James Burnham was an American philosopher and political theorist. He served as a public intellectual of the American conservative movement, producing the work for which he is best known, The Managerial Revolution, in 1941.
Born in Chicago, Illinois on November 22, 1905, James Burnham was the son of Claude George Burnham, an English immigrant and executive with the Burlington Railroad. He graduated at the top of his class at Princeton University before attending Balliol College, Oxford University, where his professors included J.R.R. Tolkien and Martin D’Arcy. In 1929, he became a professor of philosophy at New York University.
During World War II, Burnham worked for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a forerunner to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In 1955, he helped William F. Buckley found National Review, and became a lifelong contributor to the publication. In 1983 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan.
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