The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

"The Primacy of Domestic Policy: A Critique of Hans Morgenthau" by Paul Rahe

Wed, October 16, 2013 | UNB Eastwoods Room (2.102)

12:15 PM - 1:30 PM

Sixty-five years ago, Hans J. Morgenthau published a weighty tome, entitled Politics Among Nations, that took the American academy by storm. For many years, it was the standard textbook for political science courses in international relations. To this day, it arguably defines the field. In Paul Rahe's lecture, he proposes to challenge Morgenthau’s hypothesis and to argue that the “realism” that he espoused is really a species of utopianism, which – to the degree that it abstracts from regime difference and ignores regime imperatives – misleads statesman about what they can expect to accomplish and what they can anticipate on the part of other nations.

Speaker's bio: Paul A. Rahe holds The Charles O. Lee and Louise K. Lee Chair in Western Heritage at Hillsdale College, where he is Professor of History. He majored in History, the Arts and Letters at Yale University, read Litterae Humaniores at Oxford University’s Wadham College on a Rhodes Scholarship, and then returned to Yale to do his Ph.D. in ancient Greek history under the direction of Donald Kagan. He is the author of Republics Ancient and Modern: Classical Republicanism and the American Revolution (1992) and of Against Throne and Altar: Machiavelli and Political Theory under the English Republic (2008), co-editor of Montesquieu’s Science of Politics: Essays on the Spirit of Laws (2001), and editor of Machiavelli’s Liberal Republican Legacy (2006). In 2009, Professor Rahe published two books: Montesquieu and the Logic of Liberty: War, Religion, Commerce, Climate, Terrain, Technology, Uneasiness of Mind, the Spirit of Political Vigilance, and the Foundations of the Modern Republic, and Soft Despotism, Democracy’s Drift: Montesquieu, Rousseau, Tocqueville, and the Modern Prospect. He has recently finished in draft a history of early Sparta, tentatively entitled The Grand Strategy of Classical Sparta: The Persian Challenge, and he is a frequent contributor on contemporary politics and culture to the website Ricochet. He can also be found at

Bookmark and Share