Born in 1917, Rossiter grew up in Bronxville, New York, the third of four children. He attended Westminster preparatory school before going to Cornell University from where he graduated in 1939. Princeton University then granted him a doctorate in 1942. When the United States entered World War II he joined the Naval Reserves as a gunnery officer in the Pacific and reached the rank of lieutenant. Rossiter married his wife, taught briefly in Michigan, and then returned to teach at Cornell University. A remarkable feat, Rossiter rose to full professor in only eight years and chaired the government department for several years.
An author as well as a teacher Rossiter penned books and articles on political science. He revisited the American Revolution, the making of the Constitution, and penned his edition to The Federalist Papers
, which high schools and colleges used in their courses. Though many of his books passed through time virtually ignored, historians in the late 1990s began to reprint his work and realize its historical significance. Intuitive in his understanding of history and government, Rossiter nonetheless suffered from life long depression and died at age 52.
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