Top 19 Famous Political Scientists That You Should Know

Top 19 Famous Political Scientists That You Should Know

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To celebrate scientists and scientific advancements, we have collected a list of the most famous political scientists that will inspire us for the greater good.

One of my favorite places in school was the political science department. There is something so intriguing about how we choose our elected officials and influence how they govern us. We also learned quite a bit about international political economy, elections, political campaigns, and other topics.

Political scientists are renowned for their ideas and theories on various subjects, from what makes an ideal president to how U.S. presidents should carry out their duties. These high-profile figures shape public opinion and help define the world’s most critical issues and debates through their writing and commentary.

Let’s talk a look at some of the notable political scientists. This list is the product of intense research. We searched the internet for information on political scientists and what makes them famous. 

Table of Contents

Famous Political Scientists

#19. Samantha Power (1970-present): The US Administrator Who is An Expert in Social Sciences

Famous Political Scientists : Credits: Harper's Bazaar 
Credits: Harper’s Bazaar 

What makes Samantha Power famous?

Samantha Power is not your typical diplomat. She’s a diplomat who also happens to be a journalist. And this duality has made her one of the world’s most influential and powerful people.

Power is best known for her contributions as an advisor to former US President Barack Obama. As US ambassador to the United Nations, she focused on many issues such as women’s rights, human trafficking, LGBT rights, democracy, and climate change. 

Samantha Power published A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide which won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize. She was also featured in the Watchers of the Sky documentary for her notable contribution to genocide prevention.

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#18. Harold Joseph Laski (1893-1950): The Man Who Popularized Trade Unions in Britain 

Famous Political Scientists : Credits: Spartacus Educational 
Credits: Spartacus Educational 

What makes Harold Joseph Laski famous?

Harold Joseph Laski is one of the most colorful characters in the history of economic thought. Born in 1893 in Manchester, England, he was a socialist who believed that workers should be able to control their own destinies. 

As a trade unionist and political activist, he advocated for a revolution against capitalism and called for workers’ control over industry. Laski believed that if workers were given control over their workplaces, they could end unemployment and poverty within a few years. 

He also believed that trade unions would help workers gain power over employers’ interests by organizing strikes and boycotts against companies that did not respect their rights as employees or customers.

Laski supported the creation of a Zionist state in Palestine that would provide refuge for Jews fleeing persecution in Europe. 

[Source:  Encyclopedia Britannica]

#17. Kristian Skrede Gleditsch (1971-present): One of Norwegian’s Greatest Thinkers of All Time

Famous Political Scientists : Credits: University of Essex
Credits: University of Essex

What makes Kristin Skrede Gleditsch famous?

Kristin Skrede Gleditsch is a Norwegian professor of political science. He specializes in peace research and international politics. Gleditsch has also written extensively on democratization, non-violent mobilization, and conflict.

He received many honors and awards, including the Helen Dwight Reid Award for his work in 1998. Gleditsch also served in American Political Science Association.

[Source: University of Essex]

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#16. Arnold Brecht (1884-1977): Author of Political Theory

Famous Political Scientists : Credits: Wikipedia 
Credits: Wikipedia 

What makes Arnold Brecht famous?

What do you get when you cross a political scientist with a historian? You get Arnold Brecht, born in 1884 in Lubeck, Germany.

He served in the Weimar Republic before Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party rose to power, and he was exiled to the United States, where he later specialized in foreign affairs.

Other than proposing Brecht’s law, he wrote many books on political science, including Prelude to Justice (1944), Political Theory (1959), and The Political Philosophy of Arnold Brecht (1954).

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#15. John Mearsheimer (1947-present): The Foremost Expert in International Relations 

Famous Political Scientists : Credits: New Statesman 
Credits: New Statesman 

What makes John Mearsheimer famous?

John Mearsheimer is a political scientist and professor of international relations at the University of Chicago. He’s best known for his work on offensive realism, an international relations theory that states will behave aggressively toward competitors because they need to secure their own security.

