Democracy vs Dictatorship


Imagine the next time you step into the voting booth your ballot only lists one candidate to choose from. Or perhaps your ballot lists four candidates, but they are all from the Liberal party. Dictatorships are one party political systems that are ruled by one leader or an elite group of people under the principle of authoritarianism. Some feel that dictatorships are the most effective form of government because decisions are made quickly and extreme nationalism benefits the military and economy. These individuals value order, nationalism, and authority. However, these systems often result in violence, repression of the public, and few provisions for changes to the system. Democracies are multiparty political systems that rest on the principle of rule by the people. Most people that live in democracies have civil liberties1, and political rights2. Individuals who feel that multiparty systems are the best government value equality, accountability, and freedom. Nations that have multiparty political systems will meet the needs of the public better through the means of political equality, a higher standard of living3, and civil liberties.

Dictatorships often occur when a nation is economically and politically unstable. An example of this is Napoleon?s coup d? etat in 1799 France. In a system of authoritarian rule decisions are made efficiently because very few people are involved in the decision making process. The leader or elite group at the head of the government decides on new policies and economic measures, then makes sure that the public abides by them by using tactics of force and indoctrination. Dictatorial systems have helped nations recover from economic turmoil many times in the past. The extreme nationalism that is born from propaganda and government sponsored youth organizations encourages people to work harder for the benefit of their country. Newly motivated work forces easily meet their production goals. If the leader of a dictatorship is capable the country can rise to hold a great amount of international power. Building up the military is an important step to gain power. A strong military will discourage other countries from attacking and also discourage the citizens of the country from rebelling. The force of nationalism, and new laws that can be easily passed regarding education (such that every male of a certain age must serve time in the military) allow military strength of dictatorships to multiply.

The Soviet Union experienced a dictatorial system from 1917 to 1985. Under the rule of Vladimir Lenin, and later Joseph Stalin, one political party attempted to control all aspects of political, economic, and social life. The people of the USSR endured rapid industrial development, victory in World War II, and improved literacy rates. They also experienced elements of force, indoctrination, controlled participation, limits on dissent, and a lack of the accountability of government. In 1917 Lenin initiated the Bolshevik seizure of power and became the first soviet government. Lenin established communist4 society in Russia before passing away shortly after (1924). Stalin, the general secretary for the communist party gradually gained power and by 1928 was in control of the government. Under Joseph Stalin?s leadership the USSR was transformed into a world power, and a totalitarian state. Lenin had introduced the New Economic Policy in 1921, which proposed the creation of a mixed economy. In this system the state controlled large industries but small scale enterprises and farming were run privately. By 1936 the NEP had helped The Soviet economy to recover to the levels it was at before WWI. Stalin introduced his famous 5 year plans, to develop industry further, and the NEP was abandoned for a communist economy. The first 5 year plan (1928-1932) expanded heavy industry such as steel making and mining. Private farming was eliminated, with much bloodshed, and collective farms were established. The second 5 year plan (1933-1937) began the development of natural resources in Siberia and the far east. It also further expanded heavy industry at the expense of consumer goods. Stalin?s third 5 year plan (1938-1941) directed funds to areas of defense. In WWII Nazi Germany invaded the USSR, creating an instant alliance between the USSR and two of the world?s greatest powers; Britain and the USA. The Soviet Union pushed the Germans out of its territory and Eastern Europe, thus accelerating the end of the war. Trade increased between USSR and the two other powers, and the Soviet has been recognized and commended for helping to end WWII. Another