Volume: 4 Issue: 1

Leadership and the Humanities

Magnanimous leadership: Edmund Barton and the Australian founding*

Haig Patapan *

Keywords: Edmund Barton, leadership, democracy, democratic transitions, magnanimity, honour, founding


This article explores the nature of leadership that is needed in democratic transitions. It argues that the conventional scholarship on democratisation, and the leadership scholarship on transformative and transactional leaders, needs to be augmented by an older conception of leadership, first formulated by Aristotle as the ‘great souled’ individual and later termed ‘magnanimity’. The meaning of magnanimous leadership, and its relevance for contemporary democratic transitions, is explored through an examination of the Australian founding, and in particular the leadership of Edmund Barton, who was instrumental in securing Australian federation.

Author Notes

Research for this article was supported by an Australian Prime Ministers Centre Fellowship, and an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information