Francis Lieber was a publicist, educator, and political philosopher. Born in Berlin on March 18, 1800, Lieber fought with Bluecher at Waterloo , participated in Frederick Jahn's Turner movement, joined an ill-fated expedition to fight in the Greek Revolution , and served as a tutor for the children of historian Barthold G. Niebuhr in Rome [1822-23]. Between these events Lieber studied for brief periods at Berlin, Jena (where he received a Ph.D.), Halle and Dresden, during which time Prussian authorities frequently questioned and twice imprisoned him. He finally escaped Prussian persecution, traveling first to London , where he met Matilda Oppenheimer whom he married in 1829, and then to Boston , where he managed a gymnasium and swimming school. Lieber wrote for German newspapers; edited, translated, and wrote much of the 13-volume Encyclopedia Americana [1829-1833]; prepared numerous articles and lectures; promoted prison reform along the lines of the Pennsylvania system; translated and annotated Beaumont and deToqueville's On the Penitentiary System ; prepared a Plan of Education for Girard College  and authored a travel journal, Letters to a Gentleman in Germany .
Despite his success as an author, election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences  and appeals to correspondents, Lieber was unable to obtain a fixed position until the fall of 1835 when he accepted a professorship at South Carolina College. For Lieber the years there [1835-1856] were ones of exile. He constantly sought positions in the North and escaped every summer to the North or Europe. Though no abolitionist (indeed he owned slaves), Lieber detested slavery. Carolina did, however, give Lieber the time to write his major works: Political Ethics [1838-39]; Legal and Political Hermeneutics [1837-38]; Essays on Property and Labour ; and Civil Liberty and Self-Government . All of these works reflected Lieber's support for the central tenets of nineteenth- century liberalism: freedom of the will; individualism; rights and obligations (in Lieber's terms "droit oblige") growing out of natural law; a limited state except when the public interest is involved; the importance of property; free trade; monogamy and the family; opposition to organized labor.
In 1856 Lieber resigned his South Carolina position when he again was passed over for president and moved to New York. Shortly friends secured a chair in history and political science at Columbia [1858-1865] and later in the Columbia Law School [1865-1872]. He became involved in Republic politics, organized the Loyal Publication Society during the Civil War and drafted legal briefs for Charles Sumner (who frequently shared Lieber's ideas with Lincoln), Edward Stanton, Edward Bates, Henry Halleck and Hamilton Fish. In particular he wrote General Orders No.100, "Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field" . Following the war he served as archivist for the captured Confederate documents [1865-67], as umpire for the United States and Mexican Claims Commission [1869-72] and as organizer of conferences on international law. He died in New York City on October 2, 1872.