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Ruth Schachter Morgenthau
Political Parties in French-Speaking West Africa

Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1964. 439 p.

Ruth Schachter Morgenthau (1931-2006) - Political Parties in French-Speaking West Africa

Biographical note

Ruth Schachter Morgenthau was born in Vienna, Austria, on January 26, 1931, the younger daughter of Osias and Mizia (Kramer) Schachter. Osias Schachter owned a textile importing company before fleeing the Nazis with Ruth on December 31, 1938. Mizia and their other daughter, Alice, left Vienna the following year, and the family lived in England and Cuba before arriving in the United States and settling in New York City in 1940.
Morgenthau graduated from Hunter College High School in 1948 and from Barnard College in 1952, and then attended the Institut d'Études Politiques in Paris as a Fulbright scholar. She conducted extensive research in Africa before receiving her doctorate in politics from Oxford University in 1958. Her thesis evolved into her best-known work, Political Parties in French-speaking West Africa, published in 1964.
In 1962, she married Henry Morgenthau III, an author and television producer whose father was US Secretary of the Treasury in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration. Eleanor Roosevelt attended their wedding. They had three children: Sarah, H. Ben, and Kramer.
Morgenthau taught African studies at Boston University before joining the Politics Department at Brandeis University in 1963. She remained at Brandeis until 2003, serving as department chair from 1974 until 1976, and was named Adlai Stevenson Professor of International Politics.
Deeply interested in “bottom-up” aid and in alleviating poverty and hunger, she formed Brandeis's graduate program in Sustainable International Development, helped establish a Food Corps, and also founded the Liaison Committee for Food Corps Programmes International. This organization (known as CILCA) provided low-cost assistance to rural populations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Morgenthau also served on the board of Pact, a coalition with aid programs in 20 countries.
Morgenthau served as an African policy advisor during John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign, and, from 1962 to 1969, as a member of the State Department's African Advisory Council. She played an active role on Jimmy Carter's Foreign Policy and Defense Task Force (#48.2-48.4), advising him on issues concerning Africa during his presidential campaign, and also advised, and campaigned for, presidential hopefuls Paul Tsongas, Bill Bradley, and Michael Dukakis.
She was a member of the US delegation to the United Nations from 1977 to 1981 and was US Representative to the United Nations Social Development Commission.
An active member of the Democratic Party, Morgenthau ran for the US Senate in 1978, dropping out of the race before the Democratic primary, and in 1988 ran unsuccessfully as a Democratic candidate for Congress from Rhode Island. She died November 4, 2006, in Boston, Massachusetts, of myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone marrow disorder.
Source: Papers of Ruth S. Morgenthau



I. — The African Social Setting

II. — French Policy and African Institutions

III. — West Africans in the French Parliament

IV. Citizens and Subjects of Senegal

V. Planters and Politics in the Ivory Coast

VI. Trade Unionists and Chiefs in Guinea

VII. Teachers and Chiefs in Mali

VIII. From A.O.F. Federation to Sovereign Nations

IX. Towards One Party States


  1. French Prime Ministers and Overseas Ministers under the I Fourth Republic
  2. French Constitutions:
  • Constitution of 19 April 1946
  • Constitution of 28 October 1946
  • Constitution of 28 September 1958
  1. West African Members of the French National Assembly under the Fourth Republic
  2. Party Strength in the French National Assembly under the Fourth Republic
  3. The Franchise in French West Africa~ 1945
  4. Referenda
  •  October 1945-October 1946
  •  28 September 1958
  1. Areas and Population
  2. The Social Background of Some French-speaking West African Political Leaders
  • Ivory Coast: Territorial Assembly and PDCI-RDA
  • Executive
  • Mali: Territorial Assembly
  • Upper Volta: Territorial Assembly
  • Niger: Territorial Assembly and PPN-RDA Executive
  • Senegal: Territorial Assembly, BDS and SFIO Executives
  • Guinea: Territorial Assembly
  1. French West African Cities
  2. Wage Earners and Trade Union Members in AOF
  3. Foreign Trade per Territory
  4. French West African Parties and their Leaders