Woodrow Wilson’s Administrative Thought and German Political Theory


Christian Rosser has studied contemporary history, political science, and English literature at the University of Berne, Switzerland, where he is now working toward his doctorate in political science. His research interests include political theory in general and the history of administrative ideas of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in particular. His doctoral research focuses on the transfer of administrative knowledge between the United States, France, and Germany.


To what extent were Woodrow Wilson’s ideas about public administration informed by German organic political theory? Drawing on the writings of Wilson, Lorenz von Stein, and Johann K. Bluntschli on public administration, and comparing American and German primary sources, the author offers insights into Wilson’s general concept of public administration, as well as his understanding of the politics–administration dichotomy. With regard to current administrative research, this study underscores how the transfer of ideas profoundly contributes to advancing comparative public administration and helps clarify terminological difficulties and conflicting perspectives among diverse administrative science traditions.