Tyranny is essentially an oppressive style of government. A tyrant is brutal and authoritarian in his or her authority. Thomas Paine was a well-known American author whose works impacted the American Revolution. Tyranny, according to Paine, is akin to hell. He says that it is "the worst form of government, but also the most common."
Hell is a very appropriate word to describe life under tyranny. Tod Burke, an Irish writer, states that under tyranny, "men are trained from their youth up in the habits and belief of slavery. They are taught to be submissive and obey their masters, no matter how cruel they may be. Such people do not seek freedom unless it is offered to them with a stick."
Burke is saying that men under tyranny are taught to be slaves. They are taught to be submissive and to obey their masters, no matter how cruel they may be. This shows that men will not fight against tyranny; instead, they will simply submit to its conditions.
Paine compares tyranny to hell because both systems of government involve human suffering. Men under tyranny are tortured both physically and mentally, while those in hell suffer emotionally.
Both Paine and Burke claim that there is no good reason for living under a system of tyranny.
Tyranny was an authoritarian type of governance in the Greco-Roman civilization in which one individual exercised power without legal limitation. Tyrant was a term used in antiquity to describe someone who wielded total political control. The word comes from the Greek tyrants, meaning rulers.
In English, "tyrant" and "tyranny" have similar meanings but they are not exactly the same. A tyrant is a ruler who uses his or her power unjustly or brutally to suppress opposition and create a personal kingdom. Tyranny is the practice of exercising such power legally.
In ancient Greece, only a few people were able to become kings because most people were content with being members of tribes or cities. These important people often called themselves "kings" and fought each other for power but it is unclear what authority they actually had.
At some point in history, many countries adopted the system of monarchy where one person is crowned king or queen. Under this system, there can be many tyrannies held by one person since they do not need the approval of others to rule.
A tyranny can also exist within a country where one group imposes its will on another through fear. This can happen during times of civil unrest when one side may wish to destroy the opposing group completely.
Tyrannia, which means "rule of a tyrant," is one of the root words of tyranny, and a tyrant is a "cruel master." Today, it might refer to a dictator's brutal government, or it can refer to being governed by something figuratively severe, such as time or work. The term comes from the Greek tyrants, meaning rulers or masters.
Monarchy is based on the belief that only one person should be able to rule. Thus, its root word is solecism - a violation of justice or good manners. In English, it comes from the Greek monarches, meaning "one who rules alone."
Democracy has been called a "government of the people" or a "government of citizens," and it originates in Greece from demos, which means "people," and kratei, which means "to govern." Therefore, its root word is populistic - governing or ruled by the people.
Republic comes from the Latin word res publica, which means "public thing." It is a government in which the people are represented by leaders whom they have elected. Thus, its root word is representational - leading or representing someone else.