Chang Chia-sen 張嘉森 T. Chün-mai West. Carsun
Chang Chang Chia-sen (1886-), known as Carsun Chang, a leading supporter of Liang Ch'ich'ao's ideas and movements, worked for the establishment of constitutional government in the early 1900's. Prominent in the attempt to focus attention in China on cultural and educational activities, he studied philosophy in Germany and was a leading figure in the science-philosophy debates of 1923. Opposing the oneparty system of the Kuomintang, in the 1930's he established the National Socialist party. After 1952 he lived in the United States.
Born in the Paoshan district of Kiangsu into a family of some affluence, Carsun Chang, the elder brother of Chang Kia-ngau (Chang Chia-ao, q.v.), received his early education in the Confucian classics from tutors, including several prominent scholars of the area. In 1901, he and his brother enrolled at the Institute of Modern Languages at Shanghai. There he received his middle school education and began to study German.
During these formative years, Carsun Chang became interested in the political theories of the reformers K'ang Yu-wei and Liang Ch'i-ch'ao (qq.v.). From 1905 until 1909, Carsun Chang was in Tokyo, where he studied law and political economy at Waseda University. In 1907 he joined an organization known as the Cheng-wen-she, established at Tokyo by associates of Liang Ch'i-ch'ao to make plans for the creation of constitutional government in China. Early in 1908, when the headquarters of that organization moved to Shanghai, Carsun Chang was one of the members who continued to carry on its affairs in Japan. He was then in correspondence with Liang Ch'i-ch'ao, and he supported Liang's ideas of constitutional government for China. After graduation from Waseda in 1909, Carsun Chang returned to China. There he took and passed the government examinations which the Ch'ing court had established for Chinese students returning from abroad after the abolition of the examination system in 1905. Chang was awarded the degree of chin-shih and appointed a compiler of the Hanlin Academy (these latter-day distinctions were viewed with condescension by the older Chinese scholar-officials, who had taken their degrees in the traditional and more difficult manner). In 1911 Chang became an editor of the Tientsin- Peking Shih-pao. During that period he was in close touch with Liang Ch'i-ch'ao and his associates, who were attempting to promote support for the new national parliament to be created by the Ch'ing court. After the Wuhan revolt and the establishment of the republic in 1912, Carsun Chang met at Shanghai with Lin Ch'ang-min, T'ang Hua-lung (qq.v.), Sun Hung-i, and other associates of Liang Ch'i-ch'ao to make plans for the establishment of a constitutional parliament and to launch a political party to accomplish that task. In December 1912, with the appearance of Liang Ch'i-ch'ao's new magazine, Yung-yen [justice], he became its assistant editor and a frequent contributor.
Carsun Chang's personal involvement with Chinese politics was interrupted in 1913, when he went to Europe to study Western philosophy. From 1913 until 1915 he was at the University of Berlin. He then left Germany to go to England, where he studied for some months. By 1916, when he left London to return to China, he was convinced that Germany would lose the war and was a strong advocate of China's entry into the conflict on the other side. After his arrival in China, he became head of the bureau of foreign affairs of the Chekiang provincial government at Hangchow. He also conferred with Liang Ch'i-ch'ao regarding the question of China's entry into the war and the general political situation in China. In late 1916 and early 1917 Carsun Chang, on behalf of Liang, attempted to sound out the views of Chang Hsun and Feng Kuo-chang (qq.v.). Actually, Liang Ch'i-ch'ao's efforts to play an influential role at Peking were frustrated by the leadership of Tuan Ch'i-jui (q.v.), with the result that most of these intellectuals became increasingly dubious about seeking national regeneration through this government, and many retired from politics. One of them, Chang Tung-sun (q.v.), moved to Shanghai to become chief editor of the independent daily newspaper, the Shih-shih hsin-pao [China times]. Carsun Chang joined the staff of that newspaper as its manager.
