LIEBER, FRANCIS (1800–1872), German-American publicist, was born at Berlin on the 18th of March 1800. He served with his two brothers under Blücher in the campaign of 1815, fighting at Ligny, Waterloo and Namur, where he was twice dangerously wounded. Shortly afterwards he was arrested for his political sentiments, the chief evidence against him being several songs of liberty which he had written. After several months he was discharged without a trial, but was forbidden to pursue his studies at the Prussian universities. He accordingly went to Jena, where he took his degrees in 1820, continuing his studies at Halle and Dresden. He subsequently took part in the Greek War of Independence, publishing his experiences in his Journal in Greece (Leipzig, 1823, and under the title The German Anacharsis, Amsterdam, 1823). For a year he was in Rome as tutor to the son of the historian Niebuhr, then Prussian ambassador. Returning to Berlin in 1823, he was imprisoned at Koepenik, but was released after some months through the influence of Niebuhr. In 1827 he went to the United States and as soon as possible was naturalized as a citizen. He settled at Boston, and for five years edited The Encyclopaedia Americana (13 vols.). From 1835 to 1856 he was professor of history and political economy in South Carolina College at Columbia, S.C., and during this period wrote his three chief works, Manual of Political Ethics (1838), Legal and Political Hermeneutics (1839), and Civil Liberty and Self Government (1853). In 1856 he resigned and next year was elected to a similar post in Columbia College, New York, and in 1865 became professor of constitutional history and public law in the same institution. During the Civil War Lieber rendered services of great value to the government. He was one of the first to point out the madness of secession, and was active in upholding the Union. He prepared, upon the requisition of the president, the important Code of War for the Government of the Armies of the United States in the Field, which was promulgated by the Government in General Orders No. 100 of the war department. This code suggested to Bluntschli his codification of the law of nations, as may be seen in the preface to his Droit International Codifié. During this period also Lieber wrote his Guerilla Parties with Reference to the Laws and Usages of War. At the time of his death he was the umpire of the commission for the adjudication of Mexican claims. He died on the 2nd of October 1872. His books were acquired by the University of California, and his papers were placed in the Johns Hopkins University.
His Miscellaneous Writings were published by D. C. Gilman (Philadelphia, 1881). See T. S. Perry, Life and Letters (1882), and biography by Harby (1899).