What elements of Weber's three types of legitimate domination, aside from legal authority, are present in the U.S. political system?

Quick answer:

Max Weber's three types of legitimate domination are traditional authority, rational-legal authority, and charismatic authority. While the United States is based on legal authority, instances of traditional authority are common in cases of inherited wealth and power, and charismatic authority can be seen in the influence of major celebrities.

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Max Weber is a sociologist who coined the term legitimate authority. By it, he meant authority that is considered just and appropriate over those whom power is exercised. He split legitimate authority into three different types: traditional authority, rational-legal authority, and charismatic authority.

Traditional authority is a power that is rooted in the longstanding beliefs and practices of a society. It's passed to particular individuals (kings, queens, etc) because of their society's longstanding belief in that kind of authority. Rational-legal authority is a power that is derived from law. It's based on a belief in the legitimacy of a society's laws and rules. Charismatic authority is a power that comes from a person's extraordinary qualities, which they can use to gain followers. These individuals can exercise authority over whole societies or small groups within societies.

Your prompt is correct to point out that the United States operates chiefly on legal authority. However, we also use some elements of other sources of power. Consider first that power isn't just seated in government. It's also cultural and financial. In our system, charismatic celebrities regularly gain power over average people with their extraordinary qualities. You could call this a type of charismatic authority. This is a type of power because they have the ability to shape our culture, our interests, and through that, our goals.

Traditional authority can be found in the way our capitalistic system operates. People whose parents were wealthy and powerful often end up becoming wealthy and powerful themselves. They're able to use money that they've inherited and their parents' connections to amass power themselves. This power can be financial, cultural, or governmental. I would call this a type of traditional authority because we, as a society, accept these individuals' power simply because that's always been the way things work in this country. We have a longstanding belief that capital should pass from generation to generation and that some people should have an easier time amassing power than others because of their parents.

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