Charisma and Charismatic Leaders:
Wisdom and Insights from the Charismatic Heroes and Charismatic Villains of History
“Charisma…a certain quality of an individual personality by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These are such as are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as of divine origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader.”
(See On Charisma and Institution Building)
List of Different Charismatic Leaders in History:
List of History's Transformational Charismatic Leaders:
The following list of historical figures are widely considered to be transformational-charismatic leaders. Representing the enlightened side of charisma, this group of charismatic leaders is listed in the research under a variety of headings, including:
- Constructive, or
- King David (1040—970 B.C.)
- Alexander the Great (356—323 B.C.)
- Cleopatra (69—30 B.C.)
- Attila the Hun (C. 406—453 A.D.): Leader of a tribal empire in Central Europe during the 5th century, Attila was a grave threat to both the Eastern and Western Roman empires.
- Charlemagne (748—814 A.D.)
- Ragnar Lothbrok (C. 8th Century A.D.)
- Joan of Arc (1412—1431): French heroine who helped Charles VII secure the throne toward the end of the Hundred Years’ War. Known as “The Maid of Orléans,” she was later canonized as a saint.
- George Washington (1732—1799)
- Napoleon Bonaparte (1769—1821)
- Abraham Lincoln (1809—1865)
- William Gladstone (1809—1898): British Prime Minister (four different times!)
- Theodore Roosevelt (1858—1919)
- Winston Churchill (1874—1965)
- Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882—1945)
- Mahatma Gandhi (1869—1948)
- Ronald Reagan (1911—2004)
- John F. Kennedy (1917—1963)
- Nelson Mandela (1918—2013)
- Eva Perón (1919—1952)
- Lee Iacocca (1924—12019): American automobile executive who helped develop the Ford Mustang and later became the CEO of Chrysler.
- Robert F. Kennedy (1925—1968)
- Martin Luther King Jr. (1929—1968)
- Bill Clinton (1946— )
- Barack Obama (1961— )
List of History's Authoritarian Charismatic Leaders:
The following list of historical figures are widely considered to be authoritarian-charismatic leaders. Representing the “dark side of charisma,” this group of charismatic leaders is listed in the research under a variety of opposing headings, including:
- Destructive, or
- Julius Caesar (100—44 B.C.)
- Joseph Stalin (1878—1953)
- Benito Mussolini (1883—1945): the charismatic Italian political leader who founded the National Fascist Party. Mussolini came to power through a coup d’état in 1922. Mussolini inspired a number of other far-right radical dictators including Adolf Hitler and the Spanish charismatic dictator Francisco Franco.
- Adolf Hitler (1889—1945)
- Ho Chi Minh (1890—1969): Vietnamese revolutionary who served as the Prime Minister and President of North Vietnam from 1945 until his death of heart failure in 1969. While he masked his militant revolutionary activities behind the facade of a benevolent uncle or a kindly teacher, “he steadfastly pursued his goals regardless of cost in suffering or loss of life.” He supported a massive purge of non-communists that led to the execution of some 100,000 people (some experts put the figure at 500,000). His slogan was “It is better to kill ten innocent people than to let one enemy escape.”5
- Father Charles Coughlin (1891—1979): Canadian-American Roman Catholic priest who became a wildly popular radio personality during the Great Depression. Coughlin started out criticizing the extremes of capitalism, but overtime he increasingly became anti-democratic, eventually calling for the end of political parties and challenging the value of democratic elections.
- Huey P. Long (1893—1935): American politician who served as the 40th governor of Louisiana, and a U.S. Senator. Long was a fierce advocate for the poor and oppressed people of Louisiana who did a great deal to alleviate their suffering. Nevertheless, he was also a demagogue who believed it was necessary to “fight fire with fire,” and, thus, was willing, at times, to employ morally dubious methods to achieve his admirable aims.
- Chairman Mao Zedong (1893—1976)
- Pol Pot (1925—1998)
- Fidel Castro (1926—2016)
- Donald Trump (1946— ):
- Grigori Rasputin (1869—1916): Rasputin was more than a cult leader. The Russian mystic and self-proclaimed holy man had a charismatic following that some described as a sex cult, but he also became an advisor to the last emperor of Russia, Czar Nocholas II and his wife Alexandra, the granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.
