Heroes and Sultans

  • John David Orme


Aristotle asserted that “the tyrant is a warmonger.” According to Max Weber, tyranny has taken two forms in modern times: “Sultanism,” which is corrupt, brutal, personal dictatorship unconstrained or supported by institutions or ideology; and “Charismatic Dictatorship,” in which charisma provides the leader with a powerful but unstable claim to legitimacy. Wars initiated by four dictators are investigated: two by “Heroes” (Napoleon Bonaparte and his nephew Louis Napoleon); and two by “Sultans” (Francisco Solano López of Paraguay and Idi Amin of Uganda). Aristotle’s assertion is corroborated; all four embarked on futile wars. Although these situations differ in many respects, common factors are the dysfunctionality of the advising process and the concentration of power in the hands of men of deeply flawed judgment and character.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oglethorpe UniversityBrookhavenUSA

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