George Ticknor’s Progress of Politicks (1816): An American Reception of German Comparative Constitutional Thought
24 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2017
Date Written: September 5, 2017
George Ticknor (1791-1871) was a famous American educator, reformer, and public intellectual. After a brief legal career he moved to Germany to obtain the best possible education in the humanities, and take his knowledge and ideas for educational reform back to the young United States with him. His unpublished notebooks reveal that like many of his peers, such as John Quincy Adams, George Bancroft, or Edward Everett, Ticknor was also fascinated by German constitutional theory and history, their connection to politics and human geography, and the forerunners of German legal science. Throughout his life, Ticknor revised his notes and drew on them in his teaching. Progress of Politicks, one of the notebooks, is transcribed and edited here to offer new insights into German and American mutual perceptions, self-perceptions and exchange, legal education, and the origins of legal science in both Germany and the United States.
Keywords: George Ticknor, German-American relations, comparative constitutional history, legal science, legal education, Göttingen School of History
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