James MacGregor Burns is an historian and political scientist, presidential biographer, and authority on leadership studies. He is 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 has 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 is best known for his contributions to the transactional, transformational, aspirational, and visionary schools of leadership theory.