Samuel Phillips Huntington (April 18, 1927–December 24, 2008) was an American political scientist who gained prominence through his Clash of Civilizations (1993, 1996) thesis of a post-Cold War new world order. Previously, his academic reputation had rested on his analysis of the relationship between the military and the civil government, his investigation of coups d'état, and his analysis of threats posed to the U.S. by contemporary immigration.
Huntington was born on April 18, 1927, in New York City. He graduated with distinction from Yale University at age 18, served in the U.S. Army, earned his Master's degree from the University of Chicago, and completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University where he began teaching at age 23. He was a member of Harvard's department of government from 1950 until his death. From 1959 to 1962 he was an associate professor of government at Columbia University where he was also Deputy Director of The Institute for War and Peace Studies.
His first major book was The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations, (1957) which was highly controversial when it was published but today is regarded as the most influential book on American civil-military relations. He became prominent with his Political Order in Changing Societies (1968), a work that challenged the conventional view of modernization theorists, that economic and social progress would produce stable democracies in recently decolonized countries. As a consultant to the U.S. Department of State, and in an influential 1968 article in Foreign Affairs, he advocated the concentration of the rural population of South Vietnam as a means of isolating the Viet Cong. He also was co-author of The Crisis of Democracy: On the Governability of Democracies, a report issued by the Trilateral Commission in 1976. During 1977 and 1978, in the administration of Jimmy Carter, he was the White House Coordinator of Security Planning for the National Security Council.