James MacGregor Burns
James MacGregor Burns (August 3, 1918 – July 15, 2014) was an American historian and political scientist, presidential biographer, and authority on leadership studies. He was the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Government Emeritus at Williams College and Distinguished Leadership Scholar at the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership of the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park. In 1971, Burns received the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in History and Biography for his work on America's 32nd president, Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom.
Burns shifted the focus of leadership studies from the traits and actions of great men to the interaction of leaders and their constituencies as collaborators working toward mutual benefit. He was best known for his contributions to the transactional, transformational, aspirational, and visionary schools of leadership theory.
Burns grew up in Burlington, Massachusetts where he attended grammar school at the Burlington Union School and attended Lexington High School in neighboring Lexington, Massachusetts, and graduated in 1935.
During World War II, Burns served in the U.S. Army as a combat historian in the Pacific theater. He was awarded the Bronze Star and four Battle Stars. Throughout his military adventures, Burns noticed that when leadership was mentioned, it was in terms of the traits and qualities of officers, but not soldiers.
He taught at Williams College for nearly forty years. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is past president of the American Political Science Association and the International Society of Political Psychology. During the early 1990s, he taught classes at the University of Maryland, where the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership was given his name.
Burns advocated repeal of the Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution to allow effective US presidents to serve three or more terms of office.
Theory of leadership
Burns' Leadership (1978) introduced two types of leadership: transactional leadership, in which leaders focus on the relationship between the leader and follower, and transformational leadership, in which leaders focus on the beliefs, needs, and values of their followers.
Excerpts from Burns's book, Leadership:
- Leadership over human beings is exercised when persons with certain motives and purposes mobilize, in competition or conflict with others, institutional, political, psychological, and other resources so as to arouse, engage, and satisfy the motives of followers... in order to realize goals mutually held by both leaders and followers....
- Transformational leadership occurs when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality.
- That people can be lifted into their better selves is the secret of transforming leadership and the moral and practical theme of this work.
- Congress on Trial: The Legislative Process and the Administrative State (1949).
- Government by the People (textbook, 21 editions) (Prentice-Hall, 1952–present).
- Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox (Harcourt, Brace, 1956).
- John Kennedy: A Political Profile (Harcourt, Brace, 1960).
- The Deadlock of Democracy: Four-Party Politics in America (Prentice Hall, 1963).
- Presidential Government: The Crucible of Leadership (1965).
- Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1970) (ISBN 0-15-602757-7).
- Uncommon Sense (1972).
- Edward Kennedy and the Camelot Legacy (1976).
- Leadership (Harper Collins, 1978) (ISBN 0-06-010588-7).
- The Vineyard of Liberty (Alfred A. Knopf, 1982) (ISBN 0394505468).
- The Power to Lead: The Crisis of the American Presidency (1984).
- The Workshop of Democracy (Alfred A. Knopf, 1985) (ISBN 0394505468).
- The Crosswinds of Freedom (Alfred A. Knopf, 1989) (ISBN 0394512766).
- Transforming Leadership: A New Pursuit of Happiness (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2003) (ISBN 0-87113-866-2).
- The Three Roosevelts: Patrician Leaders Who Transformed America, with Susan Dunn (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2001) (ISBN 0-8021-3872-1).
- Running Alone: Presidential Leadership — JFK to Bush II: Why It Has Failed and How We Can Fix It (Basic Books, 2006).
- Packing the Court: The Rise of Judicial Power and the Coming Crisis of the Supreme Court (Penguin Press, 2009) (ISBN 1594202192).
- Fire and Light: How the Enlightenment Transformed Our World (St. Martin's Press, 2013) (ISBN 9781250024893).
- "History". Past winners & finalists by category. The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- "National Book Awards – 1971". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- Burns, James MacGregor. Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom, 1940-45. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1970
- Burns, James MacGregor. Transforming Leadership: A New Pursuit of Happiness. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2003.
- Accardi, Dina (2012-11-25). "Kent Cottage faces uncertain future". Burlington Union.
- Matt Schudel (July 17, 2014). "Historian won Pulitzer for biography on FDR". The Baltimore Sun. p. 6.
- Bruce Weber (July 15, 2014). "James MacGregor Burns, Scholar of Presidents and Leadership, Dies at 95". The New York Times.
- Tony Dobrowolski (July 15, 2014). "James MacGregor Burns, historian and FDR biographer, dies at age 95". The Berkshire Eagle.
- Burns, James MacGregor. Running Alone: Presidential Leadership—JFK to Bush II : Why It Has Failed and How We Can Fix It. New York: Basic Books, 2006.
- Turan, S. & Sny, C. (1996). An exploration of transformational leadership and its role in strategic planning: A conceptual framework.
- Video:James MacGregor Burns on Leadership
- Academy of Leadership
- University of Maryland's James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership
- A film clip "The Open Mind - America's Past and Future Greatness, Part I (1985)" is available for free download at the Internet Archive
- A film clip "The Open Mind - America's Past and Future Greatness, Part II (1985)" is available for free download at the Internet Archive
- Appearances on C-SPAN
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