The Legacy of Leo Strauss

Claremont Review of Books, Fall 1984.


In 1974, the year following Leo Strauss’s death, the American Political Science Association estab­lished an annual award, in his honor, for the best dissertation in the field of political philosophy. The petition in favor of such an award was signed by a solid phalanx of Strauss’s students, although there was also a number who were not in any sense “Straussians.” The petition observed that there was at present no award in political philosophy, and expressed the belief that the establishment of one by the Association “would signalize to the profession in general, and to graduate students in this field, its recognition of political philosophy as one of the important traditions within the discipline.” The motion by which the petition was adopted spoke of “the universal recognition of Strauss’s exemplary devotion to the philosophic study of politics.” The irony in this hyperbole is today universally recog­nized in the highly publicized aphorism attributed to a member of Yale’s political science department that neither Leninists nor Straussians belong in the profession!

Claremont Review of Books