George Anastaplo, Reflections on Life, Death, and the Constitution (University Press of Kentucky, 2009), p. 299

            George Anastaplo was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1925, and grew up in Southern Illinois. After serving three years as an aviation cadet and flying officer during and just after the Second World War, he earned A.B., J.D., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago. He is currently Lecturer in the Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago (in the Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults), Professor of Law at Loyola University of Chicago, and Professor Emeritus of Political Science and of Philosophy at Dominican University.

His publications include more than a dozen books and two dozen book-length collections in law reviews. His scholarship was reviewed in seven articles in the 1997 volume of the Political Science Reviewer. A two-volume Festschrift, Law and Philosophy, was issued in his honor in 1992 by the Ohio University Press. Between 1980 and 1992 he was nominated annually for a Nobel Peace Prize by a Chicago-based committee that had as its initial spokesman Malcolm P. Sharp (1897-1980), Professor Emeritus of the University of Chicago Law School.

Professor Anastaplo’s career is assessed in a chapter in Leo Strauss, the Straussians, and the American Regime (Lanham, Maryland:  Rowman and Littlefield, 1999). It is assessed as well in the cover story of the November 26, 2000, issue of the Chicago Tribune Magazine. A bibliography of his work is included in the Anastaplo Festschrift, Law and Philosophy, 2:1073-1145. See also, “George Anastaplo:  An Autobiographical Bibliography (1947-2001),” 20 Northern Illinois University Law Review 581-710 (2000); “George Anastaplo:  Tables of Contents for His Books and Published Collections (1950-2001),” 39 Brandeis Law Journal 219-87 (2000-2001). See, as well, the massive bibliography in political philosophy compiled by John A. Murley, Leo Strauss: A Bibliographical Legacy (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2005), pp. 733-855, 871.


Malcolm P. Sharp’s Letter (January 10, 1980)

The Norwegian Nobel Committee

Drammensveien 19

Oslo 2, Norway

Attention:    Mr. John Sanness, Chairman

Dear Mr. Sanness:

In a world of ever-increasing consciousness of individual rights, and the concomitant dangers of the misguided self-interest and anarchy that threaten our globe today, the commitment to freedom through the rule of law has never been more crucial. With this in mind, we respectfully submit the name of George Anastaplo as a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

George Anastaplo first gained prominence in America through his courageous stand before the legal power structure during the McCarthy era of national intimidation. Political philosopher, professor, and prodigious writer on freedom, virtue, and the common good, his way of life, on a microcosmic level, is a model for the world community in general.

His latest book, HUMAN BEING AND CITIZEN, which we enclose for your study, reflects this way of life—a commitment to suggest to partisans in controversial situations what should be said for the other side. It includes what he said to the rulers of Russia when he was expelled from that country for protesting harassment of another tourist; to Greece in the crucial year of 1967 when, as a guest at a state dinner in Athens he told the ruling Greek colonels that their despotic tactics had alienated the populace (for this he was barred from Greece); to the U.S. Government when he warned that American’s misguided support of the Greek junta would lead to alienation of that NATO ally (it did); to the Supreme Court of the United States when, as a young law graduate in 1951 he reminded an intimidated Court of the meaning and importance of law (for this he was barred from practicing law); to Canadians about Quebec Separatism.

Like Socrates, his philosophical progenitor, he has made a career of questioning nearly everyone he talks to. “What is Virtue? What is Justice? What is a wise man?” Of scientists who invite him to speak he asks:    “How does a good man come to be? What kind of man is likely to develop as a result of our present opinions and approach?” And though this neo-Socrates was sentenced to a figurative drinking of the hemlock, he continues the role he has carved out for himself, a role seldom played in our time—that of philosopher and truth-teller. He has taken the Quaker principle of “speak truth to power” and brought it back to the Socratic principle of speak truth to all—at least as much as they can comprehend. To activists he warns, “give careful thought to the consequences of what you do,” to scholars, “translate your private thoughts into public action.”

Though a salient writer on the enduring questions that have historically engaged the great minds of the centuries, Dr. Anastaplo’s reputation and influence among us do not rest on the works he has published. It is as teacher and scholar that he has made his mark; as midwife to the ideas of student and colleagues. The largeness and depth of his vision bring out in others the best of what they yearn to say or do. He sees in the foibles of lesser minds promise of future achievement rather than irretrievable loss. That is to say, he understands the conditions for learning to be ever-present, the power of the intellect never entirely absent.

The commitment to the rule of reason as a bridge that united diverse peoples and nations in peaceful coexistence is an ideal that has beckoned and eluded man since time immemorial. The world’s religions have promised it, philosophers have pursued it. If ever it is to succeed, it will be through the efforts of the quiet heroes of the world, these rare and exceptional individuals who, by precept and example, keep the sane and steady voice of reason alive in the wilderness. We have seen “the year of the child.” Why not now, “the year of the quiet hero?” Recognition by so prestigious a body as the Nobel Peace Committee would go far in encouraging emulation of what is best in and for the world.

We enclose for your study a limited selection of biographical and bibliographical material, divided into three categories:    (a) World Affairs,   (b) Domestic Affairs, and  (c) Published Works and Book Reviews. The latter number in the hundreds and can be supplied upon request.

Respectfully submitted,

on behalf of the Committee Proposing

George Anastaplo for the Nobel Peace Prize

Malcolm Sharp

     Professor Emeritus of Law

     The University of Chicago

     Professor of Political Science

     Rosary College


Leo Paul S. de Alvarez’s Letter (December 7, 1980)

The Norwegian Nobel Committee

Drammensveien 19

Oslo 2, Norway


We respectfully re-submit the name of George Anastaplo as a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Professor Malcolm Sharp who presented his name last year and who intended to do so again this year, died in August and I respectfully renew the nomination in his stead.

Respectfully submitted,

on behalf of the Committee Proposing

George Anastaplo for the Nobel Peace Prize

Professor Leo Paul S. de Alvarez

   Chairman, Department of Politics

   University of Dallas

   Irving, Texas 75061


Theodora Vasils’s Letter (January 11, 1985)


Mr. Egil Aarvik, Chairman

The Norwegian Nobel Committee

Drammensveien 19

Oslo 20, Norway

Dear Mr. Aarvik:

In addition to the material sent to you by Professor William Braithwaite, with his letter nominating George Anastaplo for the Nobel Peace Prize, I am sending along a few random pieces that might add something to your understanding of a man whom you do not have the advantage of knowing through universal repute.

This modest professor, quietly at work helping inch the human race upward a bit, is of that rare breed of men that another great Nobel nominee, Nikos Kazantzakis, called “the sentinels of the human spirit.” These steadfast border guards who stand watch against the overwhelming tide of materialism that threatens to destroy what is best in Man and in the world, are the international community’s most precious resources.

I trust you will not hesitate to request further material from the committee, should you require it for your consideration.

With all good wishes, I am,

Respectfully yours, on behalf

of the Committee Proposing

George Anastaplo for the

Nobel Peace Prize


Theodora Vasils

(Nikos Kazantzakis’s translator)

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