The Highbrow in American Politics:

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. and the Role of the Intellectual in Politics

by David B. Kopel

This is the home page for a biography of the American historian and political activist Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

The biography was originally written as an Honors Thesis in History, at Brown University, May 1982. The thesis was Awarded Highest Honors, and National Geographic Society Prize for best History thesis.

The text has not been revised, except to fix some spelling errors, and make the footnote format a little simpler. This 2007 edition, in conversion to page format, has entirely changed the page numbering from the original text, which was double-spaced.

All the chapters below are in PDF format.

I hope you enjoy reading about Arthur Schlesinger as much as I enjoyed learning and writing about him. As the thesis concludes, he was a model for the engagement of the intellectual in public life.


Chapter 1. Groomed for History. PDF. Schlesinger's youth, education, and early teaching career.

Chapter 2. The Democratic Process, Part 1. Schlesinger's award-winning The Age of Jackson. Part 2.The Age of Roosevelt.

Chapter 3. The Vital Center. PDF. The founding of liberal anti-communism.


Chapter 4. Liberalism in Retreat. PDF. The 1952 Stevenson campaign for President.

Chapter 5. The New America. PDF. The Eisenhower years, and the disastrous 1956 Stevenson campaign.

Chapter 6. The New Mood in Politics. PDF. The 1960 election.

Chapter 7. Foreign Policy. PDF.

Chapter 8. The Special Assistant. PDF.

Chapter 9. Transitions. PDF. The assassination, Schlesinger in the Johnson administration, and then in the 1964 Robert Kennedy Senate Campaign.

Chapter 10. Making History. PDF. Schlesinger's biographies of the Kennedys.

Chapter 11.In Opposition Again. PDF.

Chapter 12. The 1968 Campaign. PDF. And the epilogue, of Schlesinger in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Chapter 13. Conclusion: Liberals Intellectuals in Politics. PDF.

Bibliography. HTML.

"What primarily interests me is the relationship, in the sphere of politics, between thought and action‑-the course that ideas take as they travel from the mind of a writer, a philosopher, through the mind of a teacher, or perhaps the journalist, and make their way into the mind of the politician or the man of action and become powers modifying social conditions, laws on the statute books, accepted axioms for conduct and judgment."‑ Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

Share this page:

Kopel RSS feed Click the icon to get RSS/XML updates of this website, and of Dave's articles.

Follow Dave on Twitter.

Kopel's Law & Liberty News. Twice-daily web newspaper collecting articles from Kopel and those whom he follows on Twitter.

Author page on Amazon.

Search Kopel website:

Make a donation to support Dave Kopel's work in defense of constitutional rights and public safety.
Donate Now!

Nothing written here is to be construed as necessarily representing the views of the Independence Institute or as an attempt to influence any election or legislative action. Please send comments to Independence Institute, 727 East 16th Ave., Colorado 80203. Phone 303-279-6536. (email) webmngr @

Copyright © 2018