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Usually when I hear about a dictator I think of someone that's power hungry and always ends up hurting the people in some way. Has there ever been a dictator that was somewhat nice or made really good decisions that benefited the people?
Kemal Ataturk was democratically elected, but in reality he was a military dictator. His leadership was directly responsible for the Anatolian (Turkey) fragment of the shattered Ottoman Empire not falling under Greek rule after WWI.
He may have not seemed benevolent to those of his country who lived in backward and medieval type sharia, but he instituted a western style secular democracy, and much more, just dragging Turkey kicking and screaming into the 20th century. He was without doubt one of the great political geniuses of that century.
Napoléon. He wasn't a "dictator", but quite a strong figure who deserves his place here.
While defending France against 6 coalitions of kings who didn't want to see France giving such bad ideas as liberty, social justice etc. to their people, he managed to give to his people and to the world :
Sciences, discoveries & inventions - Decipherment of hieroglyphic writing by French scientists during Napoléon's Egyptian expedition. - invention of the ambulance service by a doctor of Napoléon's army (Dominique-Jean Larrey). - invention of the submarine by American Robert Fulton commissioned by Napoléon. First launched in France in 1800. - Napoléon himself is given credit for discovering and proving Napoléon's theorem in mathematics.
Government & Law - the Napoléonic Code : the first successful codification of a civil legal system in Europe. It has formed the basis of the private law systems in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and their former colonies, thus becoming the most influencial legal system in the world. - the metric system : invented in 18th-century France, officially adopted in 1791, but only proclaimed as the only measure system in 1799. It is now the universal measurement system, which only the USA, Myanmar and Sierra Leone haven't adopted yet. - the tricolour French flag and the Marseillaise (national anthem) : symbol of the French Revolution, they were kept by Napoleon as the national flag, even during the Empire, which assured its survival to this day. -most of the institutions of the current French Republic, like Court of Auditors, Labour Courts, Légion d'Honneur (Legion of Honour, still nowadays the most important french official decoration, the country subdivision into régions (kind of "landers"), departments, cantons, highschools, university system and great colleges like the Ecole Polytechnique, and many other things...
Freedom & national cause - spread of the ideas of the Enlightenment throughout Europe and Latin America, including the concepts of Human Rights, equality of rights, constitution and citizenship. - part of Poland's national identity : Poland is the only country in the world to invoke Napoléon in its national anthem. Napoléon indeed contributed in the independence of Poland from Russia or Prussia. - the unification of Germany : Napoléon is credited with reorganizing what had been the Holy Roman Empire made up of more than 1,000 entities into a more streamlined network of 40 states providing the basis for the German Confederation and the future unification of Germany under the German Empire in 1871. - the Louisiana purchase by the USA : without Napoléon's decision to sell the French possessions making about 1/3 of the present-day USA, the US history would be very different. By this sale Napoléon more than doubled the size of USA, one of his rare ally, helped by France to gain its independence two decades earlier. - the European emancipation of the Jews : Napoléon played an important role by abolishing old laws in most of Europe restricting the Jews to ghettos, as well as the many laws that limited Jews' rights to property, worship, and careers. We could note that the Rothschild banking family of France was founded in 1812, under Napoléon's reign.
Arts - some of France's greatest neoclassical artists were sponsored by Napoléon, such as Jacques-Louis David or Ingres. - the Empire style (named after Napoleon' Empire) in architecture, furniture, painting, etc.
So dictatorship was a good concept when notion of nations was not so strong. With liberal ideas and quest for freedom has to fail. We rarely know of any examples of civil society overthrowing kings but we know of many such examples in last few decades.