Factors That Inspire Devotion Essay

1287 words - 5 pages

In my studies, I have always been fascinated by people who are able to create followers through their words and actions. From people like Martin Luther King, Jr., Buddha, and Mahatma Gandhi to people with more malicious aims such as Hitler and Stalin, the power of leaders to shape public opinion provides insight and clues into human behavior. I can contribute to a graduate seminar course bringing an open mind and a natural curiosity. There is a graduate seminar called “Charismatic Leadership in the 21st Century” that is given at Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS), as part of the International Policy Studies program. The seminar discusses the theories about the charisma of leaders and how they create followers. The course description follows.
This seminar investigates the psychological, historical, and cultural factors that have produced charismatic leaders and their devoted followers. The readings will present basic psychological theories that can be used to organize research on character and style of charismatic leaders and the resonance those leaders develop among their devoted followers. Those theorists include Freud, Weber, and Erikson. Classic biographies in the field will be used as models for the seminar paper that will be a case study on a particular leader and her political culture. Questions about the universal appeal and cultural limits of the leaders chosen will be central to seminar discussions.
I’m familiar with the non-violent ways of great leaders like King and Gandhi. For example, Gandhi was successful in driving out British colonialism by telling people how they could accomplish more through the strength of numbers and non-violence, rather than by using force to fight force. Specifically, Gandhi encouraged complete and passive noncooperation with the British at most levels. By refusing to participate in any activity over which there was British control, Britain was unable to govern India and eventually withdrew. I have studied the timeline of the Twentieth century and have a good working knowledge of the important events and how they are related.
I bring knowledge about the specific reasons and motivations behind people’s behavior. Martin Luther King, Jr., for example, pioneered non-violent resistance during the civil rights movement. King was an admirer of Gandhi and traveled to India in 1959. After his trip, King became convinced of the value of non-violent resistance. This was probably the biggest reason for King’s success. It’s also clear that King was motivated by justice and fairness. In his “I Have a Dream of Speech” he speaks about people of all colors and creeds joining together and singing “free at last”. This is certainly symbolic of all people who have been persecuted for being different.
I can contribute my ability to analyze cause and effect in understanding why people do what they do. Hitler rose to power by appealing to German nationalism. Germany felt violated after getting the short end of...

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