Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes

A democratic regime, bases its authority on the will of the people. Most democracies are indirect, mainly because large populations make it almost impossible for individuals to have a great deal of direct influence on how they are governed. Democratic governments typically have three major branches: executives, legislatures, and judicial courts. Some democracies are parliamentary systems, while others are presidential systems. By contrast, in authoritarian regimes decisions are made political elites, without much input from citizens. These regimes may be ruled by a single dictator, a hereditary monarch, a small group of aristocrats or a single political party. The economy is generally tightly controlled by the political elite. Some authoritarian regimes are based communism, others practice corporatism.

Question to consider:

How can we differentiate between democratic and authoritative regimes?

Review Questions:

1) In authoritarian regimes, decisions are made by _________ without much input from the citizens.

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political elite


2) ___________________ is an arrangement in which government officials interact with people/groups outside the government before they set policy.

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3) _____________ is a particularly oppressive regime that generally has a strong ideological goal.

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4) This type of regime usually begins with a coup d’état, lacks a specific ideology and may precede democracy. _________________

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Military Regime


5) The means by which a regime uses to get support from its citizens is called ____________________.

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6) A form of co-optation in which the state provides specific benefits or favors to a specific person or small group in return for public support.   _______________________

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7) __________________ is a basic principle of democracy; a situation in which power is split among many groups that complete for a chance to influence the government’s decision-making.

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