- Jim Jones(1931—1978): Cult leader of the Peoples Temple. Known as the Jonestown Massacre, Jim Jones led some 900 followers to commit suicide by drinking cyanide-laced punch.
- Charles Manson: Cult leader behind the notorious Manson family murders.
- David Koresh: Branch Davidians cult leader.
- Marshall Applewhite: Heaven’s Gate cult leader.
- Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh: Indian cult leader known for starting the Rancho Rajneesh commune in Oregon in the 1980s
- Steve Jobs
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Franz Mesmer (1734—1815): German doctor known for his theory of “animal magnetism,” or “mesmerism,” which attracted a wide following in Europe throughout his lifetime. Though his wacky theory was disproven (by Ben Franklin, among others), his ability to influence his patients with his techniques, known as mesmerism, was a precursor to hypnotism.
Different Types of Charismatic Leadership:
TRANSFORMATIONAL—Socialized Charismatic Relationship: “In the socialized relationship, followers have a clear sense of self and a clear set of values, and the charismatic relationship provides them with a means for expressing their important values within the framework of a collective action. Followers in this type of relationship derive their sense of direction and self-expression not from personal identification with the leader but from the leader’s message. In this relationship followers place constraints on the leader’s influence, play an active role in determining the values expressed by the leader, are less dependent on the leader, and are less open to manipulation by the leader.”
AUTHORITARIAN—Personalized Charismatic Relationship: “In the personalized relationship, followers are confused and disoriented before joining the relationship, and the charismatic relationship provides them with a clearer sense of self and greater self-confidence. This type of relationship is based mainly on followers’ personal identification with the leader, rather than on their identification with or acceptance of the leader’s message. Lacking a strong internal reference point from which to judge the leader’s messages and influence attempts, followers in this type of relationship are dependent on and vulnerable to the leader.4
Key Strengths: Courage, ambition, intelligence.
On the Charisma of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)
Widely considered one of history’s greatest military commanders, Napoleon Bonaparte began his rise through the ranks as a socially and economically “inferior Corsican outsider.” Demonstrating considerable charisma, courage and talent as a military tactician, Napoleon rose to command the Italian Army while France’s revolutionary leaders increasingly lost their way.
While his military successes forged the basis of his legend and his charismatic bond with his followers, Napoleon further demonstrated his strategic prowess in the way he effectively cultivated this legend in the minds of the French by making strategic use of wartime propaganda—including electrifying dispatches from the front, in-depth articles and bulletins published throughout France, and glorious paintings of a triumphant Napoleon—all of which he used to further promote himself and his purpose (to lead France), demonize his enemies, and subtly highlight the incompetence of the French Directory, the five-member committee which governed France, but was proving to be a major failure.
When, at last, the French Revolution was on the brink of destruction, Napoleon intervened to save it, eventually crowning himself Emperor of France, with the popular support of the French people, who were by now completely captivated by this charismatic leader, and his legendary military victories. As Emperor, he enshrined the freedom, liberty, and equality gained in France’s Revolution in law, known as the Napoleonic Code, which was adopted in various forms by legal systems around the world.
- Charismatic Leaders are Revolutionary: Rarely, if ever, are charismatic leaders found defending the status quo. In contrast, charismatic leaders are virtually always about revolution, breakthrough innovation or some sort of significant change. “The charismatic, revolutionary hero, Napoleon Bonaparte became Emperor Napoleon, with a new court, new legal codes, a new educational system, and a new administration” The Bass Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research, and Managerial Applications (p. 198).
- Charismatic Leaders Have an Emotional Connection with Followers: “Charisma is an emotional bond among co-present actors and, therefore, differs from context to context in idiosyncratic ways. Consequently, what counts as charismatic in one case—Charles de Gaulle’s towering frame—may well appear as counterintuitive in another—Napoleon Bonaparte’s shortness” Charismatic Leadership and Social Movements: The Revolutionary Power of Ordinary Men and Women (p. 167).
