Seymour Martin Lipset

America Is as Different From Canada as Revolution Is From Counter-Revolution

Seymour Martin Lipset (March 18, 1922 – December 31, 2006)

Was an American political sociologist, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and the Hazel Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University. His major work was in the fields of political sociology, trade union organization, social stratification, public opinion, and the sociology of intellectual life. He also wrote extensively about the conditions for democracy in comparative perspective.


Early Life and Education


Lipset was born in Harlem, New York City, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants.[2] His family urged him to become a dentist.[1] He graduated from City College of New York, where he was an anti-Stalinist leftist,[2] and later became National Chairman of the Young People's Socialist League. He received a doctorate in sociology from Columbia University in 1949. Before that he taught at the University of Toronto.


Academic Career


Lipset was the Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science and Sociology at Stanford University from 1975 to 1990, and then became the George D. Markham Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University. He also taught at Columbia University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Toronto.

Lipset was a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He was the only person to have been President of both the American Political Science Association (1979–80) and the American Sociological Association (1992–93).[1] He also served as the President of the International Society of Political Psychology, the Sociological Research Association, the World Association for Public Opinion Research, the Society for Comparative Research, and the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Society in Vienna.

Besides making substantial contributions to cleavage theory, with his partner Stein Rokkan, Lipset was one of the first proponents of the "theory of modernization", which holds that democracy is the direct result of economic growth, and that “[t]he more well-to-do a nation, the greater the chances that it will sustain democracy.”[3]

Lipset received the MacIver Prize for Political Man (1960) and, in 1970, the Gunnar Myrdal Prize for The Politics of Unreason.

In 2001, Lipset was named among the top 100 American intellectuals, as measured by academic citations, in Richard Posner's book, Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline.



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