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Photo: Hoover Institution

William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Government, Harvard University

John W. Kluge Distinguished Visitor - Class of Spring 2009

Born in 1932, Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr. has taught at Harvard since 1962. He was chairman of the department of government from 1973-1977.


Mansfield is perhaps most notable for his generally conservative stance on political issues in his writings and is considered one of the most influential members of the Straussian right in academia. He has written on Edmund Burke and the nature of political parties, on Machiavelli and the invention of indirect government, in defense of a defensible liberalism, and in favor of a Constitutional American political science. He has also written on the discovery and development of the theory of executive power, and has translated three books of Machiavelli’s as well as Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (Chicago, 2000). Mansfield’s two most recent books are Manliness (Yale, 2006) and Tocqueville: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2007).


Mansfield has held Guggenheim and NEH Fellowships and has been a Fellow at the National Humanities Center. He won the Joseph R. Levenson award for his teaching at Harvard, received the Sidney Hook Memorial award from the National Association of Scholars, and in 2004 accepted a National Humanities Medal from the President. In 2007, Manfield delivered the prestigious Jefferson Lecture, entitled “How to Understand Politics: What the Humanities Can Say to Science.”

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