- Charismatic Leaders are Perceived to be Successful: When the leader is unable to continue to produce results, the “magic” stops and the followers no longer perceive the leader as charismatic (This is part of the story of Sarah Palin as well as Barack Obama and Donald Trump—the moment leaders stops producing results for their followers, their charisma begins to fade.). “As [Max] Weber observed, charismatic leadership obtains devotion from followers by seeming to be able to perform miracles. According to Weber, the personal leader possesses magical charisma, is heroic, and specifically extraordinary. The most interesting difference between ordinary social power and charismatic leadership is that charisma is temporary. […] According to Max Weber retention of this power by the leader depends upon the continuing affirmation of his disciples. When the miracles stop, the magic evaporates, a challenger overcomes the leader, the crisis ends, or the enemies win, his charisma wanes and the extraordinary person reverts to ordinary status. […] Even Weber’s archetype of the charismatic leader, Napoleon Bonaparte, could not work miracles forever” Tabernacle of Hate: Seduction into Right-Wing Extremism (p. xxi). Nevertheless, Like beauty, “charisma is in the eye of the beholder,” and, therefore, blindly obedient followers can sometimes rationalize away the charismatic leader’s lack of results, especially if the leader is able to invent a compelling excuse.
- Charismatic Leaders Embody the Vision: The vision is vital to the charismatic bond between leaders and their followers. The more the leader embodies the vision that he or she is articulating, the more followers will attribute that leader with charisma. In the case of Napoleon Bonaparte, he both embodied the ideals of the French Revolution, as well as the strength and stability that the French craved following the years of chaos of the revolution and the reign of terror. “It is I who embody the French Revolution,” Napoleon said (Cronin, p. 300). Another example is Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign. When he talked about his vision of hope and change, he couldn’t help but be authentic. The very color of his skin represented a welcome change in America for a great many Americans, significantly increasing the perception of Obama as a charismatic leader.
- Charismatic Leaders Act with Bold, Unshakeable Conviction: Charismatic leaders have a knack for appearing to be decisive, and having clear convictions. That does not, however, mean that they do not take time to think things through in advance. The most effective charismatic leaders do take time to make important decisions, but they also understand the importance of appearances, and the need to project strength and confidence and conviction about the decisions they make. The lesson is clear: Make your decisions carefully. Be strategic and purpose-driven. But once you make up your mind, abandon any remaining hesitation and doubt. Give it 100% of all you’ve got. As Napoleon said himself, “Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.” When Napoleon returned from Elba to retake France, he understood that he might be putting his life at risk. But he also understood that if he was to win his men over, he needed his confidence, and conviction about his purpose, to appear absolute. “Of course Louis XVIII sent armies to arrest him. But,” writes Andrew Roberts in Smithsonian “the commanders, Marshals Nicolas Soult and Michel Ney, and their men switched sides the moment they came into contact with the charisma of their former sovereign.” Learn more about Napoleon Bonaparte’s Island Prison Escape, and how, indeed, “Fortune favors the Bold.“
- Charismatic Leaders Have a Capacity for Self-Promotion: You could have all of the charisma in the world, but, as John Maxwell put it, “if no one is following you, then you are just going for a walk.” Charismatic leaders, in other words, have to have followers, and in order to have followers, people have to know they exist. This is where the charismatic’s capacity for vision casting and self-promotion is key. In the case of Napoleon Bonaparte, he was a master of self-promotion. As David Bell writes in Men on Horseback: The Power of Charisma in the Age of Revolution, “Napoleon Bonaparte was a ceaseless self-promoter who sometimes seemed to spend almost as much energy celebrating his victories as he did winning them” (p. 20).
Note on the Height of Napoleon Bonaparte. For some reason there remains significant controversy and misinformation about the height of Napoleon Bonaparte. For well over a century, it was universally reported that Napoleon was 5’2″ (five feet, two inches tall). Recently, however, inexplicably, numerous websites, including Google, are stating that Napoleon was 5’6″ (five foot, six inches tall). Along with the fact that his own soldiers nicknamed him Le Petit Caporal (“The Little Corporal”), there are also paintings showing Napoleon standing (significantly, in some cases) shorter than others, including his guards, but also his own wife, Josephine. Napoleon was also assigned to the artillery, in part, because of his short stature. He was short for an officer and, for those serving in the infantry and cavalry, preference was given to those who were taller. The best evidence for his short stature, however, comes from his own valet. As Owen Connelly reports in Blundering to Glory: Napoleon’s Military Campaigns, “After his death at St. Helena, his body was measured by his valet, Louis-Joseph Marchand, at cinq pieds, deux pouces (five feet, two inches). On the assumption that his corpse was measured with a French yardstick, which is longer than the British (the French foot equals 33 cm, the British equals 30.47 cm), some historians have decided that Napoleon was 5 foot 6 inches tall, converting 5 foot 2 inches French to 5 foot 6 inches English. Since the French had been on the metric system since 1793, however, and since Napoleon had used all means to make the French convert to it, it is [highly] doubtful that his entourage carried a yardstick from the Old Regime. Thus, it is almost certain that he was measured with an English yardstick.” It is not clear why this new misinformation persists, but the truth is that Napoleon was not of “average” height for his day. He was short. Given that average heights are increasing, Napoleon, comparatively, would be approximately 5’5″ or 5’6″ today.
