First published in 1989, this persuasive and original by John McClelland examines the importance of the idea of 'the crowd' in the writings of philosophers, historians and politicians from the classical era to the twentieth century.
The book examines histories of political thought and their justifications for forms of rule, highlighting the persistent and profoundly anti-democratic bias in political and social thought, analysing in particular the writings of Machiavelli, Montesquieu, Hitler, Gibbon, Carlysle, Michelet, Taine and Freud.
1. The Crowd in the Ancient World 2. Some Medieval Crowds and Machiavelli on the Roman People 3. The Crowd and Liberty: Machiavelli, Montesquieu, and America 4. Some Historians on the Crowd before and after the French Revolution: Gibbon, Carlyle, Michelet and Taine 5. The Crowd as a Clue to the Mystery of the Modern World: Taine Against the Enlightenment 6. From the Criminal Crowd to a Social Theory: Scipio Sighele and Gabriel Tarde 7. Crowd Theory Makes its Way in the World: The Le Bon Phenomenon 8. The Leader and his Crowd: Freud's Group Psychology (1921) 9. The Triumph of the Crowd: Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf (1924-5) 10. The Sanity of Crowds and the Madness of Power: Elias Canetti's Crowds and Power (1960)