Dictatorship: Its History and Theory

Dictatorship: Its History and Theory

Dictatorship: Its History and Theory

Dictatorship: Its History and Theory

Excerpt

The aim of this book is to make a general survey of dictatorship, taking into consideration both its theoretical sources and its actual historical development, analysing its principles as they can be observed in operation, and indicating its prospects so far as they can be deduced from experience. For comparison an appendix has been added on medieval and classical tyranny, though for practical reasons I have preferred the term dictatorship, which is now generally used, rather than the strictly more correct tyranny.

The plan of the book can, I hope, easily be grasped from the section headings, so of this it is not necessary to say more here than that the early chapters endeavour to trace the development of the idea of sovereignty up to the French Revolution and Napoleon, here taken as the first modern dictator. After a study of the rise of the contemporary dictatorial movement there follows an analysis of the elements which have contributed to the making of the modern totalitarian state, with which the dictatorial form of government is so intimately connected. Finally, a fairly long chapter is given to the attempt to sum up such conclusions as seem legitimately to flow from the previous history and analysis of totalitarianism and dictatorship.

Obviously it is not possible for one writer to speak with authority on so many different historical periods as are perforce included in the scope of this book. It would be equally impossible, even if it were a profitable task, for a single student to exhaust the immense bibliography . . .

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