Dictators seem to be making headlines on a daily basis right now. Whether it’s Muammar al-Qaddafi in Libya, Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, or Omar al-Bashir in Sudan, the issues are hard to ignore. But how did these dictators establish power and take control of their populations, including the media, military, and courts? In our Dictatorships series from Twenty-First Century books, high school students are given the opportunity to explore the history of dictatorships and the personalities behind them. The series also explores the consequences of dictatorships on both the ruled countries’ population, as well as their influence on global politics.
For a quick lesson plan, have students read one of the twelve books in our Dictatorships series. Next, have them write about what their lives would be like if they lived in a country ruled by one of the dictators. Discussing the differences between dicatatorship and democracy will give students a new level of respect for freedom.