James MacGregor Burns (August 3, 1918 in Melrose, Massachusetts – July 15, 2014 in Williamstown, Massachusetts) was an American historian and political scientist, presidential biographer, and authority on leadership studies. He was the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Government Emeritus at Williams College and Distinguished Leadership Scholar at the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership of the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park. In 1971 Burns received the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in History and Biography for his work on America's 32nd president, Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom.
Burns shifted the focus of leadership studies from the traits and actions of great men to the interaction of leaders and their constituencies as collaborators working toward mutual benefit. He was best known for his contributions to the transactional, transformational, aspirational, and visionary schools of leadership theory.
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