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The role of the common man in dictatorship

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This document emphasizes the role of the state and its role in shaping the individual. The problems faced by the individual in dictatorship seem naive in appearance and yet reveals a certain complexity. Consequently, it is advisable to define the term ?dictatorship'. It is a concept which is not stripped of any ambiguity. The term, dictatorship, is borrowed from the political vocabulary of the Roman Republic. In the event of a serious crisis, a ?dictator' takes over, and is vested with the role of a magistrate who has absolute capacities for a limited time (six months in theory). After this period, one returns to the normal organization of the public authorities.

The modern concept of dictatorship is very different except on a point: it is of exceptional character, and different from the normal mode of functioning. It corresponds to the Greek concept of tyranny, developed by the classic authors starting from the experiments of 16th and 17th centuries. The tyrant was like the Roman dictator, who had the character of absolute capacities apart from the usual political regime. However, the regime had conquered the realm by then and resulted in violence, though not by legal procedures.

Therefore, the concept of ?dictatorship' is like a political regime presenting three fundamental characters in the present world. This mode is established and maintained by the force of the regular army, of the private military, the political organizations and the police. The mode of dictatorship emerges in very serious social crises, where it is used either to hasten the course in progress (revolutionary dictatorships), or to prevent it or slow it down (preserving dictatorships).

In general, it is about a very personal mode; but the army or the sole party can be used as a basis for institutional dictatorships. Moreover, this dictatorial mode is authoritative and arbitrary, i.e. it removes the guarantees of the freedom of the citizens, even if it continues to proclaim it as right. Even if the right is present, it is stripped of any protective value, and is transformed into an instrument of realization of the objectives of the mode. It imposes models of behaviors, attitudes, and even of thoughts to which each one has to conform.

It also takes part in the thorough integration of the individual or the group. Thus, it is the triumph of the State, which is the legal representative of the community, i.e. the people, and the nation. Dictatorship is an authoritarian political regime, established and maintained by violence, in which a man or a group of men holds absolute power. In ancient Rome, the term dictatorship is characterized by the judiciary exercised in exceptional circumstances and for a limited period (usually six months) by a man chosen by the consuls at the request of the Senate.

The dictator was then sole holder of executive power and was not accountable for its decisions, except in finance. Military jurisdiction was limited to Italy while the civil court was required by ordinary magistrates and his subordinates. At the end of the period, the dictator handed his powers to the consuls.

Tags: Roman Republic, dictatorship, social crises, political regime, military jurisdiction, executive power

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