Excerpt: In view of Tocqueville’s criticisms of philosophy, it may seem paradoxical and presumptuous to call him a philosopher. But he calls himself a “new kind of liberal,” and he sets forth a new liberalism that he has rethought. In Democracy in… More
Excerpt: Today the very word manliness seems quaint and obsolete. We are in the process of making the English language gender-neutral, and manliness, the quality of one gender, or rather, of one sex, seems to describe the essence of the enemy we are… More
Excerpt: Political Philosophy is found in great books—those by Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Rousseau and others of the highest rank—and in books by professors. You should spend much more time with the great authors than with the professors, and you should use… More
Excerpt: Machiavelli’s political science has not received the attention it deserves. All commentators are attracted, with a force they often seem not to understand, by the question of his notion of virtue: is it a compromise with evil or is it innocent?… More
Excerpt: When it comes to American politics, I am an amateur. I love America at its best, or even at its most characteristic: “only in America.” Perhaps this kind of love ought to qualify me as a professional, because it requires one to learn what… More
Excerpt: To understand the modern doctrine of executive power, we need to know, at least approximately, what executive power is. It might at first seem best to go directly to the thing and to ignore opinions about it. For executive power is universally agreed… More
Harvey Mansfield interviewed in Boston Magazine (August 2017). Much has changed since Harvey Mansfield arrived at Harvard in 1949. The university went coed and campus politics have drifted left. Yet Mansfield, the famously outspoken conservative professor… More
The most striking aspect of the rise and reign of Donald Trump has been his unabashed display of vulgarity and the ease (so far) with which he gets away with it. “Vulgar,” a term of condescension, is not often heard in democracies, where it most applies.… More
Grade inflation has popped up again in the news, this time with the disclosure that it has spread to American high schools. High schools, public and especially private, now serve up 50 percent A’s to their students, just like the universities. It’s part… More
Excerpt: What is a political party? James Campbell explores our politics’ characteristic dividedness in an excellent new book, starkly titled Polarized, that deserves to be read widely and carefully. Campbell, who teaches political science at the… More
Excerpt: “One thing I’ve said to him directly, and I would advise my Republican friends in Congress and supporters around the country, is just make sure that as we go forward, certain norms, certain institutional traditions, don’t get eroded, because… More
Excerpt: To introduce this large topic, it is fitting to consider Aristotle, for centuries “the master of those who know” (as Dante called him). By contrast to our thinking, Aristotle wrote comprehensively on both economics and the flourishing life.… More
The Wall Street Journal Why Donald Trump Is No Gentleman Like Machiavelli, he makes clear that winning dishonorably is better than losing honorably. By Harvey C. Mansfield July 29, 2016 6:23 p.m. ET The most obvious observation about Donald Trump is one… More
Abstract: Tocqueville declares himself to be a “new kind” of liberal, and the most striking feature of his reform is to propose, and to find in America, an alliance, rather than hostility, between religion and liberty. As opposed to an overt foundation in… More
Mansfield has an essay in the volume Machiavelli’s Legacy: The Prince after Five Hundred Years, just out from the University of Pennsylvania Press. From the publisher: Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince is one of the most celebrated and notorious… More
Harvey Mansfield looks at equality, with particular reference to America and modern democracy more generally. Excerpt: The movement to reduce income inequality appeals to a very traditional sense of justice known both to Aristotle and the Bible, arising from… More
Harvey Mansfield spoke on “Machiavelli on Necessary Evil” at the University of Notre Dame, part of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture fall 2018 conference.
Bill Kristol interviews Harvey Mansfield about Jonathan Swift (1667–1745) and particularly his masterwork, Gulliver’s Travels. In this Conversation, Mansfield provides an in-depth interpretation of Swift’s writing, which Mansfield calls “essentially… More
Bill Kristol interviews Harvey Mansfield about the Senate’s confirmation hearings for Neil Gorsuch, an event that “turned out to be a lesson in politics. You were learning from people actually in politics about the issue: What’s the relationship… More
In his eleventh conversation with Bill Kristol, Mansfield discusses how political philosophy might inform our understanding of President Trump.
Mansfield discusses crime and mystery novels (including those by Agatha Christie, Bill James, and Donald Westlake), P.G. Wodehouse, J.Q. Wilson, Winston Churchill as writer, and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.
Harvey Mansfield discusses “America’s constitutional soul” and the jurisprudence of Antonin Scalia on this episode of Conversations.
In his seventh conversation with Kristol, Mansfield discusses the ideas behind our political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats
Mansfield’s sixth conversation with Kristol centers on Machiavelli and the origins of modernity.
The fifth conversation in our ongoing series with the distinguished Harvard government professor considers the French political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-59). Mansfield and Kristol discuss key themes in Tocqueville’s work, including the nature… More
View pdf version The speeches reported here were given by Harvey C. Mansfield over 31 years to meetings of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. They have been edited by him in 2012. They are based on faculty minutes and on his notes, made at the times of… More
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY, 1960–1962 Political Science 209a, The Political Philosophy of Hegel Political Science 144a, British Government Political Science 293, The Political Philosophy of Burke Political Science 110a, Introduction to Political… More