Chapter 5

American Experience—downgrading leaders

Leadership in the United States of America has always been difficult to exercise. Philosophers such as John Locke contributed to the condition, as did the Founders themselves, who used the Revolution to construct a government in which no single individual or institution was likely to dominate for long. Moreover, as historians in our own time have shifted the emphasis from early American leaders to early American followers, that is, to ordinary people, we have come to understand that Americans were resistant to rule from the start. A full two years before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the people of the New England countryside had thrown out their royal rulers, declaring themselves ...

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