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dictatorial power

Dictatorship, form of government in which one person holds absolute power and is not subject to the consent of the governed. The term derives from the Roman dictator who was a magistrate appointed to govern for a 6-month period, following a state emergency. Both Lucius Sulla and Julius Caesar, however, abolished the constitutional limits to their dictatorial power. In the 20th century, Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin assumed dictatorial powers and committed hideous atrocities; there have also been dictatorships in Portugal, Spain, and Greece, and in many South American and African countries. Current dictators include Col. Muammar Qadhaffi of Lybia and Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

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