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Charismatic authority

Charismatic authority is form of political leadership in which the authority of the ruling regime is largely tied to the popularity and charisma of a single leader. The leader will usually have several inspiring and engaging sides to his personality, making him an attractive figure that personifies the benevolvence of his government. A charismatic ruler is thus not simply one who is obeyed but rather followed and respected.

Charismatic rule is most often found in certain dictatorships. Often when the leader dies or leaves office, his regime falls shortly after, unable to survive without the personal attraction of the ruler.

Some notable charismatic rulers from history include:

  • Adolf Hitler, a passionate and skilled public speaker whose personal ideology attracted thousands of recruits to his Nazi party.

  • Fidel Castro, a Cuban revolutionary turned president whose dress and speeches continue to glorify the revolution that brought him to power four decades ago.

  • Juan Peron, a former soldier whose beautiful wife Evita captured the hearts of the Argentine poor with her glamour and style.

  • Mao Tse-Tung, an enigmatic philospher and Marxist ideologue whose "little red book" of ideas inspired a virtual army of followers.

In order to maintain their charismatic authority, such regimes will often establish a vast personality cult, in which inspiring images of the leader are plastered all over the country.

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