According to Weber, there are three pure types of legitimate authority -- three ways in which rulers can claim that their power is legitimately held. The three are:
- Rational/legal grounds. This is the sort of legitimacy that our rulers have today. They are legitimate because we have set up rules for how people may gain power. They have followed those rules and so therefore they have the right to hold power.
- Traditional grounds. This is, for example, the divine right of kings. These rulers are legitimate because of tradition -- because people from their family have always held power.
- Charismatic grounds. This is when a person holds power by the simple force of his or her personality. People trust this ruler because of his/her personal qualities.