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Religions 2013, 4(2), 209-215; doi:10.3390/rel4020209
Article

Charismatic Reactions to Individuals and Ideas: Looks, Language and Lincoln

Received: 8 February 2013 / Revised: 5 April 2013 / Accepted: 10 April 2013 / Published: 15 April 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Charisma, Medieval and Modern)
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Abstract

This paper explores the application of Freud’s theories of leadership and group psychology to the case of Abraham Lincoln. It argues that followers’ needs for charismatic leaders propel them to construct heroic and charismatic cognitive representations of leaders who give the impression of power and who represent the ideal qualities of the group. Both leaders and their ideas can create an emotional connection with followers. During his lifetime, Americans developed charismatic and heroic interpretations of Abraham Lincoln’s appearance. They also responded positively to Lincoln’s use of biblical rhythms and phrases in his speeches and writings.
Keywords: charisma; Lincoln; Freud; biblical charisma; Lincoln; Freud; biblical
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Goethals, G.R. Charismatic Reactions to Individuals and Ideas: Looks, Language and Lincoln. Religions 2013, 4, 209-215.

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