Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
For most of human history, attaching “military” to “rule” would have been redundant, because almost all political regimes in large-scale societies of the premodern period fused military, religious, economic, and monarchical power. The separation of military and civilian powers and the development of professional, bureaucratic armed forces in European states in the 18th and 19th centuries gave birth to the contemporary understanding of military rule. The most useful definition of the term is a political regime in which the military as an organization holds a preponderance of power. Military rule in this definition is synonymous with military regime and refers to a subtype of authoritarian regime. Other definitions can be useful for exploring specific issues. For example, military rule is sometimes defined as a political regime in which the head of the executive is an active-duty member of the armed forces. Another definition restricts military rule to a regime in ...