He wrote The Israel Lobby and U.S Foreign Policy (with Stephen Walt), which argues that the U.S.’s support for Israel has encouraged it to pursue policies harmful to its interests, such as supporting settlement expansion in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

[Source: John J. Mearsheimer]

#14. Axel Brusewitz (1881-1950): The Man Who Wrote A Constitution For Sweden

Famous Political Scientists : Credits: Wikipedia 
Credits: Wikipedia 

What makes Axel Brusewitz famous?

Axel Brusewitz is one of the most important political scientists in history. He was born in 1981 in Sweden. Brusewitz specialized in constitutional history. 

He is the author of several books, including “The Swedish Constitution 1809,” which is considered a classic.

Brusewitz also mentored many other political scientists, including Gunnar Heckscher, who later became a party leader. His belief in democracy and his works have made him an inspiration to many people around the world.

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

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#13. Leonard Dupee White (1891-1958): Political Scientist & Writer

Famous Political Scientists : Credits: University of Chicago 
Credits: University of Chicago 

What makes Leonardo Dupee White famous?

The American historian and political scientist Leonard Dupee White is a name you might not know, but he is an important figure in American history. He was born in 1891 in Acton, Massachusetts, and was a professor of public administration at the University of Chicago.

White’s career was focused on the study of the administrations of the United States since its founding in 1776. He described how these administrations had changed over time to help us better understand how American political institutions evolved over time.

In his book Introduction to the Study of Public Administration in 1926, White laid out his goals for studying public administration. This text was influential in Us public administration studies. 

Leonard D. White was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for History a year after his death (1959).

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#12. Stephen Walt (1955-present): An Expert in Foreign Affairs 

Famous Political Scientists : Credits: Globsec
Credits: Globsec

What makes Stephen Walt famous?

Stephen Walt is an American political scientist who specializes in international relations. He currently teaches at Harvard University’s Kennedy School.

Walt has contributed to international relations by proposing the balance of threat concept. This theory states that there are two sides to every conflict. One wants to reach an agreement with their opponent, and another seeks out conflict to advance their own goals. 

This concept applies to situations where two groups are fighting over something or someone else.

Walt’s most notable contribution is his authorship of Revolution and War, in which they discuss how civil wars are caused by structural factors like poverty, inequality, and ethnic tension. This book introduced a new way of thinking about how these conflicts happen.

He wrote Origins of Alliances, The Israel Lobby and U.S Foreign Policy (with John Mearsheimer), and Taming American Power.

What’s the best Stephen Walt quote?

“The thing that makes countries want to pursue some kind of nuclear deterrent is precisely the fact that they feel threatened.”

[Source: Harvard University]

#11. Benedict Anderson (1936-2015): The Author of Imagined Communities

Famous Political Scientists : Credits: PIT Journal 
Credits: PIT Journal 

What makes Benedict Anderson famous?

Benedict Anderson was a legend in his own time. He’s a Chinese-born Irish historian and political scientist who is known for his 1983 work Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism.

This book details how nationalism began as an idea and spread to different groups around Europe and Asia. It also explores nationalism’s origins in Europe, with special attention paid to Ireland.

Anderson argues that nationalism begins when people from different ethnic backgrounds come together in communities that are imagined as being one nation. 

These “imagined communities” create their own sense of identity and pride, which can lead to conflict with other groups if they feel threatened by them or their power.

What’s the best Benedict Anderson quote?

“The ideal way to start interesting research, at least in my view, is to depart from a problem or question to which you do not know the answer.”

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

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#10. Alina Mungiu-Pippidi (1964-present): The Woman Who Have Unique Ways of Stopping Bad Governance 

Famous Political Scientists : Credits: Hertie School
Credits: Hertie School

What makes Alina Mungiu-Pippidi famous?

Alina Mungiu-Pippidi is a Romanian journalist and political scientist who has spent a lifetime advocating for the market economy. 

She has written many books and articles on various subjects, including electoral behavior, corruption, and nationalism. Her books promote good governance and help us fight corruption.

Mungiu-Pippidi’s research has been cited over 5000 times by other scholars on Google Scholar. Therefore, she holds the title of the most cited Romanian political scientist.

