John Burgesswas born on 26 August 1844 in Cornersville, Tennessee. During the Civil War he eluded impressment into the Confederate army and instead served in the Union army. He graduated with his BA in 1867 from Amherst College, where he took classes with the Hegelian Julius H. Seelye. Burgess then studied law and was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1869. He briefly taught at Knox College before spending over two years studying in German universities. Upon his return in 1873 Burgess found a position teaching history and political science at Amherst College. In 1876 he became professor of history, political science, and international law at Columbia University, and with Nicholas Murray Butler he established the first school of political science for graduate study in 1880. Burgess gathered an outstanding faculty at Columbia, including John Bates Clark and Charles A. Beard. He founded the Academy of Political Science in 1880 and the Political Science Quarterly in 1886. Burgess retired in 1912 and died on 13 January 1931 in Brookline, Massachusetts.
From The Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers in Oxford Reference.