Books

Tocqueville: A Very Short Introduction

– Oxford University Press, 2010.
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

Manliness

– Yale University Press, 2006.  Italian trans., Virilità, Rizzoli, 2006.
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

A Student’s Guide to Political Philosophy

– Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2001.
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

Machiavelli’s Virtue

– University Of Chicago Press; Reprint edition (March 25, 1998)
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

America’s Constitutional Soul

– The Johns Hopkins University Press; Reprint edition (March 1, 1993)
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

Taming the Prince: The Ambivalence of Modern Executive Power

– The Free Press, 1989; paperback edition, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993. The Johns Hopkins University Press; Reprint edition (April 1, 1993)
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

Essays

The Interview: Harvey Mansfield

– "Q & A with Harvey Mansfield," Boston Magazine, August: 2017.
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 Vulgar Manliness of Donald Trump

– Harvey Mansfield, "The Vulgar Manliness of Donald Trump," Commentary, August 14, 2017.
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

The Suicide of Meritocracy

– Harvey Mansfield, "The Suicide of Meritocracy," The Weekly Standard, August 14, 2017.
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

Why We Won’t Agree

– Harvey Mansfield. "Why We Won't Agree," Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2017.
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

The Vulgar and the Sophisticates

– Harvey Mansfield, "The Vulgar and the Sophisticates," City Journal, January 20, 2017.
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

Aristotle on Economics and the Flourishing Life

– Mansfield, Harvey. "Aristotle and Human Flourishing." In Economic Freedom and Human Flourishing: Perspectives from Political Philosophy, edited by Michael R. Strain and Stan A. Veuger. American Enterprise Institute Press, 2016
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

Why Donald Trump is No Gentleman

– "Why Donald Trump is No Gentleman," Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2016.
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

Tocqueville on Religion and Liberty

– "Tocqueville on Religion and Liberty," American Political Thought, Spring: 2016.
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

Machiavelli’s Enterprise

– "Machiavelli's Enterprise," Machiavelli's Legacy, Timothy Fuller ed., University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia, 2015.
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

Are all Men Created Equal?

– "Are All Men Created Equal?" Hoover Institution "Defining Ideas," November 18, 2015.
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

Multimedia

Conversations with Bill Kristol: Harvey Mansfield XIII

– Harvey Mansfield (Interview 13), Conversations with Bill Kristol, Released: August 14, 2017.  
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

Conversations with Bill Kristol: Harvey Mansfield XII

– Harvey Mansfield (Interview 12), Conversations with Bill Kristol, Released: April 24, 2017.
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

Conversations with Bill Kristol: Harvey Mansfield XI

– Harvey Mansfield (Interview 11), Conversations with Bill Kristol, Released: December 19, 2016.
In his eleventh conversation with Bill Kristol, Mansfield discusses how political philosophy might inform our understanding of President Trump.

Conversations with Bill Kristol: Harvey Mansfield X

– Harvey Mansfield (Interview 10), Conversations with Bill Kristol, Released: September 26, 2016.
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.

Conversations with Bill Kristol: Harvey Mansfield IX

– Harvey Mansfield (Interview 9) Conversations with Bill Kristol, Released: August 1, 2016.
Harvey Mansfield discusses “America’s constitutional soul” and the jurisprudence of Antonin Scalia on this episode of Conversations.

Conversations with Bill Kristol: Harvey Mansfield VII

– Harvey Mansfield (Interview 7), Conversations with Bill Kristol, Released: February 1, 2016.
In his seventh conversation with Kristol, Mansfield discusses the ideas behind our political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats

Conversations with Bill Kristol: Harvey Mansfield V

– Harvey Mansfield (Interview 5), Conversations with Bill Kristol, August 31, 2015.
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

Conversations with Bill Kristol: Harvey Mansfield IV

– Harvey Mansfield (Interview 4), Conversations with Bill Kristol, May 11, 2015.
In the fourth instalment in an ongoing series of conversations with the Harvard government professor, Bill Kristol and Harvey Mansfield discuss the political philosopher Leo Strauss (1899 – 1973) and the Straussian school of philosophy he… More

Teaching

Harvard Faculty Speeches, 1975-2006

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

Courses Taught by Harvey C. Mansfield

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