This week, I’ll offer some historical highlights on the current blog forum topic, the divide between law and political science. I’ll rely first on Frank Goodnow (1859-1939) for some thoughts on the relationship between the two disciplines at the turn of the century, a time when there was much less division.
Goodnow, the APSA’s first president, was a member of the
Department of Public Law and Jurisprudence at
In the first presidential address to the APSA in 1904, Goodnow discussed the subject matter of political science, including one of the “most important” subjects, public law. So how would law be studied by political scientists? How would it be different than the study of law by lawyers? According to Goodnow:
Unless we conceive of all law as a part of Political Science, it becomes necessary then to differentiate Political Science from legal science. Strictly speaking, of course all law which does not affect the relations of the State and its officers is to be assigned to legal rather than to Political Science.... But it is none the less true that a knowledge of the private law is necessary to one who would understand the methods and operations of what are known as political bodies. Furthermore, the points of contact between the private and the public law are so many and the contact is often so close that a knowledge of the private law is really necessary to one who would be a sound public lawyer.... Finally, many of the rules of private law are adopted largely because of their influence upon social and political conditions.... For these reasons the American Political Science Association has included among the subjects which are not foreign to it comparative legislation and historical and comparative jurisprudence, whether that legislation or jurisprudence is public or private. It will probably be true, however, that the distinctly private legal subjects will not receive at our hands any very exhaustive treatment.
Tomorrow’s Great Moment: Felix Frankfurter argues for more of a division between law and political science.
(Also, for an earlier discussion on the impact of Pritchett and Legal Realism on the Great Divide, see here.)