Film, Video Caesarism in Democratic Politics: Reflections on Max Weber

About this Item

Caesarism in Democratic Politics: Reflections on Max Weber
President Emeritus of Stanford University Gerhard Casper, who recently occupied the Chair of American Law and Governance in the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, talks about Caesarism in democratic politics. Casper believes that the concept of Caesarism, political absolutism or dictatorship, was of considerable importance to Max Weber, the German political economist and sociologist considered to be one of the founders of the modern study of sociology. "In reading Weber one cannot help but be struck by the relevance to our own historical situation. As we encounter Caesarist tendencies in contemporary politics, what Weber has to say about 'governance' is anything but theoretical," says Casper.
Event Date
March 22, 2007
-  Gerhard Casper served as president of Stanford from 1992 to 2000. He is currently the Peter and Helen Bing Professor in Undergraduate Education at Stanford. He is also a professor of law, a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a professor of political science (by courtesy). Born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1937, Casper studied law at the universities of Freiburg and Hamburg, where he earned his first law degree. He received a master's in law from Yale in 1962 and eventually earned his doctorate in law from Freiburg in 1964. He has been awarded honorary doctorates, most recently in law from Yale and in philosophy from Uppsala University in Sweden. Following his immigration to the United States, Casper was assistant professor of political science at the University of California at Berkeley from 1964 to 1966. He then joined the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School, and between 1979 and 1987 served as dean of the law school. In 1989, Casper was appointed provost of the University of Chicago. Casper has taught and written extensively in the fields of constitutional law, constitutional history, comparative law and jurisprudence. From 1977 to 1991, he was an editor of The Supreme Court Review. His books include a monograph on legal realism (1967); an empirical study of the Supreme Court's workload (1976, with Richard A. Posner); "Separating Power" (1997), concerning the separation of powers practices at the end of the 18th century in the United States; and "Cares of the University" (1997), about the Stanford presidency. He is also the author of numerous scholarly articles.
Related Resources
John W. Kluge Center:
Running Time
1 hours 36 minutes 9 seconds
Online Format

Rights & Access

While the Library of Congress created most of the videos in this collection, they include copyrighted materials that the Library has permission from rightsholders to present.  Rights assessment is your responsibility.  The written permission of the copyright owners in materials not in the public domain is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. There may also be content that is protected under the copyright or neighboring-rights laws of other nations.  Permissions may additionally be required from holders of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights). Whenever possible, we provide information that we have about copyright owners and related matters in the catalog records, finding aids and other texts that accompany collections. However, the information we have may not be accurate or complete.

More about Copyright and other Restrictions

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.

Credit Line: Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Caesarism in Democratic Politics: Reflections on Max Weber. 2007. Video.

APA citation style:

(2007) Caesarism in Democratic Politics: Reflections on Max Weber. [Video] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Caesarism in Democratic Politics: Reflections on Max Weber. 2007. Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.

More Films, Videos like this