Sharing Liang Ch'i-ch'ao's desire to focus attention on cultural and educational activities, he also lectured at Peking University in 1918. At the end of that year, when Liang Ch'i-ch'ao left for Europe as an unofficial delegate to the Paris Peace Conference, a small group of personal friends accompanied him. The entourage included Carsun Chang, Chiang Fang-chen (q.v.), and V. K. Ting (Ting Wen-chiang, q.v.). Carsun Chang then spent the postwar years from 1919 to 1922 in Germany, where he read philosophy at Jena under Rudolf Euken. Euken's emphasis on the human sense of moral obligation appealed to Carsun Chang, and he collaborated with the elderly philosopher in writing Das Lebensproblem in China und Europa, which was published in Leipzig in 1922. Chang was also interested in the French philosopher Henri Bergson, in whose writings he found support for his own variety of humanistic Confucianism. Yet his studies at Jena were not entirely confined to philosophy. He also attended the lectures of the jurist Karl Korsch, from whom he gained increased knowledge of European political concepts and systems of government, including German state socialism, Russian Communism, and English parliamentary government. And he was a close observer of contemporary developments in Europe, including the establishment of the Bela Kun dictatorship in Hungary and the early activities of the Communist International.
Carsun Chang was instrumental in inviting the German philosopher and biologist Hans Driesch to go to China for the Chiang-hsueh-she [lecture association]. This association was a project of Liang Ch'i-ch'ao; its purpose was to invite distinguished Western scholars to China. Driesch, known for his concern with vitalistic biology and for his impatience with the mechanistic assumptions behind much contemporary scientific thinking, had an unanticipated impact on Chinese intellectuals. Carsun Chang, after returning to China, served as his interpreter at Peking, and soon afterwards was requested by the students at Tsinghua University to deliver a lecture himself. The result was the famous statement entitled "Jen-sheng kuan" [philosophy of life], which, published in the Tsing-hua Weekly in February 1923, sparked a lively intellectual debate that engaged many ofChina's nimblest minds. Chang's subject was suggested by the title of a book by Rudolf Eucken, Die Lebensanschauungen der grossen Denker (Leipzig, 1890; English translation, The Problem of Human Life, New York, 1909). Its message was that science, with its orientation toward the external world of matter, was powerless to solve the spiritual problems of human life and was leading Western civilization into materialism and moral degeneracy. Chang declared that a sound philosophy of life must not rely upon the determinism of scientific laws, but on man's intuition and his free will. Aroused by the attack upon scientific method, V. K. Ting issued a refutation of Carsun Chang's arguments in which he sought to defend the value of science both for human intellectual life and for Chinese university education. Chang Tung-sun, Hu Shih (q.v.), Liang Ch'i-ch'ao, and many other leading minds of the day participated in the debate. By the end of 1923 a collection of the most important articles written during the course of the argument was published in two volumes as K'o-hsueh yü jen-sheng-kuan [science and the philosophy of life] .
In 1923 the civil governor of Kiangsu province, Han Kuo-chun, invited Carsun Chang to serve as head of the National Institute of Self-Government at Shanghai. Chang reorganized that institution into National Political University [kuo-li cheng-chih ta-hsueh], stiffened its entrance requirements and academic discipline, and invited several well-known scholars to lecture there. The group included Chang Tung-sun, and Chang Tung-sun's elder brother, Chang Erh-t'ien (q.v.), as well as P'an Kuang-tan (q.v.), and K. C. Wu (Wu Kuo-chen, q.v.). Carsun Chang lectured on a wide variety of topics, including current political affairs. Six of his lectures, surveying aspects of the current civil war situation in China, were published by the school in 1924 under the title Kuo-nei chan-cheng liu-chiang. The rapidly changing military situation posed new problems for Carsun Chang. In November 1926 he spent ten days at Hankow observing the Kuomintang-led National Government and estimating the prospects of the Northern Expedition. On his return to Shanghai he published his observations, Wuhan chien-wen, and openly stated his views at Political University. He predicted a collapse of the Peiyang warlords and a split between the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist party. He also stated his opposition to the one-party system of the Kuomintang and urged his students to hold fast to the principles of democracy, which to him meant Western parliamentary democracy.
