Date of Award


Degree Type



Urban Studies

First Advisor

Spicer, Michael

Subject Headings

Macaulay, Catharine, 1731-1791 -- Political and social views, Public administration -- United States -- History, United States -- Politics and government -- History, Public Administration, History of ideas, Catharine Macaulay


This dissertation utilizes the history of ideas to explore the philosophy of Catharine Macaulay, an eighteenth-century historian and philosopher, for application to contemporary American Public Administration. Macaulay's view of human nature is paradoxical. Her characterization of man as corrupt and seduced by power is countered by her view that man is perfectible and capable of good works. The darker side of Macaulay's vision supports government that checks power through the expansion of democracy, advocates the separation of powers, and adheres to the rule of law. In this respect she resembles a Lockean liberal. The more magnanimous side of Macaulay reveres ancient Greece and Rome, believes man is capable of civic virtue, and values the role of education in creating leaders. In this respect she resembles a classical republican. Combined, these visions offer a unique model of public administration. A Macaulay model of public administration rests its authority with the people. It uses the practice of administration as a check on power by the use of administrative discretion and the encouragement of citizen participation. The model advocates a generalist rather than a technical education for public administrators. Finally, the model includes the practice of benevolence, the belief that democratic values of justice, liberty, and equality are to be protected in the daily practice of Public Administration