The Foreword by Harry J. Hogan
to the second (1979) edition of Carroll Quigley’s
The Evolution of Civilizations: An Introduction to Historical Analysis.
Dr. Hogan, now retired, has been a professor, administrator, and lawyer.
He received his B.A. magna cum laude from Princeton University,
his LL.B. from Columbia Law School, and his Ph.D. in American history
from George Washington University.
His articles have appeared in the American Bar Association Journal,
the Journal of Politics, and other periodicals.
The Evolution of Civilizations
expresses two dimensions of its author, Carroll Quigley, that most extraordinary
historian, philosopher, and teacher. In the first place, its scope is
wide-ranging, covering the whole of man's activities throughout time. Second,
it is analytic, not merely descriptive. It attempts a categorization of man's
activities in sequential fashion so as to provide a causal explanation of the
stages of civilization.
Quigley coupled enormous capacity for work with a peculiarly "scientific"
approach. He believed that it should be possible to examine the data and draw
conclusions. As a boy at the Boston Latin School, his academic interests were
mathematics, physics, and chemistry. Yet during his senior year he was also
associate editor of the Register, the oldest high school paper in the country.
His articles were singled out for national awards by a national committee
headed by George Gallup.
At Harvard, biochemistry was to be his major. But
Harvard, expressing then a belief regarding a well-rounded education to which it
has now returned, required a core curriculum including a course in the
humanities. Quigley chose a history course, "Europe Since the FaIl of Rome."
Always a contrary man, he was graded at the top of his class in physics and
calculus and drew a C in the history course. But the development of ideas began
to assert its fascination for him, so he elected to major in history. He
graduated magna cum laude
as the top history student in his class.
Quigley was always impatient. He stood for his doctorate oral examination at
the end of his second year of graduate studies. Charles Howard McIlwain,
chairman of the examining board, was very impressed by Quigley's answer to his
opening question; the answer included a long quotation in Latin from Robert
Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln in the thirteenth century. Professor McIlwain
sent Quigley to Princeton University as a graduate student instructor.
In the spring of 1937 I was a student in my senior year at Princeton. Quigley
was my preceptor in medieval history. He was Boston Irish; I was New York
Irish. Both of us, Catholics adventuring in a strangely Protestant
establishment world, were fascinated by the Western intellectual tradition
anchored in Augustine, Abelard, and Aquinas that seemed to have so much more
richness and depth than contemporary liberalism. We became very close in a
treasured friendship that was terminated only by his death.
In the course of rereading
The Evolution of Civilizations I was reminded of
the intensity of our dialogue. In Quigley's view, which I shared, our age was
one of irrationality. That spring we talked about what career decisions I
should make. At his urging I applied to and was admitted by the Harvard
Graduate School in History. But I had reservations about an academic career in
the study of the history that I loved, on the ground that on Quigley's own
analysis the social decisions of importance in our lifetime would be made in
irrational fashion in the street. On that reasoning, finally I transferred to
In Princeton, Carroll Quigley met and married Lillian Fox. They spent their
honeymoon in Paris and Italy on a fellowship to write his doctoral dissertation,
a study of the public administration of the Kingdom of Italy, 1805-14. The
development of the state in western Europe over the last thousand years always
fascinated Quigley. He regarded the development of public administration in the
Napoleonic states as a major step in the evolution of the modern state. It
always frustrated him that each nation, including our own, regards its own
history as unique and the history of other nations as irrelevant to it.
In 1938-41, Quigley served a stint at Harvard, tutoring graduate students in
ancient and medieval history. It offered little opportunity for the development
of cosmic views and he was less than completely content there. It was, however,
a happy experience for me. I had entered Harvard Law School. We began the
practice of having breakfast together at Carroll and Lillian's apartment.
In 1941 Quigley accepted a teaching appointment at
Georgetown's School of Foreign Service. It was to engage his primary energies
throughout the rest of his busy life. There he became an almost legendary
teacher. He chose to teach a Course, "The Development of Civilization,"
required of the incoming class, and that course ultimately provided the
structure and substance for The Evolution of
Civilizations. As a course in his hands, it was a
vital intellectual experience for young students, a mind-opening adventure. Foreign Service School graduates, meeting years later in careers around the
world, would establish rapport with each other by describing their experience in
his class. It was an intellectual initiation with remembered impact that could
be shared by people who had graduated years apart.
The fortunes of life brought us together again. During World War II I served as
a very junior officer on Admiral King's staff in Washington. Carroll and I saw
each other frequently. Twenty years later, after practicing law in Oregon, I
came into the government with President Kennedy. Our eldest daughter became a
student under Carroll at Georgetown University. We bought a house close by
Carroll and Lillian. I had Sunday breakfast with them for years and renewed our
discussions of the affairs of a disintegrating world.
Superb teacher Quigley was, and could justify a lifetime of prodigious work on
that success alone. But ultimately he was more. To me he was a figure -- he
would scoff at this -- like Augustine, Abelard, and Aquinas, searching for the
truth through examination of ultimate reality as it was revealed in history.
Long ago, he left the church in the formal sense. Spiritually and
intellectually he never left it. He never swerved from his search for the
meaning of life. He never placed any goal in higher priority. If the God of
the Western civilization that Quigley spent so many years studying does exist in
the terms that he saw ascribed to Him by our civilization, that God will now
have welcomed Quigley as one who has pleased him.