When the Northern Expedition reached Shanghai in March 1927, Carsun Chang was persona non grata both because of his political views and because of his associations with Liang Ch'i-ch'ao and with unorthodox groups. The Kuomintang closed National Political University. After the establishment of the National Government at Nanking, Chang and his associates at Shanghai secretly published a magazine, Hsin-lu [new way], which opposed the one-party system of political tutelage of the Kuomintang and urged the government to institute a multi-party system which would permit democracy to develop. Because of these activities, Chang was seized by the Kuomintang authorities and was placed under house arrest by the Shanghai garrison commander. He was released after about a month of confinement and, according to his account given in Third Force in China (1952), was "compelled to leave the country." Chang's activities between 1927 and 1931 are obscure. He remained in retirement, reportedly occupying himself with reading and with the translation of Harold Laski's Grammar of Politics. He also maintained contact with Liang Ch'i-ch'ao, who was lecturing on Chinese history at Peking. In a letter of September 1928 to Liang, Carsun Chang stated that he had heard from V. K. Ting, who had been living in semi-retirement at Dairen after the Nationalist occupation of Shanghai. From about 1929 to 1931 Carsun Chang was again in Germany, where he continued his philosophical studies and lectured on Chinese philosophy at the University of Jena and perhaps also at Berlin. Chang returned to China in 1931, arriving at Peiping on 17 September, the day before the Mukden Incident. He resumed his political activities, which were designed to bring democratic government to China. Through his old friend Chang Tung-sun, who had become professor of philosophy at Yenching University, and doubtless because of that personal connection, he lectured at Yenching that winter. In April 1932 a group desirous of organizing a new political party met at Peiping. The group then included some 100 members, most of them college professors and former associates of Liang Ch'i-ch'ao. Carsun Chang was elected general secretary of the new party, and a new magazine called Tsai-sheng [renaissance], was established to propagate the group's political program. Since dissenting political organizations were forbidden by the National Government at Nanking, the group was illegal, and it remained a secret, underground organization until 1938. Carsun Chang himself traveled between Peiping and Hong Kong, attempting to recruit new members and to avoid agents of the Kuomintang.
In the autumn of 1934, Carsun Chang and his supporters held a national meeting at Tientsin and formally announced the establishment of the National Socialist party [kuo-chia she-hui tang] . The confusing and unfortunate similarity of the name of the new party to that of the party led by Adolf Hitler in Germany was accidental. In his political report, Chang stressed the threat to China posed by Japanese aggression and called for a build-up of Chinese defenses. After the meeting he went to Shansi to discuss national defense problems with Yen Hsi-shan (q.v.), the veteran ruler of that province. In an attempt to expand the influence of the new party, Chang and his colleagues also approached a number of retired military and political figures.
In 1934 Carsun Chang went to Canton, where he was well received by Ch'en Chi-t'ang, who was then the dominant military figure in south China. Ch'en invited him to lecture at National Sun Yat-sen University. Under the protection of Ch'en Chi-t'ang, Carsun Chang also established a new educational institution, the Hsueh-hai shu-t'ang, at Canton, staffed by professors from Sun Yat-sen and Lingnan universities and designed to teach both regular students and soldiers. The situation at Canton changed abruptly, however, in the summer of 1936, when Nanking moved to end the insubordination of the Southwest Political Council. With the downfall of Ch'en Chi-t'ang, the Hsueh-hai shu-t'ang was disbanded, and Carsun Chang fled from Canton to take refuge at Shanghai. At the second national congress of the National Socialist party, held in 1936, he was again elected general secretary of the organization. The year also saw the appearance of one of Carsun Chang's better-known books, Aling-jih chih Chung-kuo wen-hua [China's culture tomorrow], a comparative survey of the cultures of Europe, India, and China. He argued that Europe was distinguished by its science and its freedom; India, by its metaphysical preoccupations; and China, by its concern with human relationships. Drawing upon ideas propounded earlier by Liang Ch'i-ch'ao and his group in the 1918-19 period, Chang argued that reform in China should start with human attitudes and should construct a new culture to serve as the basis for new political and economic systems. In the construction of that new culture, China should look to the post-Reformation culture of Europe and should adopt the spirit, but not the forms, of that vigorous period to China's traditional cultural heritage.