[Source: Hertie School]

#9. Hannah Arendt (1906-1975): The Holocaust Survivor Who Became An Expert in Political Science

Famous Political Scientists : Credits: IAI TV
Credits: IAI TV

What makes Hannah Arendt famous?

Hannah Arendt, born in Germany in 1906, is widely regarded as one of the most influential political philosophers of the 20th century. She married Günther Stern in 1929, but soon faced increasing discrimination as a Jewish woman in 1930s Nazi Germany. Despite this, she managed to survive the Holocaust.

Arendt’s seminal work, The Origins of Totalitarianism, published in 1951, explored the rise of totalitarian leaders such as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, and the mechanisms they employed to gain and maintain power through violence. This book was met with great acclaim and remains a widely read and studied work today.

In addition to The Origins of Totalitarianism, Arendt’s other notable works include Eichmann in Jerusalem, On Revolution, and The Human Condition. These works delve into important themes such as direct democracy, the nature of power, the concept of evil, the role of authority, and the politics of human existence.

What’s the best Hannah Arendt quote?

“The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.

[Source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy]

#8. Samuel P. Huntington (1927-2008): Famous For The Clash of Civilizations Theory

Famous Political Scientists : Credits: Wikipedia 
Credits: Wikipedia 

What makes Samuel P. Huntington famous?

Samuel P. Huntington was an American political scientist, historian, and adviser born in New York City.

He is known for proposing the Clash of Civilizations theory in 1993, which proposes that global conflicts are not just caused by economic or political factors but also by cultural differences between groups. 

Huntington promoted the understanding of political development, comparative government, and civilian-military relations in the country through his works.

What’s the best Samuel P. Huntington quote?

” Expectations should not always be taken as reality; because you never know when you will be disappointed.”

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

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#7. Raymond Aron (1905-1983): France’s Greatest Liberal Political Thinker of The 20th Century 

Famous Political Scientists : Credits: Medium
Credits: Medium

What makes Raymond Aron famous?

It’s not always easy to find the words to describe a person who is so influential in the world today. But if we need a few examples, we can look to the French philosopher, sociologist, and political scientist Raymond Aron.

Born in France, Raymond Aron was a conservative liberal who spent his life trying to understand the world around him. His 1955 book The Opium of the Intellectuals is one of his many works, but it was his best-known work as a political scientist.

Aron’s work focused on how societies work and how outside forces influence them. He believed that people could change societies with different ideas and beliefs. In this way, he was an early advocate for democracy and freedom as critical ingredients for a successful society.

What’s the best Raymond Aron quote?

“The intellectual who no longer feels attached to anything is not satisfied with opinion merely; he wants certainty, he wants a system. The revolution provides him with opium.

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#6. Donald Green (1961-present): The Foremost Expert in The Science of Elections 

Famous Political Scientists : Credits: The Cut
Credits: The Cut

What makes David Green famous?

For most of us, Donald Green is the man who studies hate crimes. But he’s also an American political scientist who has written four books on partisanship, voter behavior, campaign finance, and research methods.

Green’s most famous book is Get Out The Vote: How to Increase Voter Turnout. It is a comprehensive look at how campaigns can use digital technology to increase voter turnout without spending money on advertising

[Source: Daniel P. Green]

#5. Jean Blondel (1929-present): The Man Who is Honored With The Jean Blondel Ph.D. Prize in Political Science 

Famous Political Scientists : Credits: Twitter
Credits: Twitter

What makes Jean Blondel famous?

Jean Blondel is a French political scientist who has been studying political systems for nearly 70 years. He is a professor at Florence’s European University Institute.

Blondel is known for his comparative politics that have contributed to our understanding of party systems, cabinets, and governments, particularly his work on the relationship between cabinets and parties.

He noticed that while some countries had stable party systems, others experienced frequent changes. He also noticed that many of these changes were based on alliances between the two major parties—a phenomenon called bipolarization.

[Source: European University Institute]

#4. Emily Greene Balch (1867-1961): The Nobel Laureate 

Famous Political Scientists : Credits: The Famous People 
Credits: The Famous People 

What makes Emily Greene Balch famous?

Emily Greene Balch was an American sociologist, pacifist, and economist who made significant contributions to the field of sociology. She is best known for her work on social issues such as child labor and poverty.

