Carroll Quigley

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William Carroll Quigley (1910-1977) was professor of history at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, where he taught an influential course, "The Development of Civilization" (summarized in his book The Evolution of Civilizations).

Quigley proposed an original and well-defined model of civilizations and the distinct stages through which they evolve. In this model, a civilization is "a producing society that has writing, city life, and an economic instrument of expansion". It evolves through seven stages, called 1) mixture; 2) gestation; 3) expansion; 4) age of conflict; 5) universal empire; 6) decay, and 7) destruction (usually by outside invaders). Quigley enumerates and names sixteen civilizations in history that fit this model, more or less. Samuel P. Huntington drew upon Quigley's concepts in his book The Clash of Civilizations and Remaking of World Order.

When Quigley completed The Evolution of Civilizations (ca. 1960), he believed Western civilization to be in the midst of its third "age of conflict". Now, more than forty years later, some who subscribe to Quigley's thought might argue that, given America's economic dominance and global military reach, Western civilization has passed into its age of "universal empire". One could reasonably speculate that Quigley himself might admit that possibility but demur that we lack sufficent perspective judge for certain.

Writing in 1966, Carroll Quigley elaborates on the motivations driving the philanthropic colonisation of progressive social change:

"More than fifty years ago [circa 1914] the Morgan firm decided to infiltrate the Left-wing political movements in the United States. This was relatively easy to do, since these groups were starved for funds and eager for a voice to reach the people. Wall Street supplied both. The purpose was not to destroy, dominate, or take over but was really threefold: (1) to keep informed about the thinking of Left-wing or liberal groups; (2) to provide them with a mouthpiece so that they could 'blow off steam,' and (3) to have a final veto on their publicity and possibly on their actions, if they ever went 'radical.' There was nothing really new about this decision, since other financiers had talked about it and even attempted it earlier. What made it decisively important this time was the combination of its adoption by the dominant Wall Street financier, at a time when tax policy was driving all financiers to seek tax-exempt refuges for their fortunes, and at a time when the ultimate in Left-wing radicalism was about to appear under the banner of the Third International." (p.938) [1]


  • Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History the World in Our Time,Gsg & Assoc., 1966. Full text.(pp. 62–63 missing)
  • Caroll Quigley, The Evolution of Civilizations: An Introduction to Historical Analysis. Indianapolis, Ind., Liberty Fund, 1979.
    • Second edition, 1979, Indianapolis: LibertyPress / Liberty Fund, 444 pages, ISBN 0-913966-56-8 (hardcover), ISBN 0-913966-57-6 (paperback). Full text.
  • Carroll Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment, Gsg & Assoc., 1981. Full text.


  • "The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is the American Branch of a society which originated in England... (and) ...believes national boundaries should be obliterated and one-world rule established." [1]
  • "The vested interests encourage the growth of imperialist wars and irrationality because both serve to divert the discontent of the masses away from their vested interests.", The Evolution Of Civilization, pg. 152 [2]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Michael Barker, "Do Capitalists Fund Revolutions? (Part 1 of 2)", Znet, September 4, 2007.

External links

  • Washington Star Obituary for Carroll Quigley (newsprint), November 9, 1910 - January 3, 1977; printer ready copy.
  • Carroll Quigley, 1967, Is Georgetown University Committing 'Suicide'? -- "...Today, in education, as in government and in everything else, the propagandists flood us daily with rosy reports on how well things are going. Larger and larger expenditures of manpower, money and facilities...are devoted to telling the world about the wonderful job being done in every organization worthy of the name from the Johnson Administration down (or up) to Georgetown University. Fewer and fewer people are convinced, or even listening, but in the process the money and facilities (if not the manpower) which could have been used on the goals of the organization are wasted on propaganda about what a wonderful job is being done, when any sensible person with half an eye can see that, every year, a poorer job is being done in the midst of self-deceptive clouds of expensive propaganda."