Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
History of Political Science
John G. Gunnell
The idea of politics as a subject of science is as old as Aristotle, but, as Bernard Crick stressed, political science as a distinct academic discipline and branch of social science originated as a uniquely American invention. Although there were, in many respects, functionally equivalent studies of politics in other countries, the history of political science, from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, was primarily a story of the “American science of politics.” Notwithstanding its universal scientific aspirations, its emigration, and export to other countries, especially subsequent to World War II, and the waves of foreign influence that have at times significantly contributed to shaping the field, political science has borne a unique relationship to American political life and to American democratic ideology. Although the history of the discipline could be written from many perspectives, an important dimension of that history is the democratic narrative. The field has always ...