Caesarism in Democratic Politics: Reflections on Max Weber


Publish Date:
March 22, 2007
Working Paper
  • Gerhard Casper, Caesarism in Democratic Politics: Reflections on Max Weber (2007).


Max Weber argued that every mass democracy tends in a caesarist direction. Weber employed the term to stress, inter alia, the plebiscitary character of elections, disdain for parliament, the non-toleration of autonomous powers within the government and a failure to attract or suffer independent political minds. A hundred years ago – even before present-day modes of campaigning, before present-day modes of political fundraising, before television advertising – Weber was of the view that the position of the President of the United States lies on the road to a pure form of caesarist acclamation. After analyzing Weber’s views, the paper examines recent trends in American presidential politics.