Difference Between Autocracy and Monarchy

Autocracy vs Monarchy

Both Autocracy and Monarchy are similar ruling systems with some difference between them. Monarchy refers to a ruling system where the power and the sole authority of the nation lay in one or two individuals’ hands. These individuals who entertain the fullest power were called the monarchs. Autocracy, on the other hand, refers to another form of monarchy where the sole power rests in one individual’s hands and h/she has few or no legal restrictions. Let us look at the terms, autocracy and monarchy, and the difference between them in detail.

What is Monarchy?

Monarchy, as mentioned above, is the ruling system where the ruling of a nation relies on one or two individuals’ hands. The right of decision-making, ruling, and all other things regarding the particular nation may be done by the monarch. There is no form of democracy and the participation of general public in the decision-making process is very little or none. Monarchies may exist until the death of the emperor or a case of abdication. A monarch may come into power as a result of heredity. It is one type of monarchies. Hereditary monarchies are subjected to the requirements like religion, abilities, and gender, etc. The role of the monarch changes from one society to another. In one nation, h/she may be a tyrant whereas, in another, people may worship him/her taking as a divine king. However, monarchies rarely exist today and those who still practice these are an elective type of monarchies. There, the monarch is selected by a voting system. Monarchy has enjoyed a lot of power in the past, and there had been good as well as bad monarchs throughout the world.

Difference Between Autocracy and Monarchy

Louis XV in 1748

What is Autocracy?

Autocracy is the type of ruling system where the whole power and authority of a nation rests in one person’s hand. This is also called as an absolute monarchy. In an autocracy, the ruler does not have legal restrictions or political barriers. H/she can have the power to make any decision on his/her own. Autocracy may exist as a dictatorship, and the emperor would not consider the ideas of the general public. Since the absolute monarchs have full authority over the state and government, they have the freedom to make laws, impose rules, and punish the people who go against the rules, etc. However, absolute monarchs had not always been authoritarians. There had been some autocrats who have allowed freedom in many ways during the Enlightenment era. Moreover, autocratic leaders may come into the power as a result of inheritance. The kingship may pass from one generation to another too. However, there are no more autocracies in the current world.

 Autocracy vs Monarchy

What is the difference between Autocracy and Monarchy?

• Definition of Autocracy and Monarchy:

• Monarchy is the ruling system where the authority lies in the hands of one or two individuals or a royal family.

• In an autocracy, the sole power and authority is in one person’s hands and there are less or no legal or political restrictions.

• Inheritance:

• Monarchs may come into power as a result of generation and also there can be elective monarchs who have been selected through a voting system.

• Autocrats may come into power as a result of hereditary relations, and there are no voting systems or concerns over the interests of the general public.

• Forms of Existence:

• Monarchy has many forms, such as hereditary monarchy, elective monarchy, and constitutional monarchy.

• Autocracy is an absolute monarchy that mostly operates as a dictatorship.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Louis XV in 1748 via Wikicommons (Public Domain)
  2. Crown of Bolesław I by Gryffindor (CC BY-SA 3.0)