After the outbreak of the Japanese war in 1937, Carsun Chang, like other minor party leaders in China, dropped his opposition to Chiang Kai-shek and rallied to the cause of national unity. In August of that year he accepted the invitation of the National Government to become a member of the national defense advisory council at Nanking. In 1938 he followed the government to Hankow, where he was one of the seven members of the National Socialist party in the People's Political Council. After an exchange of notes with Chiang Kai-shek concerning the united front, the National Socialist party was recognized officially. Between May and July of 1938 Chang gave a series of lectures at Hankow regarding his principles of national socialism. The lectures, later published in book form as Li-kuo chih tao [toward the founding of the state], set forth the aims of the National Socialist party. Basically, Chang advocated a modified Western parliamentary system of democratic government and a modified form of state socialism for China. Within the framework of democracy, political parties were to have freedom of action, competing with mutual good will, but not attempting to destroy each other or the system of government. Every citizen was to have the right to express his views freely and to participate in the government. Under a national constitution, an elected representative assembly would choose members of a central executive yuan and would draw up the administrative program to be carried out by the executive yuan. With the exception of heads of ministries, all government employees were to have non-political status. In his socialist program, Chang envisaged state control of heavy industries such as steel, mines, hydroelectric plants, and communications. The state would also supervise, if not own, large industries such as the textile industry. Private ownership and management in all economic activities not "harmful" to the state was to be permitted.
In 1939 Carsun Chang followed the National Government to Chungking, attempting to promote nationalism through education. With the backing of the government and with funds provided by its Military Council, a new Min-tsu wen-hua shu-yuan [institute of national culture] was organized. Chang was named its principal, though the board of directors was composed f f such reliable Kuomintang figures as Ch'en Pu-lei (q.v.). Formally opened in July 1939 at Chungking, the new institute, with Carsun Chang himself giving the lectures on philosophy, laid emphasis on min-tsu ssu-hsiang [national thought]. In 1940 he moved with the new institute to Ta-li in Yunnan province, where the governor, Lung Yun, had provided grounds for it. During 1941, however, growing student discontent in Yunnan introduced new complications. Lo Lung-chi, a member of the standing committee of the National Socialist party who was then at Southwest Associated University at Kunming, was accused of stirring up anti-government sentiment among the students. Carsun Chang, as leader of that party, came under suspicion. In December 1941, he went to Chungking to attend a meeting of the People's Political Council. Chang was ordered to remain there, and in the spring of 1942 the institute at Ta-li was closed down by the government.
The most notable development in Chinese national politics at that time was the breakdown of the united front of the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist party. Carsun Chang joined with Tso Shun-sheng of the China Youth party, and with other minority political figures and intellectuals such as Chang Lan, Huang Yen-p'ei, Liang Shu-ming (qq.v.), and others to form a political third force in an effort to maintain the united front during the war. These various opposition elements joined forces in 1941 to form the League of Chinese Democratic Political Groups. In October 1944 that federation held a congress at Chungking and was reorganized as the China Democratic League, with Chang Lan as its chairman. In the spring of 1945, as a representative of the league, Carsun Chang was appointed by the National Government as a member of the Chinese delegation to the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco, California. In October 1945, when the China Democratic League held another congress at Chungking, he was elected to its central committee and made head of its committee on foreign relations. In January 1946, when the abortive Political Consultative Conference was convened at Chungking, Carsun Chang, who was then on the way to England from the United States, was called to attend as one of the four representatives of the China Democratic League; the others were Chang Lan, Chang Tung-sun, and Lo Lung-chi. He hastened back to China and arrived in time to attend the second session of the conference.
