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Other Social and Behavioral Sciences | Political Science | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


Written for the annual meeting on the theme of the “Impact of Ideas on National Survival,” University Professors for Academic Order, Westgate Hotel, San Diego, CA. Research done under a Wilbur Foundation grant.


If Francis Lieber (1798-1872) had been a tinkerer, like Thomas Alva Edison or George Westinghouse, he might be remembered today for patenting a great variety of inventions. Yet he was an innovator in several fields. His active concerns as a political economist, scholar, and writer ranged through the industrial as well as the liberal arts. Lieber was an early advocate of an international copyright. He urged Congress to establish an office of statistics to aid scientific research. Later he took a lead in military and legal reform, drafting the first formal code of military conduct, which predated and influenced both the Hague and Geneva conventions. His contributions to international law were later publicly acknowledged by Elihu Root, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.