Modern Autocracy

  • Bernard Crick
Part of the Studies in Comparative Politics book series (STCP)


As I will show more fully in Part Two, the Model, I think there are basically three broad forms of contemporary government: autocracies, republics and totalitarian regimes. Only the third has any great claim to be distinctly modern and it is the only form now, with the collapse of the colonial empires, which imperial authority is ever likely to take. The basic features of autocratic government precede the industrial revolution. Industrialism creates huge problems as well as opportunities for government: many unique devices of government and even of representations are invented; literate populations pose unique problems of control and proper employment; and universal ideas of human rights both make opportunities for freedom greater and make tasks of repression more massive and grim. But despite a lot of rhetoric about new conditions demanding new institutions, examples of new institutions are either very small in scale (like communes or kibbutzim) or, as yet, trivial in impact (like the World Court and the United Nations Organisation). Old forms of government have been adapted and have proved remarkably resilient — with one possible exception.


Universal Idea Totalitarian Regime Huge Problem Autocratic Government Party Elite 
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Copyright information

© Government and Opposition 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard Crick
    • 1
  1. 1.Birkbeck CollegeUniversity of LondonUK

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