While in San Francisco in 1945, Carsun Chang had met Li Ta-ming, a leader of the Democratic Constitutional party then headed by Wu Hsien-tzu. That group was the direct successor of the Monarchist party [pao-huang tang] of K'ang Yu-wei and Liang Ch'i-ch'ao, but had removed the royalist element implied in the original party because of the establishment of the republic in China. Carsun Chang and Li Ta-ming had then discussed possible amalgamation of their parties. In August 1946, at a meeting held at Shanghai, the National Socialist party of Carsun Chang and the Democratic Constitutional party of Li Ta-ming and Wu Hsien-tzu combined to form the new Democratic Socialist party. That party's platform opposed civil war and one-party or oneclass dictatorship and advocated national unity under a central government and state socialism in major industries. As the national landscape in China was increasingly dominated by civil war after 1947, the leaders of the China Democratic League, which had been outlawed by the National Government, moved increasingly toward acceptance of the general political program outlined by the Chinese Communist party. Carsun Chang remained at Nanking, however, and continued to argue for constitutionalism as the situation eroded. He finally left Shanghai on 25 April 1949 and moved to the Portugese colony of Macao off the south China coast.
In October 1949, when the Central People's Government was established at Peking, Chang went to India to lecture on philosophy at the invitation of the Indian ministry of education. On 24 May 1950 he announced his resignation as chairman of the Democratic Socialist party. In March 1952 he arrived in Hong Kong, where his name was for a time linked with those of Chang Fa-k'uei and Ku Meng-yu (qq.v.) in the possible formation of a third force movement. In April 1952 Carsun Chang flew from Hong Kong to Japan, whence he moved to the United States. His political autobiography was published in New York in 1952. Entitled Third Force in China, the book offers an interpretive account of events in China from Sun Yat-sen to Mao Tse-tung and provides a not unbiased account of the personal role of Carsun Chang in recent Chinese political history. The book has been described as being critical of Chiang Kai-shek, of United States wartime and postwar policy toward China, and of the Chinese Communists as betraying China's tradition.
After 1952 Carsun Chang devoted himself largely to writing on Chinese philosophy. His best-known study is an historical survey, The Development of Neo-Confucian Thought, published in two volumes (1957, 1962), a work which is of interest partly because its author views himself as a twentieth-century Neo-Confucianist. The work is a detailed, interpretive history of this stream in Chinese philosophy from T'ang and Sung times, incorporating many brief translations and stressing comparisons and contrasts with Western thought. An article entitled "The Significance of Mencius," which appeared in 1958 in the journal Philosophy East and West, suggested that Mencius had a greater influence on Chinese thought than did Confucius and noted some analogies between the thought of Mencius and that of such thinkers as Plato and Kant. The great Ming dynasty Neo-Confucian thinker Wang Yang-ming also has been the subject of Chang's attention in recent years. An article on Wang in Philosophy East and West offered a brief, non-technical interpretation of his philosophy; Chang's book on the subject was published in 1962 under the title Wang Yang-ming: Idealist Philosopher of Sixteenth- Century China. Carsun Chang's interesting essay regarding the Ming-li Van, a 1631 text on logic by the seventeenth-century Chinese Christian scholar, Li Chih-tsao (ECCP, I, 452-54), appeared in the Hong Kong magazine Tsai-sheng in March 1954. He also wrote China and Gandhian India, which was published in Calcutta in 1956.
