Who’s Who in America (2005) describes Professor Lawrence Fuchs as a government official and educator. A 2002 article by Brandeis professor Stephen J. Whitfield (Brandeis Review) classifies Fuchs according to four areas of achievement: Teaching, Scholarship, Community, and Public Service. In a letter to the Boston Globe (October 1960), Fuchs describes himself as a “political behaviorist.”
Lawrence H. Fuchs was born in New York City on Jan. 29, 1927 and received degrees from New York University (B.A., 1950) and Harvard University (Ph.D., 1955). He was a teaching fellow at Harvard from 1950-1951 and a member of the faculty at Brandeis University from 1952-2002, where he served as the Meyer and Walter Jaffe Professor of American Civilization and Politics.
Fuchs began his Brandeis career in the Department of Politics and eventually founded the American Studies Department in 1970. He served as the dean of faculty and was a four-term faculty representative to the Board of Trustees. While at Brandeis, Fuchs was granted a leave of absence to serve as the first head of the Peace Corps in the Philippines (1961-1963) and as a visiting professorship in Hawaii.
Fuchs’s works include: The Political Behavior of American Jews (1955); Hawaii Pono: A Social History (1961); John F. Kennedy and American Catholicism (1967); Those Peculiar Americans: The Peace Corps and American National Character (1968); American Ethnic Politics (1968); Family Matters (1973); The American Kaleidoscope: Race, Ethnicity, and the Civic Culture (1991); and Beyond Patriarchy: Jewish Fathers and Families (2000). Fuchs was also principal scholar of Black in White America (1974) and The American Experiment (1981) and published a revised version of his original work Hawaii Pono as Hawaii Pono = Hawaii the Excellent: An Ethnic and Political History (1992). In addition to his books, Fuchs published many journal articles and was an invited speaker at many social and political organizations.
Fuchs’s work outside of academia included the following:
- Head of the first Peace Corps unit in the Philippines (1961-1963) during the Kennedy administration. Founder of the Commonwealth Service Corps in Massachusetts, a domestic Peace Corps organization.
- Executive director of the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy (1979-1981) under President Jimmy Carter. The recommendations made by this commission led to the first major reform of U.S. immigration policy since 1965: the Immigration and Control Act of 1986, and later the Immigration Act of 1990. Fuchs also served as vice chair of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform.
- Service on bodies including: the National Advisory Board of the Commission on Law and Social Action of the American Jewish Congress; the Massachusetts Congress on Racial Equality; the United World Federalists; and the Mexican American Legal and Education Defense Fund.
- Chair of the Academic Council of the American Jewish Historical Society, and of the Advisory Committee of the School and Society Program of the Education Development Center (EDC).
- Participation in Facing History and Ourselves, a groundbreaking educational organization bringing ethnic relations and social history into the classroom.