Date of Award
Josef Korbel School of International Studies
Jack Donnelly, Ph.D.
Cult, Hero, Heroic, Ideology, Mao, Reagan
The political hero cult of Mao Zedong is archetypal in terms of the development of a modern cult of personality. It was centrally planned and used by the Chinese Communist Party as a political weapon. Its development is well-documented, but this paper describes an element of it that has not been discussed, which is the fact that the true object of veneration in the Mao cult was actually his ideology as a distinct entity from the man himself. This ideology's creation was the original purpose of the CCP's participation in his cult because it was a source of political legitimacy. The ideology could also be appropriated by others as a means of attaining power after Mao had shown himself to be out of touch with it and publicly lost face. This is the true objective of political hero cults: a means of perpetuating power and legitimacy for the ruling party by means of its ideology that can be passed from leader to leader. The cult of Reagan was set up as an attempt to fulfill this role, as well.
Bowe, Alexander A., "Constructing Heroic Ideologies: Mao and Reagan" (2013). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 80.
Received from ProQuest
Alexander A. Bowe