Since the 19th century, there has been a slow transformation in the nature of the norms that regulate political competition and the uses of state power. Monarchies whose legitimating principles appealed to divine sanction have steadily given way to republican regimes normatively grounded in appeals to 'the people.' Ideals of liberty, equality and solidarity have gained ground relative to ideals of hierarchy and dependence. Yet while in some ways the world is more democratic now than ever, new forms of non-democracy and new justifications for it have emerged. Drawing on a wide variety of examples and data from around the world, this important new text provides a global account of the history and theory of non-democratic government over the past two centuries. Grounded in the most recent social science research, it shows how non-democratic regimes have ruled through many different institutions, from parties to armies to dynastic families, and examines the economic and social performance of these different types of non-democracy, as well as the development of justifications for them. It discusses how over the last century personal dictatorships and totalitarian regimes have given way to hybrid regimes combining electoral competition with various restrictions on the ability of parties and other social groups to effectively compete for control of the state. The book assesses the processes through which non-democratic regimes change, and sometimes democratize, from cultural change and economic development to collective action and revolution. Offering a cutting-edge analysis of the complex issue of non-democratic politics, this is the perfect introduction for students with an interest in how authoritarianism exerts itself in the modern age.