Rostow, Eugene Victor 1913-2002

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ROSTOW, Eugene Victor 1913-2002

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born August 25, 1913, in New York, NY; died of congestive heart failure November 25, 2002, in Alexandria, VA. Educator, attorney, administrator, political advisor, and author. Rostow was a former dean of the Yale Law School who also served in a number of political posts throughout his career. After graduating in 1933 with an A.B. from Yale University, he studied economics for two years at King's College, Cambridge; he then returned to the United States to receive his law degree from Yale in 1937 and earn a master's degree there in 1944. Rostow was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1937 and worked as an attorney for a year in New York City before joining the faculty at Yale University Law School in 1938. He was promoted to full professor of law in 1944, became Sterling Professor of Law and Public Affairs in 1964, and was dean of the school from 1955 to 1965. During his tenure as dean, Rostow was credited with remolding the law school's curriculum in ways that continued to affect the course of study decades later; he felt it was important to integrate the study of law with other disciplines, such as sociology and history. A conservative who strongly believed in serving his country, Rostow, who had already served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of State during World War II and again from 1961 to 1965, became undersecretary of state for political affairs in 1966, advising President Lyndon Johnson during the critical Vietnam War years. Rostow's position on the war that—the United States had an obligation under the Seato Treaty to protect South Vietnam—was not a popular one with his fellow academics, but he stood by his beliefs and was unafraid of being criticized for his ideas. Indeed, during World War II he was one of the few voices to speak out against the internment of Japanese Americans. Rostow was also head of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency during President Ronald Reagan's first term, but he was dismissed in 1983 when Reagan felt he was not a tough-enough voice against Soviet policies. A year after he left government work Rostow retired from teaching at Yale. He was the author of numerous books about foreign policy and the law, among them Planning for Freedom (1959), Law, Power, and the Pursuit of Peace (1968), The Ideal in Law (1978), and Toward Managed Peace: The National Security Interests of the United States, 1759 to the Present (1993).



Arms, Thomas S., Encyclopedia of the Cold War, Facts on File (New York, NY), 1994.

Writers Directory, 17th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2002.


Chicago Tribune, November 27, 2002, section 1, p. 10.

Los Angeles Times, November 27, 2002, p. B10.

New York Times, November 26, 2002, p. C19.

Washington Post, November 26, 2002, p. B6.

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Rostow, Eugene Victor 1913-2002

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