Seymour Martin Lipset
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|Seymour Martin Lipset|
March 18, 1922|
New York, USA
|Died||December 31, 2006
Arlington, Virginia, USA
Seymour Martin Lipset (March 18, 1922 – December 31, 2006) was an American political sociologist, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, 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 New York City, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants. He graduated from City College of New York, where he was an anti-Stalinist leftist and later became national chairman of the Young People's Socialist League. He left the Socialist Party in 1960 and described himself as a centrist, deeply influenced by Alexis de Tocqueville, George Washington, Aristotle, and Max Weber. Lipset received a doctorate in sociology from Columbia University in 1949. Before that he taught at the University of Toronto.
Academic career 
He was the Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science and Sociology at Stanford University (1975–1990) and 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 received the MacIver Prize for Political Man (1960) and the Gunnar Myrdal Prize for The Politics of Unreason. His book The First New Nation was a finalist for the National Book Award. He was also awarded the Townsend Harris and Margaret Byrd Dawson Medals for significant achievement, the Northern Telecom-International Council for Canadian Studies Gold Medal, and the Leon Epstein Prize in Comparative Politics by the American Political Science Association. He has received the Marshall Sklare Award for distinction in Jewish studies. In 1997, he was awarded the Helen Dinnerman Prize by the World Association for Public Opinion Research.
Lipset was a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He was the only person to have been president of both the American Sociological Association (1992–93) and the American Political Science Association (1979–80). He also served as the president of the International Society of Political Psychology, the Sociological Research Association, the World Association for Public Opinion Research, and the Society for Comparative Research. He was also the president of the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Society in Vienna.
His publications include American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword (W.W. Norton, 1996) and Continental Divide: The Values and Institutions of the United States and Canada (Routledge, 1990), and with Earl Raab Jews and the New American Scene (Harvard University Press, 1996).
Lipset was active in public affairs on a national level. He was a director of the United States Institute of Peace. He has been a board member of the Albert Shanker Institute, a member of the U.S. Board of Foreign Scholarships, co-chair of the Committee for Labor Law Reform, co-chair of the Committee for an Effective UNESCO, and consultant to the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the American Jewish Committee.
He was president of the American Professors for Peace in the Middle East, chair of the National B'nai B'rith Hillel Commission and the Faculty Advisory Cabinet of the United Jewish Appeal, and cochair of the Executive Committee of the International Center for Peace in the Middle East. He worked for years on seeking solution for the Israeli Palestinian conflict. This was part of his larger project of researching what factor allow societies to sustain stable and peaceful democracies. His work focused on the preconditions to democracy—especially high socioeconomic development--(see also Amartya Sen's work)--and the consequences of democracy for peace.
Lipset's first wife, Elsie, died in 1987. With her, he had three children: David, Daniel, and Cici. David Lipset is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota. In addition to his three children, and six grandchildren, Lipset is survived by his second wife, Sydnee, whom he married in 1990.
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.
“The more well-to-do a nation, the greater the chances that it will sustain democracy.”
"Those who only know one country know no country."
Selected Works 
- Agrarian Socialism: The Cooperative Commonwealth Federation in Saskatchewan, a Study in Political Sociology (1950), ISBN 0-520-02056-1 (1972 printing). online edition
- We'll Go Down to Washington (1951).
- Union Democracy: The Internal Politics of the International Typographical Union with Martin Trow and James S. Coleman.
- Social Mobility in Industrial Society with Reinhard Bendix (1959), ISBN 0-88738-760-8 online edition
- Social Structure and Mobility in Economic Development with Neil J. Smelser (1966), ISBN 0-8290-0910-8 online edition
- Economic Development and Political Legitimacy (1959).
- Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics (1960), ISBN 0-385-06650-3. online edition
- The First New Nation (1963), ISBN 0-393-00911-4 (1980 printing). online edition
- The Berkeley Student Revolt: Facts and Interpretations, edited with Sheldon S. Wolin (1965)
- Party Systems and Voter Alignments. Co-edited with Stein Rokkan (Free Press, 1967)
- Student Politics (1967), ISBN 0-465-08248-3. online edition
- Revolution and Counterrevolution: Change and Persistence in Social Structures, (1968) ISBN 0-88738-694-6 (1988 printing). online version
- Prejudice and Society with Earl Raab.
- The Politics of Unreason: Right Wing Extremism in America, 1790-1970 with Earl Raab (1970), ISBN 0-226-48457-2 (1978 printing). online edition
- The Divided Academy: Professors and Politics with Everett Carl Ladd, Jr. (1975), ISBN 0-07-010112-4. online edition
- The Confidence Gap: Business, Labor, and Government in the Public Mind (1987).
- Continental Divide: The Values and Institutions of the United States and Canada (1989).
- Jews and the New American Scene with Earl Raab (1995).
- American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword (1996).
- It Didn't Happen Here: Why Socialism Failed in the United States with Gary Marks (2001), ISBN 0-393-32254-8.
- The Paradox of American Unionism: Why Americans Like Unions More Than Canadians Do, but Join Much Less with Noah Meltz, Rafael Gomez, and Ivan Katchanovski (2004), ISBN 0-8014-4200-1.
- The Democratic Century with Jason M. Lakin (2004), ISBN 0-8061-3618-9.
- "Steady Work: An Academic Memoir", in Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 22, 1996. online version
- "Economic Development and Democracy"
Charles E. Lindblom
|President of the American Political Science Association
1981 – 1982
William H. Riker
- Metta Spence, "Lipset's Gift to Peace Workers: On Getting and Keeping Democracy
- Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy, Seymour Martin Lipset,The American Political Science Review, Vol. 53, No. 1. (Mar., 1959), pp. 69-105.Stable URL:http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-0554%28195903%2953%3A1%3C69%3ASSRODE%3E2.0.CO%3B2-D
- Biography at the Hoover Institution.
- Booknotes interview with Lipset on American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword, June 23, 1996.
- Obituary in the Washington Post.
- Obituary in the Jerusalem Post.
- Obituary, by Metta Spencer, Peace Magazine, April 2007.
- Seymour Martin Lipset interview with Ben Wattenberg (PBS).
- Seymour Martin Lipset Memorial Website