张嘉森（1886——）,二十世纪初年致力于立宪政府，是支持梁启超的主 张和活动的首要人物。他在中国集中精力于文化教育活动而显露头角。他曾在 德国学习哲学，是1923年科学与玄学之争的头面人物。1930年，他反对国民党 的一党政治而创设了国家社会党。1952年后他迁住美国。
张嘉森出身在江苏宝山一个相当富裕的家庭，他是张嘉璈的长兄，早年受 塾师的儒家教育，塾师中颇有几个该地区的知名学者。1901年，他们兄弟两人 一起进上海广方言馆，在那里受了中等教育，开始学德文。
张嘉森在成长时期中，对改革家康有为、梁启超的政治理论发生兴趣。 1905年到1909年，他在东京早稻田大学学习法律和政治经济。1907年他加入了 梁启超这一派人在东京设立的政闻社，筹划建立立宪政府。1908年总部迁在上 海，张嘉森等社员继续在日本主持社务，他与梁启超通讯，支持梁的立宪政府 的主张。
1909年他自早稻田大学毕业后回国，通过自1905年废除科举后清政府举办 的甄别留学生的考试而获得进士衔，任翰林院编修（后期的进士被一般经艰苦 努力由正式科举取得进士的老一辈人视为微不足道）。1911年张任《津京新 报》主笔，他和梁启超这一派人过往甚密，他们要进一步支持清廷筹设新国 会。1912年武昌起义，民国成立后，他在上海遇到梁漱溟、汤化龙、孙洪伊和 其他一些梁启超派的人物，筹划成立立宪国会，并拟建立政党来完成这项任 务。1912年12月梁启超主办《庸言》报，张嘉森任副主笔，经常撰稿。
1913年张嘉森去欧洲研究西方哲学，他的政治活动暂时中止。1913年到 1915年，他在柏林大学。离德国后又去英国研究数月。1916年离英回国时，他 深信德国必将战败，竭力主张中国加入另一方参战。回国后，他在杭州任浙江 省公署交涉署长。他和梁启超讨论中国的参战问题和中国的政治形势。1916年 底、1917年初，张嘉森代梁启超探听张勋、冯国璋的主张，因为梁启超想在北 京发挥作用而受到段祺瑞的干扰，不少知识界人士对在现存政府控制下使国家 复兴这一点日益增加了怀疑，许多人从此退出了政界。其中有一个叫张东荪 的，去上海主编一份独立性的《时事新报》，张嘉森亦参与其事而当了经理。 他赞同梁启超要重视文教工作的主张，1918年又在北京大学教书。同年年底, 梁启超以非官方代表的身份去欧洲参加巴黎和会，随同他的有他的一些好友， 其中有张嘉森、蒋方震、丁文江。战后的几年中，从1919年到1922年，他在德 国柏林耶拿大学从鲁道夫•倭铿学哲学。倭铿注重对人类道德责任感的研究， 吸引了张嘉森的兴趣，他们两人合作写了一本《中国和欧洲的人生问题》， 1922年在来比锡出版。张对法国哲学家柏格森也很注意，他从柏格森的著作中 发现作者的论述支持了他关于孔子人性论的观点。张在耶拿不仅学哲学，而且 又旁听法学家卡尔•柯尔齐的课，增长了有关欧洲政治思想和政体的知识，如德国的国家社会主义、俄国的共产主义以及英国的议会政府。他又密切注视当 代欧洲的发展，例如匈牙利贝拉•孔的独裁制和共产国际的早期活动。
