. More than that, they undertook strong repression, which culminated in the deaths of numerous opponents. In the case of totalitarianism, Italian fascism and German Nazism stand out, which were characterized by penetrating the lives of all citizens, disciplining everything from everyday acts to political attitudes. In other words, they interfered with every sphere of society.
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