Types of Autocratic Leadership

Written by jane johansen
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Throughout history, many nations have been under autocratic leadership. An autocracy is a system of government in which one person possesses unlimited power -- the opposite of a democracy. Different forms and styles of autocracy have existed since the beginning of human government, and continue to thrive in many countries.

Charismatic Autocracy

Many autocratic leaders gain power through existing governmental systems. An example of a charismatic autocrat is Adolf Hitler. With impassioned speeches and political machinations, Hitler managed to gain sole control of his nation, Germany. Through a combination of legal and illegal means, Hitler managed to become the autocrat of Germany. This type of autocrat is one who abuses or circumvents existing systems and uses personal charisma to become the sole holder of power.


A monarchy is a system of government in which a sole family has the right to rule a nation, thus a hereditary sovereignty. Traditionally, the king or queen is chosen by birthright. Monarchists often believe that kings are divinely ordained. Monarchist autocracy has fallen out of favour, with very few monarchists remaining.

Military Autocracy

A military autocracy is one in which the military of a nation has seized control. For example, according to the "CIA World Factbook," Burma -- now Myanmar -- is a military regime, basically an autocratic government run by the military.

Theocratic Autocracy

A theocratic autocracy is a form of government in which the rulers claim divine power and run all functions of government through the lens of whatever religion the theocrats belong to. An example of a theocratic government is modern day Iran, where a mullah or high religious leader is in charge of the country.

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