Key Strengths: Intelligence, Courage, Élan.
On the Charisma of John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)
- Charismatic Leaders Exude Self-Confidence: Self-confidence is one of the key factors in forming a charismatic bond with followers, and John F. Kennedy was no exception. What most people do not realize, however, is that a hint of insecurity or self-doubt can greatly amplify the charismatic effect. Most people are attracted to self-confident people. We want to be like them, and we tend to trust them more than those who lack self-confidence (which tend to put us more on guard, as if something is wrong). But when a self-confident person also gives an occasional glimpse of self-doubt, then we find them even more relatable which increases their charismatic appeal.
Huey Pierce Long Jr.
Essence of Influence: Popularity with the Poor.
Key Strengths: Audacity, Intelligence, Energy, Boldness.
On the Charisma of Huey P. Long (1893-1935)
- Charismatic Leaders are Willing to Fight for their Followers: Huey Long was willing to go up against the most powerful political and economic interests in Louisiana on behalf of the poor and oppressed people in his state and, later, across the United States. He saw how the poor were suffering. He knew of their hunger, their joblessness, their lack of schooling and healthcare. He also knew how excessively rich and corrupt were the political and economic elites. And he worked tirelessly in his fight against these elites to bring relief to the poor. This willingness to risk his own interests for his followers can be a powerful force for charismatic appeal. As Irvine Schiffer writes in Charisma: A Psychoanalytic Look at Mass Society (1973), “…The stance that heroically disposed people want from a leader is of necessity a stand for action.” In effect, people looking for a charismatic object for this projection are searching for someone ready to fight with another person or persons and ready to become victor or victim, winner or loser” (P. 38).
Essence of Influence: Popularity, Contagious energy, Vision.
Key Strengths: Intelligence, Will, Courage, Grit, Work Ethic.
On the Charisma of Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)
- Broadcast Your Personality: Part of attracting people to the leader’s vision is spreading the word and broadcasting the personality of the charismatic leader. Theodore Roosevelt was often considered charismatic among the various diverse circles he traveled, but when he was able to project his personality through the press and the media, he was able to draw in a much wider audience and base of support. “TR seized new opportunities for publicity through the mass media, to which he owed much for his fame and his charisma.” –America Ascendant: From Theodore Roosevelt to FDR in the Century of American Power, 1901-1945, Pg. 49.
Key Strengths: Perseverance, Courage, Audacity.
On the Charisma of Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
- Recognize that Some Will Resist Charisma: Some people and groups will resist the charismatic leader, and deny their charismatic appeal. These are usually those types who strive to downplay or discount emotions, and elevate logic and reason instead. This is not to suggest, however, that these people will not still feel an underlying pull toward charismatic leaders. This, in part, helps to explain Winston Churchill’s experience in England. As much as the British people admired and respected Churchill, they tended as a whole to lean more toward a rational appraisal of Prime Minister Churchill as a leader. Thus, they judged him to be the leader they needed throughout World War II, but not the leader they needed in the following period of peace. As American political scientist Ann Ruth Willner writes: “In my initial version of this study I referred to Churchill as a possible situational charismatic. It was tempting to envision him as one of a long line of legendary and historic heroes, starting with St. George, who came to the rescue of England in her time of desperation. Unable, however, to find evidence of charismatically oriented perceptions of Churchill by his countrypeople, I also suggested that the British may not be susceptible to charismatic affect, that they can admire and esteem but not adore. This suggestion has since been confirmed by Dennis Kavanagh in his study of Churchill’s leadership.” -Willner, Ruth Ann (1985). The Spellbinders: Charismatic Political Leadership
Key Strengths: Self-control, Intelligence, Pragmatism, Mastery of Propaganda.
