Frank Johnson Goodnow

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Frank Johnson Goodnow
Frank Johnson Goodnow.png

Born January 18, 1859
Brooklyn, New York
Died November 15, 1939
Baltimore, Maryland[1]
Spouse Elizabeth Buchanan[2]

Frank Johnson Goodnow (January 18, 1859 - November 15, 1939) was an economist, educator, and leading[3] progressive theorist and pioneer in the emerging field of administrative law who started to make his own contributions to the Progressive movement in the last decade of the 19th century.[4]

Early life

Goodnow was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1859,[5] the son of Abel F. and Jane M. (Root) Goodnow.[6] His family descended from Thomas Goodnow, who came from Shasbury, England, in 1638, and settled in Massachusetts. His father was a successful manufacturer near Worcester, Massachusetts, and after his retirement from business settled in Brooklyn, New York, where he was identified with the development of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences.[7] At a young age, he was educated in private schools.[6] He graduated from Amherst College in 1879 and at law school 1882. He and took post-graduate studies at Columbia University and spent some time in the law office of Judge Dillon, in New York.[7] Shortly after, he studied overseas in Germany at the University of Berlin, and in Paris at the École Libre des Sciences Politiques.[8]

He was admitted to the New York Bar on graduation in 1882.[6]


In 1883 he became instructor in history and lecturer on the administrative law of the United States, at Columbia University. He was adjunct professor of the same during 1887-91, professor of administrative law during 1891-1903,[9] Eaton professor of administrative law and political science in 1903, and acting dean of political science in 1906—07.[7] He was appointed as the third[7] president of Johns Hopkins University‎ from October 1914 - June 1929.[10]

He was the first president of the American Political Science Association, and he was a member of the American Economic Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the Cosmos Club of Washington, D. C., the Peking Club of Peking, the Century, University and City clubs of New York, the Maryland and Baltimore clubs of Baltimore. The degree of LL.D. was conferred upon him by Amherst in 1897, Columbia in 1904, Harvard in 1909, and Brown in 1914.[7]


In addition to his work at the university, Dr. Goodnow held many important outside appointments. Throughout his career, Goodnow built up a solid reputation as one of the best known authorities[9] on constitutional, administrative, and municipal law, and he was a frequent adviser in the legislative councils of New York State.[3] Along with Woodrow Wilson, Goodnow was an early pioneer of administration separated from constitutional restraints. His most in depth work pertaining to administration is his 1900 book Politics and Administration.[11]

For several years he was interested, through the City Club of New York, in drafting and proposing new legislation for the improvement of the condition of the poor, for overcoming congestion of population and for child welfare. Governor Roosevelt appointed him[7] a member of the New York Charter Revision Committee(1900-1901), and he went to England in 1906 as a member of the National Civic Federation to report on the question of municipal ownership of public utilities. In 1910 he was a representative of the U. S. government to the convention on administrative science, held at the Brussels Exposition. He was a member of Pres. Taft's Economy and Efficiency Commission in 1911-12, and made an exhaustive investigation of certain of the government departments for the purpose of instituting modern business methods. He was also a member of the Association Bar of the of City of New York.[6]

His reputation as an authority on government administration led to his appointment, in 1913, as expert legal advisor to the Republic of China for a term of three years and, at the request of Yuan Shih Kai, he aided in drafting the new Chinese Constitution.[7] Yuan Shih Kai later proclaimed himself the Emperor of China, with Goodnow's approval.[12]


Source of Rights

Goodnow believed that rights were endowed upon the individual by the society to which he or she belonged, not not by his Creator.[13]


He was editor of:

  • Selected Cases on the Law of Taxation (1905)
  • Selected Cases on Government and Administration (1906)
  • Selected Cases on the Law of Officers (1906)
  • Municipal Government (1910)
  • Social Reform and the Constitution (1911)

Frank J. Goodnow Award

The American Political Science Association has since 1996 awarded the Frank J. Goodnow award[14] to honor service to the community of teachers, researchers, and public servants who work in the many fields of politics.

See also


External links