张嘉森由共学社委托遨请德国哲学家生物学家汉•德莱塞来中国讲学。共 学社是由梁启超发起的，它的宗旨是请西方的名学者来中国讲学。人所共知， 德莱塞致力于具有生命力的生物学，而对远离现代科学观点的机械设想不屑一 顾，德莱塞对中国的知识界产生了巨大的影响。张嘉森回国后在北京当他的翻 译，以后张本人又由清华大学学生邀去作演讲。接着1923年2月的《清华周 报》上刊载了一篇题为“人生观”的著名的讲演，引起许多中国的颖悟之士参 加了这一场生动的、发人深思的辩论。张嘉森提出的这个课题是受倭铿《人生问 题》（1890年莱比锡出版，1909年英译本在纽约出版）一书启发。这本书的要 点是在说明科学只注重事物的客观世界，对解决人类的精神生活则无能为力， 而且科学导致欧洲文明趋于实利主义而使道德败坏。张嘉森宣称，明智的人生 哲学不是依靠科学规律来决定，而是应该依靠人类的直觉和自由意志。因为张 对科学方法进行攻击，所以丁文江著文驳斥张嘉森的论点，极力维护科学对人 类的精神生活和大学教育的价值。张东荪、胡适、梁启超和其他当时的知名人 ±,都参加了这次辩论，1923年底曾岀版了《科学与人生观》论文集二册，收 集了当时参加辩论的重要文章。
1923年江苏省长韩国钧聘他去上海任国立自治学院院长，张嘉森将该校改 为国立政治大学，入学条件和学业都很严格。请了一些名人到校讲课，如张东 荪、张东荪的大哥张尔田、潘光旦、吴国桢等人。张嘉森本人讲授的题材极 多，其中包括当时的政局。他有关中国当时内战形势分析的六次演讲稿，1924 年由该校出版，题为《国内战争六讲》。军事形势的迅速转变，在张嘉森面前 提出了新的问题。1926年11月，他在汉口花了十天时间考察国民党政府和估计 北伐的前途。他回到上海后，发表了他的观感《武汉见闻》，并在政法大学公 开发表他的见解。他预见到北洋军阀的崩溃和国民党共产党的分裂，他还反对 国民党的一党制，力劝学生们要严守民主原则，他的民主原则即是西方的议会 民主。
1927年3月北伐军到达上海，由于他的政见不同，又和梁启超等反对派别在一起，张嘉森被视为“不受欢迎的人”,国民党封闭了国立政治大学。国民 政府在南京成立后，张嘉森和他的朋友在上海秘密出版《新路》杂志，反对国 民党的训政一党制，强烈要求政府实行多党制，允许发展民主政治。由于这些 活动，国民党当局将他拘留，由上海警备司令部将他软禁在家，禁闭了一个月 之后获释。据他在1952年出版的《中国的第三势力》一书中所述，他“被迫出 国。”
1927年到1931年张嘉森的活动不多，他过着隐居生活，据说他致力于阅读 和翻译亨利•拉斯基的《政治入门》一书。他仍和在北京讲授中国历史的梁启 超保持联系。1928年9月，他给梁启超的信中说到，他听说丁文江自国民党占 据上海后过着半隐居的生活。1929年到1931年，他又到德国去，在耶拿大学可 能还在柏林大学研究哲学并讲授中国哲学。
1931年张回国，9月17日到北平，那正是沈阳事变的前夕。他重新从事政 治活动，力图在中国建立民主政府。他经旧友燕京大学哲学教授张东荪介绍 那年冬夭才能在燕京讲课。1932年4月，一批热衷于组织政党的人在北平会 面，人数约有百余名，他们大都是大学教授和梁启超的旧友，张被举为新组政 党的秘书长，出版《再生》杂志宣传他们的政治纲领。当时南京国民政府禁止 成立政见不同的政治团体，所以他们的社团是非法的，一直到1938年都处于秘 密的地位。张嘉森躲开国民党特工人员的追踪，奔走于北平、香港之间，征集 会员。
1934年秋，张和他的支持者在天津召开全国会议，正式宣布成立国家社会 党。这个新党的名称和德国希特勒的政党名称不幸相同以致混淆，这是偶然巧 合。在他的政治报告中，强调中国受日本侵略的危险，号召增强国防。全国会 议之后，他去山西会见该省统治老手阎锡山讨论国防问题。为了扩大新党的势 力，张等还与一些退居的军政人士接触。