Key Weaknesses: Anger, Paranoia.
On the Charisma of Joseph Stalin (1878-1953)
- Charisma Often Masks Insecurity: One of the dangers or problems with charisma is that it often masks a deep inner sense of insecurity. This, of course, in and of itself is not bad. In fact, leaders who learn to project their best, most confident, charismatic selves, in spite of doubts or a lack of confidence, are often able to overcome their doubts, and may, over time, develop a sense of self-worth and self-respect.
However, there is also a risk to followers. A leader with deep insecurities may act out in ways that are harmful to their followers or even society as a whole. This is very often the problem with charismatic dictators such as Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, and Benito Mussolini. “Stalin as the Great Leader offered [the Soviet people] the reassurance they craved. The irony, of course, is that in this guise Stalin projected a perverse kind of charisma that disguised his own very real and fundamental sense of insecurity. For he, above all people, knew that the love and veneration offered up to him was for “Stalin,” the figure of longing at the center of an artificial cult…” Joseph Stalin: A Biographical Companion, Pg. 268.
Charles de Gaulle
Essence of Influence: Leadership, Oratory.
Key Strengths: Courage, Drive, Intelligence, Grit.
Key Weaknesses: Arrogance, Stubbornness.
On the Charisma of Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970)
- Charismatic Leaders are Often Slightly Mysterious, or Foreign: There is often something alluring about that which is slightly foreign or mysterious. Though many people are fearful or uncomfortable with that which is completely foreign or unknown, many are also bored with that which we have entirely figured out. Mix the familiar with a bit of the exotic or mysterious, however, and you have another ingredient in the formula for charismatic appeal. The charismatic French general and statesman, Charles De Gaulle, explains it himself: “First and foremost, there can be no prestige without mystery, for familiarity breeds contempt. All religions have their holy of holies, and no man is a hero to his valet. In the designs, the demeanor, and the mental operations of a leader there must always be a ‘something’ which others cannot altogether fathom, which puzzles them, stirs them, and rivets their attention…”. Some leadership scholars would argue that this, in part, helps to explain the charismatic appeal of Napoleon Bonaparte, who, as a Corsican, was a bit of an outsider to France. Likewise for Adolf Hitler, who was not originally from Germany (he was born in Austria), and Joseph Stalin who was born in Georgia (which had been annexed by the Russian Empire in 1801, and, after some back-and-forth, ultimately won their independence again).
- Rees, Laurence (2013). Hitler’s Charisma: Leading Millions into the Abyss. New York: Vintage. Pg. 32.
The Five Characteristics of Charismatic Leadership
After pouring over hundreds of academic journals in management, leadership, political science, and psychology, the following five characteristics emerged as the most commonly cited qualities of the charismatic leader. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but charismatic leaders on both sides (positive or negative, villainous or virtuous, etc.), from the perspective of their followers, overwhelming tend to be:
Charismatic leaders are inspirational, not just in their public speeches, but in their everyday interactions with followers.
Charismatic leaders are also often cited as articulate. They easily communicate with their followers. They are able to express themselves in a way that is quickly and easily understood. They often use metaphors and visual language so that their audience can easily picture what they are saying.
Charismatic leaders often stand against the status quo. Part of what makes a leader a charismatic leader is that their vision of the future addresses a current reality that followers find unacceptable.
Followers of charismatic leaders report feeling supported by the leader. Charismatic leaders use words and actions and even non-verbal communication that makes others feel acknowledged, accepted, and supported. Rather than focusing on themselves, charismatic leaders stay in the moment, focusing on the needs and interests of their audience.
Along with these five key characteristics, researchers refer to a number of other common characteristics of charismatic leaders, including goal-oriented, enthusiastic, tenacious and persuasive.
There is one other characteristic that is so central to charismatic leadership that it ought to be considered as a distinct subset of factors that makeup the charismatic bond. Virtually without exception, charismatic leaders are visionaries.
Of course, you do not have to be a visionary to be charismatic (though a driving sense of purpose is certainly part of the charismatic appeal). But you absolutely must have a compelling vision to be a charismatic leader, and to form a charismatic bond with followers. In fact, research repeatedly reveals that the charismatic leader’s vision is instrumental in fostering a charismatic relationship with followers.
