Dr. Francis Lieber (March 18, 1798, Berlin, Germany – October 2, 1872, New York City), originally known as Franz Lieber, was a German-American jurist and political philosopher. Aside from being the first American to take the title of political scientist, he is most widely known as the author of the Lieber Code during the American Civil War, also known as Code for the Government of Armies in the Field (1863), which laid the foundation for conventions governing the conduct of troops during wartime.
While still in Germany, Lieber fought in the Prussian army during the Napoleonic wars, and was wounded during the Battle of Waterloo. Upon return to Germany after the war, he was persecuted by the authorities and not permitted to attend any university in Prussia. Disillusioned, he obtained a degree at Jena and later fled to England. After fighting briefly in the Greek War of Independence, he moved to Boston in 1827, where he became a founder and editor of Encyclopaedia Americana. A decade later he became a professor of history and political economics at South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina), where he remained until 1856. From 1856 until 1865 he taught at Columbia University.
Lieber sided with the North during the American Civil War, even though he had been a resident of South Carolina, and one of his sons joined the Confederate army and died at the Battle of Williamsburg. During the conflict he served as the head of the Loyal Publication Society of New York, compiling news articles for dissemination among Union troops and Northern newspapers. He also assisted the Union War Department and President Abraham Lincoln in drafting legal guidelines for the Union army, the most famous being General Orders Number 100, or the "Lieber Code" as it is commonly known. The Lieber Code would be adopted by other militaries and go on to form the basis of the first laws of war.
After the Civil War Lieber was given the task of accumulating and preserving the records of the former government of the Confederate States of America. While working in this capacity, Lieber was one of the last known people to possess the infamous Dahlgren Affair papers. Shortly after obtaining them, Lieber was ordered to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, who likely disposed of them as they have not been seen since.
From 1870 until his death Lieber served as a diplomatic negotiator between the United States and Mexico.