Online Encyclopedia

FRANCIS BOWEN (1811—1890)

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Originally appearing in Volume V04, Page 342 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FRANCIS BOWEN (1811—1890), American philosophical writer and educationalist, was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, on the 8th of September 1811. He graduated at Harvard in 1833, taught for two years at Phillips Exeter Academy, and then from 1835 to 1839 was a tutor and instructor at Harvard. After several years of study in Europe, he settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was editor and proprietor of the North American Review from 1843 to 1854. In 185o he was appointed professor of history at Harvard; but his appointment was disapproved by the board of overseers on account of reactionary political opinions he had expressed in a controversy with Robert Carter (1819—1879) concerning the Hungarian revolution. In 1853 his appointment as Alford professor of natural religion, moral philosophy and civil polity was approved, and he occupied the chair until 1889. In 1876 he was a member of the Federal commission appointed to consider currency reform, and wrote (1877) the minority report, in which he opposed the restoration of the double standard and the re-monetization of silver. He died in Boston, Massachusetts, on the 22nd of January 189o. His writings include lives of Sir William Phipps, Baron von Steuben, James Otis and Benjamin Lincoln in Jared Sparks' " Library of American Biography "; Critical Essays on the History and Present Condition of Speculative Philosophy (1842); Lowell Lectures on the Application of Meta-physical and Ethical Science to the Evidences of Religion (1849) ; The Principles of Political Economy applied to the Condition, Resources and Institutions of the American People (1856) ;. A Treatise on Logic (1864); American Political Economy (187o); Modern Philosophy from Descartes to Schopenhauer and Hartmann (1877); and Gleanings from a Literary Life, x838—188o (188o).
End of Article: FRANCIS BOWEN (1811—1890)

Additional information and Comments

Actually, the controversy which led to Bowen being denied a position at Harvard was only partially with Robert Carter, but more with Mary Lowell Putnam, the sister of poet James Russell Lowell. Bowen published some rather biased and inaccurate articles about the war of independence in Hungary (1848-49) and was refuted in great detail by Ms. Putnam in two articles appearing in the Christian Examiner. Public opinion in the United States supported the Hungarians, and Bowen was clearly swimming against the tide. The biography of Lowell Putnam has yet to be written.
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