Balch was a key figure in the International League For Peace and Freedom, an organization that sought to promote peace through international cooperation. She won the 1946 Nobel Prize for her contributions to this movement.

What’s the best Emily Greene Balch quote?

” Human nature seems to me like the Alps. The depths are profound, black as night, and terrifying, but the heights are equally real, uplifted in the sunshine.”

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#3. Adam Smith (1723-1790): The Father of Economics

Famous Political Scientists : Credits: The Guardian 
Credits: The Guardian 

What makes Adam Smith famous?

Adam Smith remains one of the most influential economists in history. His work heavily influenced the development of modern economics.

Smith was born in Scotland in 1723, and he died in 1790. He is known for his seminal work “The Wealth of Nations,” which introduced the absolute advantage principle and helped pioneer political economy in Scotland and globally. 

His work during the Scottish enlightenment helped pioneer political economy worldwide. Smith’s ideas were also revolutionary. They gave way to free market economies, which are based on supply and demand rather than government intervention or regulation. 

He also pioneered division of labor, whereby producers specialize in different areas based on their unique skill sets so that they can produce more efficiently with fewer inputs.

What is the best Adam Smith quote?

“What can be added to the happiness of the man who is in health, who is out of debt, and has a clear conscience?

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#2. Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778): The Philosopher Who Influenced The French Revolution 

Famous Political Scientists : Credits: The Famous People
Credits: The Famous People

What makes Jean-Jacques Rousseau famous?

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a French writer, philosopher, and political theorist. He was known for his revolutionary political philosophy, which he formulated in his works.

The Social Contract is a treatise on the origin of government. He argued that all people were born equal but were subject to being ruled by others because of physical differences or other factors such as wealth or status.

In his Discourse On Inequality, Rousseau describes how man’s natural condition is one that is dominated by inequality. 

He argues that inequality is natural because it is derived from human nature which cannot be changed. Therefore, we must accept social classes so long as they are based solely upon merit rather than birthright status (namely nobility).

Rousseau is also credited with pioneering educational systems that would later become the basis for modern schooling. He influenced the French Revolution and the age of enlightenment in Europe. 

Rousseau also worked on a constitutional project for both Poland and Corsica, where he emphasized on the general will as opposed to America’s general welfare concept.

His books remain some of the most influential works in political thought during the Enlightenment period.

What’s the best Jean-Jacques Rousseau quote?

” Freedom is the power to choose our own chains.”

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

#1. Karl Marx (1818-1883): The Greatest Thinker of All Time

Famous Political Scientists : Credits: The Conversation 
Credits: The Conversation 

What makes Karl Marx famous?

Karl Marx is a German-born philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary whose ideas were the basis for the modern communist theory. He was born in 1818 in Germany and spent most of his life in exile in England.

Marx was well known for co-authoring The Communist Manifesto with Friedrich Engels in 1848. He also wrote Das Kapital, which has become one of the most influential works ever written on economics. His work led to the development of Marxism as a philosophy and method of political change.

Marx advocated for communism throughout his life. He believed that capitalism had created an economic system that perpetuated poverty and inequality among individuals around the world (especially in Europe). 

His goal was to create a society where all people were equal, so there would be no need for wealth hierarchy or social stratification through any means necessary, including violence or revolution.

What’s the best Karl Marx quote?

“The past lies like a nightmare upon the present.”

[Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

Final Thoughts

Whatever you think about political scientists, it should be clear that these thinkers are not dull. As a matter of fact, their writings and thoughts often have more power than a gun or a bomb. 

These are the minds that have helped shape the world as we know it and will continue to do so in the future.

What did you think of this list? Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments below.

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SJ Tsai
Chief Editor. Writer wrangler. Research guru. Three years at scijournal. Hails from a family with five PhDs. When not shaping content, creates art. Peek at the collection on Etsy. For thoughts and updates, hit up Twitter.

4 thoughts on “Top 19 Famous Political Scientists That You Should Know”

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  1. placing huntington there is a disrespect to all the others, the only way in which he contributed to political science is by placing theories devoured of any sense so others could learn from his stupidity and ignorance


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