Plato was a philosopher in Classical Greece and the founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He is widely considered the most pivotal figure in the development of philosophy, especially the Western tradition. Unlike nearly all of his philosophical contemporaries, Plato's entire work is believed to have survived intact for over 2,400 years. Along with his teacher, Socrates, and his most famous student, Aristotle, Plato laid the very foundations of Western philosophy and science.
Thucydides was a Athenian historian and general. His "History of the Peloponnesian War" recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC. Thucydides has been dubbed the father of "scientific history" because of his strict standards of evidence-gathering and analysis of cause and effect without reference to intervention by the gods, as outlined in his introduction to his work.
Niccolò Machiavelli, or more formally Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, was an Italian Renaissance historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist, and writer. He has often been called the founder of modern political science. He was for many years a senior official in the Florentine Republic, with responsibilities in diplomatic and military affairs. He also wrote comedies, carnival songs, and poetry. His personal correspondence is renowned in the Italian language. He was secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence from 1498 to 1512, when the Medici were out of power. He wrote his most renowned work The Prince (Il Principe) in 1513.
John Locke was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as the "Father of Liberalism". His work greatly affected the development of epistemology and political philosophy. His writings influenced Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries. His contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the United States Declaration of Independence.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Francophone Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of the 18th century. His political philosophy influenced the Enlightenment in France and across Europe, as well as aspects of the French Revolution and the overall development of modern political and educational thought.
Edmund Burke was an Irish statesman born in Dublin, as well as an author, orator, political theorist, and philosopher who, after moving to London, served as a member of parliament (MP) for many years in the House of Commons with the Whig Party. Burke is remembered mainly for his support of the cause of the American Revolutionaries, Catholic emancipation, and for his later opposition to the French Revolution, the latter leading to his becoming the leading figure within the conservative faction of the Whig Party. In the nineteenth century Burke was praised by both conservatives and liberals. Subsequently, in the twentieth century, he became widely regarded as the philosophical founder of modern conservatism.
Thomas Paine was an English-American political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary. One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, he authored the two most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, and he inspired the rebels in 1776 to declare independence from Britain.
James Madison, Jr., was an American statesman and Founding Father who served as the fourth President of the United States from 1809 to 1817. He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
John Jay was an American statesman, Patriot, diplomat, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, signatory of the Treaty of Paris, and first Chief Justice of the United States (1789–95).
Alexander Hamilton was an American statesman and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was an influential interpreter and promoter of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the founder of the nation's financial system, the Federalist Party, the United States Coast Guard, and The New York Post newspaper.
Alexis Charles Henri Clérel, Viscount de Tocqueville was a French diplomat, political scientist, and historian. He was best known for his works "Democracy in America" (appearing in two volumes: 1835 and 1840) and "The Old Regime and the Revolution" (1856). In both he analyzed the improved living standards and social conditions of individuals, as well as their relationship to the market and state in Western societies. "Democracy in America" was published after Tocqueville's travels in the United States and is today considered an early work of sociology and political science.
Karl Marx was a German-born scientist, philosopher, economist, sociologist, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. Marx spent much of his life in London, England, where he worked in collaboration with German thinker Friedrich Engels and published various works, the most well-known being the 1848 pamphlet The Communist Manifesto. His work has since influenced subsequent intellectual, economic, and political history. Marx's theories about society, economics and politics—collectively understood as Marxism—hold that human societies develop through class struggle; in capitalism, this manifests itself in the conflict between the ruling classes (known as the bourgeoisie) that control the means of production and working classes (known as the proletariat) that enable these means by selling their labour for wages.
John Stuart Mill was an English philosopher, political economist and civil servant. One of the most influential thinkers in the history of liberalism, he contributed widely to social theory, political theory and political economy. Dubbed "the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century", Mill's conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control.
Frantz Omar Fanon was a Martinique born Afro-Caribbean psychiatrist, philosoper, revolutionary, and writer whose works are influential in the fields of post-colonial studies, critical theory, and Marxism. As an intellectual, Fanon was a political radical, Pan-Africanist, and Marxist humanist concerned with the psychopathology of colonization, and the human, social, and cultural consequences of decolonization.
Johanna "Hannah" Arendt was a German-born Jewish Americanpolitical theorist. Though often described as a philosopher, she rejected that label on the grounds that philosophy is concerned with "man in the singular" and instead described herself as a political theorist because her work centers on the fact that "men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world." She escaped Europe during the Holocaust, becoming an American citizen. Her works deal with the nature of power and the subjects of politics, direct democracy, authority, and totalitarianism.