Leo Strauss

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Leo Strauss

Leo Strauss was a German-born philosopher. He was raised as an Orthodox Jew, but became an atheist later in life. He fled to the United States when the Nazi party came into power, and became a Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He specialized in the study of classical political philosophy, such as the philosophy of Plato, Aristotle, Niccolò Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, Benedict de Spinoza, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Martin Heidegger.

He has strongly influenced the shape of American Neoconservatism.

Some of Leo Strauss' students include Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, former Assistant Secretary of State Alan Keyes, former Secretary of Education William Bennett, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, political philosopher Allan Bloom, former New York Post editorials editor John Podhoretz, former National Endowment for the Humanities Deputy Chairman John T. Agresto; speech-writer for Barry Goldwater, Harry V. Jaff; former FrontPage Magazine editor, Robert Locke; and Nobel Prize winning novelist Saul Bellow.

Followers of Leo Strauss usually call themselves Straussians and have played a major role in introducing conservative ideas into political science.

Leo Strauss was a vigorous anti-globalist, writing in his book Natural Right and History, that "no human being and no group of human beings can rule the whole of the human race justly."

Some of Leo Strauss' main ideas were later popularized in Allan Bloom's influential book The Closing Of The American Mind.

Strauss contended that Martin Heidegger, building on the thoughts of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, was "the thinker of our age". "The great achievement of Heidegger was the coherent exposition of the experience of Existenz... Kierkegaard had spoken of existence but within the traditional horizon... Heidegger tried to understand existence out of itself."[1]


  • Spinoza’s Critique of Religion (1965)
  • Philosophy and Law (1995)
  • The Political Philosophy of Hobbes: Its Basis and Its Genesis (1936)
  • The Spirit of Sparta or the Taste of Xenophon (1939)
  • On a New Interpretation of Plato’s Political Philosophy (1946)
  • On Tyranny: An Interpretation of Xenophon's Hiero (1948)
  • Persecution and the Art of Writing (1952)
  • Natural Right and History (1953)
  • Thoughts on Machiavelli (1958)
  • What is Political Philosophy? (1959)
  • The City and Man (1964)
  • Socrates and Aristophanes (1966)
  • Liberalism Ancient and Modern (1968)
  • Xenophon's Socratic Discourse: An Interpretation of the "Oeconomicus" (1970)
  • Xenophon's Socrates (1972)
  • The Argument and the Action of Plato's LAWS (1975)
  • Studies in Platonic Political Philosophy (1983)
  • The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism: An Introduction to the Thought of Leo Strauss—Essays and Lectures by Leo Strauss (1989)
  • On Plato's Symposium, (2001)
  • Faith and Political Philosophy: the Correspondence Between Leo Strauss and Eric Voegelin, 1934-1964 (1993)
  • Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity: Essays and Lectures in Modern Jewish Thought (1997)


  1. Strauss, Leo. Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism.