The Harvey Mansfield Story

Eric P. Newcomer, “The Harvey Mansfield Story: Harvard’s Political Philosopher,” Harvard Crimson, March 1, 2012.  


Seated at Grafton Street Pub & Grill with a child-size glass of Guinness in hand, Professor Harvey Claflin Mansfield ’53, Harvard’s soft-spoken firebrand, has no intention of upturning the reputation he has earned during the nearly five decades he has spent teaching at his alma mater.

Even today, within a month of his eightieth birthday, Mansfield still relishes the battles he has fought over the years. Facing off against feminists, liberals, the new left, any enforcer of the politically correct, easy graders, and fresh young minds, Mansfield hasn’t pulled any punches. He has been a vigorous opponent of the Ivory Tower’s conventional wisdom. He’s against race and gender-based affirmative action. He categorically opposes gender studies departments. He puts the Constitution on a pedestal. He thinks women, in general, should be expected to earn less than men. He wrote a book entitled “Manliness,” a defense of traditional gender roles. In 2008, he hosted “The Conference the Radcliffe Institute Didn’t Want to Host.” He’s an unyielding critic of grade inflation, earning the moniker Harvey “C-minus” Mansfield. He even opposed Harvard’s course evaluation tool.

Harvard Crimson