Democracy and Expertise in the Lippmann-Terman Controversy

29 Sep 2017

Historians often interpret American political thought in the early twentieth century through an opposition between the technocratic power of expertise and the deliberative promise of democracy, respectively represented by Walter Lippmann and John Dewey. This article explores Lippmann's concurrent controversy with Lewis Terman about intelligence testing, in which Dewey also intervened. It argues that the Lippmann–Terman controversy dramatized and developed a range of ideas about the politics of expertise in a democracy, which centered on explaining how democratic citizens might engage with and control the authority of experts. It concludes by examining the controversy's influence on democratic theory.