C.B. Macpherson

C.B. Macpherson: A Retropspective


I had not been a reader of C.B. Macpherson up until the time of his death in September of 1987, but I knew enough of his reputation, and the scale of his influence within political science in Canada and around the world to think that Ideas should pay tribute to someone who had clearly been one of the outstanding scholars and thinkers of his generation.  One of the pleasures of preparing the series was reading Macpherson - at last - and coming to share the assessment of so many of his contemporaries and students.  One of them, Ed Broadbent, then the federal leader of the New Democratic Party, thought of him "one of the great thinkers in the democratic tradition" - not just one of the great Canadian thinkers, Broadbent added, but a contributor to the great tradition  of political thought "stretching from Marx and Mill up to the present."   Doing the interviews,  once I had boned up on my Macpherson, was an equal pleasure.  So many people acknowledged and appreciated Macpherson as an interpreter of modern political thought that I easily found enthusiastic interlocutors.  Their tributes follow...