Symposium: Samuel Huntington, 1927-2008

Historians in the News

When Samuel P. Huntington and Warren Demian Manshel cofounded Foreign Policy in 1970, their explicit goal was to attack entrenched orthodoxies in the Washington debate. They promised a journal that would be “serious but not scholarly, lively but not glib, and critical without being negative.”

Huntington passed away on December 24, grandly and rightly praised as one of the world’s most influential thinkers. His long career as an intellectual impresario was less well known: With his fertile mind and boundless energy, Huntington produced not only groundbreaking books and articles but also an amazing array of academic and editorial initiatives, of which this magazine is only one example.

To mark this legacy, we could think of no better way to pay homage to this intellectual giant than to discuss his ideas. We asked a group of respected scholars—some his former students, some his sparring partners—to share their thoughts on the man and his lasting work. In keeping with Huntington’s own tradition of free-wheeling intellectual debate, we asked them to highlight both those ideas of his they admired and also those with which they disagreed. We’ve included their tributes—with the full text here.

As many of our colleagues have noted, Huntington was at heart a contrarian whose first instinct was to be deeply suspicious of the conventional wisdom. His great skill was in showing how such wisdom was often wrong, and at times even dangerous. We at FP have tried to continue this tradition. For showing us the way—and for his many other contributions—this magazine is one of the many grateful institutions that will miss him....

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