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Page history last edited by Alex 14 years, 12 months ago

Caesarism is defined in the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary as "an imperial authority, political absolutism, or a dictatorship." In writings by Max Weber, it refers to a political system where political leaders rely on their charisma for power.


In his discussion of the modern democratic state, Max Weber discusses how caesarism necessarily arises out of democracy.  He argues that in a democratic state with universal suffrage, political leaders must possess charisma in order to gain a significant following from the public.  While this can be a threat to the established political order, Weber argues that it can be checked by the creation of a parliament or some other political body that counter the possibility of total control by one political leader. Weber writes, "there is only the choice between a leadership democracy with a "machine" and leaderless democracy, namely, the domination of professional politicians without a calling, without the inner charismatic qualities that make a leader" (From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology). Karl Marx also wrote about caesarism. See Selected Works, Volume One.

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