Are there Different Types of Charismatic Leadership?
Charisma in the Research: A Theoretical Perspective on Charismatic Leadership
Democracy or Dictatorship
The concept of leadership in a democracy can be highly problematic.1 Benjamin Barber (2004), a prominent researcher of democracy and democratic institutions, writes that, “A leader strong enough to do everything we would like done for us is strong enough to deprive us of the capacity to do anything at all for ourselves.”2 Ruscio (2004), writing in The Leadership Dilemma in Modern Democracy, also captures the prevailing skepticism well:
“Suspicion of rulers, concern over their propensity to abuse power in their own self-interest, the need to hold them accountable, and the belief that legitimate power is lodged originally in the people and granted to leaders only with severe contingencies, all are fixed stars in the democratic galaxy. In many respects, democracy came about as the remedy to the problem of leadership, at least as defined by a long list of political philosophers. Fear of leadership is a basic justification for democratic forms of government.”3
Perhaps this fear is even more intense in the presence of the wildly popular and powerful charismatic leader. No doubt, the presidency of Donald Trump and the charismatic bond he has with his followers has added to the fears many hold regarding the precariousness and fragility of democracy. Fond of quoting the Mexican revolutionary leader Zapata who said, “strong leaders make a weak people;”4 Barber, is notoriously uncomfortable with leadership in a democracy.5 Barber (2003) writes: “The statesmanship of a leader such as Churchill may stultify the liberty of an admiring but passive followership no less than might the charisma of a Hitler.”6
Similarly, Gary Wills, the renowned Kennedy biographer, in his study of charismatic political leadership and American democracy writes: “we do the most damage under the Presidents we love most.”7
Arthur Schlesinger, a former adviser to President Kennedy also had a healthy skepticism of charismatic leadership in democracy. Schiffer (1973) writes:
“Schlesinger, quite articulate in this direction, has argued that in modern society there exists a practical dominance of forces, personality appeals, and policies that leaves no room whatever for charisma, because charisma is basically incapable of dealing with the realities of a democratic culture.”8
So, then, does charismatic leadership have a place in democracy? The question, though openly debated, has been far from sufficiently addressed. Nonetheless, support, however tempered, clearly exists. Even Schlesinger, paradoxically, who leaves “no room” for charisma, thought there might be a role for the charismatic leader in times of crisis.9 Moreover, there are a number of arguments put forth (including by Max Weber himself) which undeniably suggest that charismatic leadership has a critically important role in democracy.
The Two Faces of Charisma
On the question of charismatic leadership in a democracy, though many of the leading thinkers seem to come down more definitively on one side or the other, there are at least a few (myself included) who are quick to say that it very much depends on the type of charismatic leadership (an important part of the research problem this study seeks to address) or, even more to the point, that it is a matter of degree.
University of California Professor, Elizabeth Zechmeister (2006) weighs in: “Charismatic leadership in itself is not at all antithetical to democracy. However, in its extreme form, which is usually in times of crisis, and coupled with a leader who inherently has instinctive charismatic tendencies, it certainly can be somewhat dangerous.”10
Perhaps the “it depends” argument for charismatic leadership in democracy is most vivid by juxtaposing the impact that different highly charismatic leaders have had on their own governments. Here we can call to mind the different consequences of Franklin Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler or John Kennedy and Joseph Stalin. If there is merit to the psychoanalytic interpretation of charismatic leadership and the followers of charismatics are “neutral as to the content of the leader’s message or vision”11 (no matter how dastardly), then this would certainly seem to intensify the importance of further study and the potential threat that charismatic leadership may pose to an open and democratic society.
It seems, in regards to charismatic political leadership, that a healthy skepticism, a heightened awareness, and a robust understanding of the different types as well as the responsibilities of followers and of citizenship are all essential to the preservation of a free and open society.
As Arthur Schlesinger writes:
“An adequate democratic theory must recognize that democracy is not self-executing; that leadership is not the enemy of self-government but the means of making it work; that followers have their own stern obligation, which is to keep leaders within rigorous constitutional bounds; and that Caesarism is more often produced by the failure of feeble governments than by the success of energetic ones.”12