Political Science was introduced in 1889 as an elective in the senior year. In earlier times the annual catalogues listed Vattel’s Law of Nations as one of the textbooks studied in the senior year in 1824 and 1825. Later Jeremiah Lewis Diman, professor of history and political economy from 1864 to 1880, included Roman, international, and constitutional law in his history course. Elisha Benjamin Andrews, who succeeded Diman, included in his courses the constitutional government of the United State and Great Britain, the diplomatic history of the United States, and Roman and international law. In 1888 John Franklin Jameson replaced Andrews with the title of professor of history and political science. The two course offerings in 1889 were, in the first term, “The Constitutions of European and American States, together with a history of their internal politics during recent years,” and, in the second term, “History of Law, and International Law, together with the history of the external relations of European and American States during recent years.” In 1889-90 the senior class heard a series of lectures on law by local lawyers. In 1891 the department was expanded to include history, political science, and social science with George Grafton Wilson, newly-appointed associate professor of political and social science. The next year Political and Social Science became a separate department under Wilson. A course in law was introduced in 1893. For several years beginning in 1894 two law courses were conducted by young graduates of the University, one in elementary law by Elmer Almy Wilcox 1891 and one in Roman law by Theodore Francis Green 1887. Green taught until 1897. The course in elementary law was taken over by Chester W. Barrows from 1899 until 1903, and then taught by William W. Moss until 1904, when the course, which had become a pre-law school course, was discontinued. A course in political theory was introduced in 1893, followed by a course in diplomacy in 1894-95, one in current political theory and practice in 1895-96, and one in municipal functions in 1897. In 1896-97, when constitutional revision came up in Rhode Island, one course became a mock convention to design a constitution for the state. A course on “The State” became part of a composite course in economics, political, and social science in 1898. In 1900 the annexation of the Philippines brought about a course in colonial administration. There were other courses on Latin-American republics, Constitutional law, and political parties. In 1907 the course, “Investigation of special topics,” was given in connections with the Legislative Reference Bureau of the State Library.
James Quayle Dealey, who began teaching at Brown in 1895, was head of the Department of Political and Social Science from 1910 to 1928. Dealey’s teaching was mostly in sociology, while John Corliss Dunning, assistant professor from 1912 to 1926, taught only political science. In those years there were courses in international relations and foreign governments, and other specialties, such as Sea Power (offered only in 1919), Business Law in 1919, American Foreign Policies in 1921, Corporation Law in 1922, and State Government in 1925. Matthew C. Mitchell joined the department in 1926, succeeded Dealey as chairman in 1928, and continued as chairman of the Department of Political and Social Science until 1947, and thereafter as chairman of the separate Department of Political Science. Leland M. Goodrich, who was instructor in political science in 1922-23, returned as assistant professor in 1926, became head of the department in 1949, and left for Columbia in 1950. Guy Dodge became chairman in 1950 and added to the department Whitney Perkins in 1953, Elmer Cornwell in 1955, and Lea Williams in 1956, Elliot Goodman, who was an intern in the department in 1955, became instructor in 1956 and assistant professor in 1958. Erwin C. Hargrove came in 1960, and C. Peter Magrath a year later. Elmer Cornwell became department chairman in 1962. There were many changes in the late 1960s. Departmental courses were regrouped into the areas of Western institutions, international politics, political theory, and non-Western institutions. The department expanded as a result of the establishment in 1965 of the East Asia Language and Area Center, with Lea Williams as director. This brought three new faculty members to the department, Jerome Grieder ’54 to teach modern Chinese history, King Chen to teach a course in the international relations of Communist China, and in 1966 Ying-mao Kau, a student of Chinese Communist government and social policy. African studies expanded with the arrival of Newell Stultz in 1965. Lyman Kirkpatrick also came in 1965, resigning after eighteen years with the Central Intelligence Agency. At the CIA his latest appointment had been Executive Director/Controller, the number three position in the organization. Edward N. Beiser, who came in 1968, an expert in public law, was instrumental in the founding in 1977 of the Center for Law and Liberal Education, of which he became the director. Thomas Anton, first holder of a named chair in the department, came in 1983 as the A. Alfred Taubman Professor of American Institutions. Nancy L. Rosenblum was in 1979 the first woman to join the department.
Chairpersons after Cornwell have been Erwin C. Hargrove, Newell M. Stultz, Eric A. Nordlinger, Roger W. Cobb, and Nancy L. Rosenblum. Studies for the doctorate in political science were temporarily discontinued in 1975, but reinstated in 1987. In the 1980s the department added seven new professors and changed its emphasis to public policy.