In an age characterized by violence, extraordinary personal alienation, and the
disintegration of family, church, and community, Quigley chose a life dedicated
to rationality. He addressed the problem of explaining change in the world
around us, first examined by Heraclitus in ancient Greece. Beneath that
constant change, so apparent and itself so real, what is permanent and
Quigley wanted an explanation that in its very categorization would give meaning
to a history which was a record of constant change. Therefore the analysis had
to include but not be limited to categories of subject areas of human activity
-- military, political, economic, social, religious, intellectual. It had to
describe change in categories expressed sequentially in time -- mixture,
gestation, expansion, conflict, universal empire, decay, invasion. It was a
most ambitious effort to make history rationally understandable. F. E. Manuel,
in his review of this book for the American Historical Review, following its
first publication in 1961, described it as on "sounder ground" than the work of
Quigley found the explanation of disintegration in the gradual transformation of
social "instruments" into "institutions," that is, the transformation of social
arrangements functioning to meet real social needs into social institutions
serving their own purposes regardless of real social needs. In an ideologically Platonistic society, social arrangements are molded to express a rigidly
idealized version of reality. Such institutionalization would not have the
flexibility to accommodate to the pressures of changing reality for which the
ideology has no categories of thought that will allow perception, analysis, and
handling. But the extraordinary distinction of Western civilization is that its
ontology allows an open-ended epistemology. It is engaged in a constant effort
to understand reality which is perceived as in constant change. Therefore, our
categories of knowledge are themselves always subject to change. As a
consequence reform is always possible.
The question today is whether we have lost that Western
view of reality which has given our 2,000 years of history its unique vitality,
constantly pregnant with new versions of social structure. In
Evolution, Quigley describes
the basic ideology of Western civilization as expressed in the statement, "The
truth unfolds in time through a communal process." Therefore, Quigley saw the
triumph in the thirteenth century of the moderate realism of Aquinas over
dualistic exaggerated realism derived from Platonism as the major epistemologic
triumph that opened up Western civilization. People must constantly search for
the "truth" by building upon what others have learned. But no knowledge can be
assumed to be complete and final. It could be contradicted by new information
received tomorrow. In epistemology, Quigley always retained his belief in the
scientific method. Therefore, he saw Hegel and Marx as presumptuous, in error,
and outside the Western tradition in their analysis of history as an ideologic
dialectic culminating in the present or immediate future in a homeostatic
Quigley comments upon the constant repetition of conflict and expansion stages
in Western history. That reform process owes its possibility to the uniquely
Western belief that truth is continually unfolding. Therefore Western
civilization is capable of reexamining its direction and its institutions, and
changing both as appears necessary. So in Western history, there was a
succession of technological breakthroughs in agricultural practice and in
commerce. Outmoded institutions like feudalism and -- in the commercial area --
municipal mercantilism in the period 1270-1440, and state mercantilism in the
period 1690-1810 were discarded. Similarly, we may also survive the economic
crisis described by Quigley as monopoly capitalism in the present post-1900
Yet Quigley perceives -- correctly in my view -- the possible termination of
open-ended Western civilization. With access to an explosive technology that
can tear the planet apart, coupled with the failure of Western civilization to
establish any viable system of world government, local political authority will
tend to become violent and absolutist. As we move into irrational activism,
states will seize upon ideologies that justify absolutism. The 2,000-year
separation in Western history of state and society would then end. Western
people would rejoin those of the rest of the world in merging the two into a
single entity, authoritarian and static. The age that we are about to enter
would be an ideologic one consistent with the views of Hegel and Marx -- a
homeostatic condition. That triumph would end the Western experiment and return
us to the experience of the rest of the world - -namely, that history is a
sequence of stages in the rise and fall of absolutist ideologies.
America is now in a crisis-disintegrating stage. In such a condition, absent a
philosophy, people turn readily to charismatic personalities. So at the
beginning of our time of troubles, in the depression of the 1930s, we turned to
Franklin D. Roosevelt. He took us through the depression and World War II. We
were buoyed by his optimism and reassured by the strength and confidence of his
personality. Within the Western tradition he provided us with no solutions; he
simply preserved options. When he died, all America was in shock. We had lost
our shield. Carroll came over to my place that night. We talked in the subdued
fashion of a generation that had lost its guardian and would now have to face a
hostile world on its own.
Since then we in America have been denied the easy-out of charismatic
leadership. It may just be that we shall have to follow the route that Quigley
has marked out for us in this book. We may have to look at our history, analyze
it, establish an identity in that analysis, and make another try at
understanding reality in a fashion consistent with that open-ended tradition.
If so, America, acting for Western civilization, must find within the history of
that civilization the intellectual and spiritual reserves to renew itself within
the tradition. Striking as was the impact of this book at the time of its first
publication, in 1961, its major impact will be in support of that effort in the
future. There is hope that in Western civilization the future ideology will be
rational. If so, it would be consistent with an epistemology that accepts the
general validity of sensory experience and the possibility of making
generalizations from that experience, subject to modification as additional
facts are perceived. It is that epistemology which was termed moderate realism
in the thirteenth century and, in its epistemologic aspects, is now known as the
scientific method. Such a rational ideology is probable only if it is developed
out of the special history of the West. As appreciation of that spreads, the
kind of analysis that Carroll Quigley develops in this book is the analysis that
the West must use.
Such as effort would be consistent in social terms with Quigley's view of his
own life. He greatly admired his mother, a housewife, and his father, a Boston firechief, and described them as teaching him to do his best at whatever he
chose to put his energies. That was their way of saying what Carroll would have
described as man's responsibility to understand and relate actively to a
continually unfolding reality. He dedicated his life to that purpose.