The chapter argues that populism as a modern phenomenon is closely linked with the great democratic revolutions that, for the first time in history, addressed ‘the people’ as the sovereign, thereby constituting the modern citizen. Yet, ‘the people’ can and do draw boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them’. In an analytical perspective the article suggests a distinction between three forms of populism, ‘organic populism’, ‘liberal economic populism’, and ‘liberal cultural populism’, that operate differently. Applying closure theory to these different forms allows understanding of the different processes of populist politics that today promote exclusion by applying differentiated strategies of social closure.