John William Burgess ( 1844-1931 )


"Through [history] we seek to find the origin, follow the growth and learn the meaning of our legal, political, and economic principles and institutions. We class it therefore no longer with fiction or rhetoric or belles-lettres, but with logic, philosophy, ethics. We value it, therefore, not by its brilliance, but by its productiveness."

Methods of Historical Study in Columbia College , in: G. Stanley Hall: Methods of Teaching History, Boston 1883, S. 188.


Stimmen der Forschung

"John W. Burgess is more likely to be remembered for his work in founding and building up the school of Political Science at Columbia University and his many years of teaching service than for his contributions to American history."

Michael Kraus /Davis. D. Joyce: The Writing of American History, Norman/OK 1953, S. 202.


"Burgess himself, although he wrote an extensive three-part history of the United States from 1817 to 1876, was primarily a political scientist. Defining the relation of history and science, he was in agreement with the English scholar, J. R. Seeley, that ,History is the name of a residuum which has been left when one group of facts after another has been taken possession of by some science', with the reservation that the process is a historical one and the doctrines themselves historical products. [.] The role Burgess played in the establishment of history as a profession in America is to be ranked with that of Herbert B. Adams."

Richard Hofstadter: The Department of History, in: Ralph Gordon Hoxie: A History of the Faculty of Political Science. Columbia University , New York 1955, S. 212f.


"John William Burgess was one of the masters of social science in America . He was among the founding fathers of graduate education, a pioneer political scientist, and an early practitioner of "scientific" history. [.] He was an Aristotelian in political theory and a German idealist in philosophy."

Bert James Loewenberg : American History in American Thought: Christopher Columbus to Henry Adams, New York 1972, S. 346f.


"Yet, on reexamination, Burgess ranks not only as the ,father' of American political science, but among the truly great figures in its history. His aspirations for a scientific politics, grasp of scientific method, insistence upon broad interdisciplinary training, and concern with systematic theory set a standard rarely surpassed from his day to the present."

Albert Somit/Joseph Tanenhaus: The Development of American Political Science. From Burgess to Behavioralism, New York 1982, S. 3.


"John William Burgess was one of the leaders in the professionalization of American social science. As an administator, he was a pioneer in the establishment of graduate education in the United States . [.] More than any other person, he laid the basis for the acceptance of political science as a scholarly discipline in the United States . He was regarded by contemporaries as the dean of comparative and American constitutional law studies. And he was a leading practitioner - though with his own distinctive neo-Hegelian twist of ,scientific history'."

Gunter Scholtz: Zum Strukturwandel kulturwissenschaftlichen Denkens (1880-1945), in: Wolfgang Küttler u.a. (Hg.): Geschichtsdiskurs, Bd. 4: Krisenbewußtsein, Katastrophenerfahrungen und Innovationen 1880-1945, Frankfurt a. M. 1997, S. 33.




Geboren in Giles County/TN, als Sohn von Thomas T. Burgess (Farmer) und Mary J., geb. Edwards


Teilnahme am Bürgerkrieg als "Union Scout", " Quartermaster" und " Lieutenant"


Jurastudium in Amherst


Heirat mit Augusta Thayer Jones


Arbeit als Rechtsanwalt


Lehrer am Knox College


Politik- und Geschichts studium in Deutschland (Göttingen, Leipzig und Berlin bei Johann Gustav Droysen, Theodor Mommsen, Rudolf von Gneist und Wilhelm Roscher)


Heirat mit Ruth Payne Jewett, ein Sohn


Lehrer für Geschichte und Politikwissenschaften am Amherst College


Professor für Politikwissenschaften, Geschichte und Internationales Recht, ab 1896 nur noch für Politikwissenschaften und Constitutional Law an der Columbia University


Gründung der Zeitschrift "Political Science Quarterly"


Dekan für Politikwissenschaften an der Columbia University


Erster Roosevelt-Professor an der Universität von Berlin, Vorlesungen über "American Institutions", auch in Leipzig


Umzug nach Newport


Gestorben in Brookline /MA


Werke (Auswahl)


The American university. When shall it be? Where shall it be? What shall it be? An essay, Boston 1884


The Middle Period, New York 1897 (Freeport/NY 1971)


Political science and comparative constitutional law, Boston u. a. 1898 (Buffalo 2000)


The Civil War and the Constitution, New York 1901 (Port Washington/NY 1971)


Reconstruction and the Constitution, New York 1902 ( New York 1972)


Truth about Germany ; facts about the war, New York City 1914


The causes of the European conflict, Chicago 1914


The Reconciliation of Government with Liberty , New York 1915


The European war of 1914; its causes, purposes, and probable results, Chicago 1915, dt. Leipzig 1915


The Administration of President Hayes , New York 1916


American's relations to the great war, Chicago 1916


Recent changes in American constitutional theory, New York 1923 ( New York 1972)


The sanctity of law, in what does it consist? The story of man's attainment of law and order from Roman times to the present, New York u. a. 1928


The foundations of political science, New York 1933



Braeman, John: John W. Burgess, in: Dictionary of Literary Biography, Bd. 47, Ann Arbor/MI 1983, S. 69-75 .

Brown, Bernard E.: American Conservatives: The Political Thought of Francis Lieber and John W. Burgess, New York 1951.

Hofstadter, Richard: The Department of History, in: Ralph Gordon Hoxie: A History of the Faculty of Political Science. Columbia University , New York 1955.

Hoxie, Ralph Gordon: John W. Burgess, American Scholar, Columbia 1950.

Kraus, Michael /Davis. D. Joyce: The Writing of American History, Norman/OK 1953.

Lingelbach, Gabriele: Klio macht Karriere. Die Institutionalisierung der Geschichtswissenschaft in Frankreich und den USA in der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts (Veröffentlichungen des Max-Planck-Institutes für Geschichte 181), Berlin 2003.

Loewenberg , Bert James: American History in American Thought: Christopher Columbus to Henry Adams, New York 1972, S. 346-362.

Loewenberg, Bert James: John William Burgess, the Scientific Method, and the Hegelian Philosophy of History, in: Mississippi Valley Historical Review 42 (1955), S. 490-509.

Novick, Peter: That Noble Dream. The "Objectivity Question" and the American Historical Profession, Cambridge u. a. 1998.

Shepard, William R.: John William Burgess, in: Howard W. Odum (Hg.): American Masters of Social Science: An Approach to the Study of the Social Sciences Through a Neglected Field of Biography , New York 1927, S. 23-57.

Somit, Albert/Joseph Tanenhaus: The Development of American Political Science. From Burgess to Behavioralism, New York 1982.



a) Quellen


Recent Changes in American Constitutional Theory


Auszug aus dem Werk
Anbieter: Jon Roland, Constitution Society (private Organisation).


b) Sekundärinformationen




Leben und Werk von Burgess
Anbieter: Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia.




Angaben zu Leben und Werk
Anbieter: Homepage der Burgess-Familie


Sarah-Leonie Kaufhold 



Erstellt: 09.03.2006

Zuletzt geändert: 26.07.2013

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