Liberalism and the Emergence of American Political Science: A Transatlantic Tale

ISBN : 9780199333622

Robert Adcock
312 ページ
163 x 242 mm

This book situates the origins of American political science in relation to the transatlantic history of liberalism. In a corrective to earlier accounts, it argues that, as political science took shape in the nineteenth century American academy, it did more than express a pre-existing American liberalism. The pioneers of American political science participated in transatlantic networks of intellectual and political elites that connected them directly to the vicissitudes of liberalism in Europe. The book shows how these figures adapted multiple contemporary European liberal arguments to speak to particular challenges of mass democratic politics and large-scale industry as they developed in America. Political science's pioneers in the American academy were thus active agents of the Americanization of liberalism. When political science first secured a niche in the American academy during the antebellum era, it advanced a democratized classical liberal political vision overlapping with the contemporary European liberalism of Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill. As political science expanded during the dramatic growth of university ideals and institutions in the Gilded Age, divergence within its liberalism came to the fore in the area of political economy. In the late-nineteenth century, this divergence was fleshed out into two alternative liberal political visions-progressive liberal and disenchanted classical liberal-with different analyses of democracy and the administrative state. During the early twentieth-century, both visions found expression among early presidents of the new American Political Science Association, and subsequently, within contests over the meaning of 'liberalism' as this term acquired salience in American political discourse. In sum, this book showcases how the history of American political science offers a venue in which we see how a distinct current of mid-nineteenth-century European liberalism was divergently transformed into alternative twentieth-century American liberalisms.


Introduction. American Political Science and Liberalism in Transatlantic Perspective
Part One: From Europe to America
Chapter One. The Political in Political Science: The Liberal Debate about Democracy
Chapter Two. The Science in Political Science: The Historicist Debate about Method
Chapter Three. Democratized Classical Liberalism in the Antebellum American College: The Emigre Political Science of Francis Lieber
Part Two: Wide Political Science and Liberalism in the Gilded Age
Chapter Four. Political Science and Political Economy in the Age of Academic Reform: Andrew Dickson White and William Graham Sumner
Chapter Five. Historical and Political Science at the Johns Hopkins University: Historicist Science, Liberalism, and the Founding of National Associations
Part Three: Late Century Liberalisms and the New Political Science
Chapter Six. Disenchanted Classical Liberalism as a Political Vision: William Graham Sumner and A. Lawrence Lowell
Chapter Seven. Progressive Liberalism as a Political Vision: Woodrow Wilson's Political Science
Chapter Eight. The Transatlantic Study of Modern Political Systems: The New Political Science of James Bryce, A. Lawrence Lowell, and Frank Goodnow
Conclusion. The Americanization of Political Science and the Americanization of "


Robert Adcock is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the George Washington University. He earned his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, and his research focuses on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Anglo-American political and social thought, especially the history, philosophy, and methods of the modern social sciences.