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How did behavioralism, one of the most influential approaches to the academic study of politics in the twentieth century, become so prominent so quickly? I argue that many political scientists have either understated or ignored how the Ford Foundation's Behavioral Sciences Program gave form to behavioralism, accelerated its rise, and helped root it in political science. I then draw on archived documents from Ford as well as one of its major grantees, U. C. Berkeley, to present several examples of how Ford used its funds to encourage the behavioral approach at a time when it had few adherents among political scientists.