1934年张嘉森去广州，受到华南有势力的军人陈济棠的款待，陈请他在中 山大学讲学。在陈济棠的庇护下，他在广州设立学海书堂，从中山大学和岭南 大学聘来教师，准备培养学生和军人。1936年夏，广州形势突然变化，南京当 局准备取消反叛的西南政治会议，陈济棠失势，学海书堂解散,张嘉森从广州逃到上海避难。在1936年召开的国家社会党第二次全国代表会议上，张再次当 选为秘书长。同年出版了他的名著之一《明日之中国文化》，对欧洲、印度、 中国的文化作了比较和研究。他认为欧洲长于科学和自由，印度长于先验的玄 学，而中国则着重人伦。他根据梁启超等人在1918-1919年间提出的观点， 认为中国的改革，必须从人性的观点出发，必须建立一种新文化，作为一种新 的政治经济制度的基础。为了建立这种新文化，必须注意欧洲宗教改革后的文 化，应该采纳那个活跃时期的精神，而不是它的形式，把它溶化到中国的传统文化中去。
1937年中日战争爆发后，张嘉森和其他中国小政党的领导人一样，不再反 对蒋介石而致力于民族团结的事业。同年8月，他接受国民政府的遨请到南京 担任国防咨询会议委员。 1938年随同政府去汉口，他以国家社会党七个代表之 一参加国民参政会。他和蒋介石就统一战线问题多次交换信件后，国家社会党 必为官方所承认。1938年5月到7月，他在汉口作了一系列有关国家社会主义 原理的讲演，后来将这些讲演汇集成册，出版了《立国之道》一书，阐明国家 社会党的宗旨，他的基本主张是在中国推行改良的西方民主政府的议会制度和 改良的国家社会主义的体制。在民主制度的结构里，政党有行动自由，彼此友 好地竞争，而不得彼此破坏或破坏政府制度。公民都有言论和参政的自由。根 据国家宪法由国民代表会议选定，组成中央行政院的成员，并制定行政院执行 的施政纲领。政府人员除各部首脑外，都应是无党派的人士。在他的社会主义 纲领里，张嘉森主张钢铁、矿藏、水力发电厂、交通等重工业由国家控制，同 时，国家必须监督纺织等大工业（倘不是国有的）。在各经济领域内对国家无“损害”的私营企业应允许存在。
1939年张嘉森随国民政府迁到重庆，他企图通过教育以促进民族主义。由政府支持并经军事委员会资助，创办了“民族文化学院”，张担任该院院长， 董事会由陈布雷等国民党的要人组成，1939年7月在重庆正式开学，张嘉森亲 自讲哲学。该校特别注重民族主义的思想教育。1940年，他随同学院迁往云南 大理，由省主席龙云提供校舍。1941年，在云南的学生不满情绪增长，引起了 新的纠纷。国家社会党常委罗隆基，那时在昆明西南联合大学，被斥为煽动学生反政府情绪的主使人，因此，国家社会党的首脑张嘉森亦被怀疑。1941年12 月，张去重庆参加国民参政会时，奉命留在重庆,1942年春，大理的学院由政府 下令关闭。
当时在中国政界中最令人注意的事件是国民党、共产党间统一战线的破 裂。张嘉森和中国青年党的左舜生以及其他小党派的政界人物如张澜、黄炎 培、梁漱溟等人形成了一股第三政治势力，力求在战争期间能保持统一战线。 这些反对派人士在1941年组成了中国民主政团同盟，1944年10月在重庆开会， 改组为中国民主同盟，以张澜为主席。1945年春，国民政府派民盟代表张嘉森 为中国代表团成员，出席在加利福尼亚旧金山召开的联合国国际组织会议。 1945年10月，中国民主同盟在重庆召开另一次大会，张嘉森被选为中央委员， 负责外事。1946年1月，那个后来流产的政治协商会议在重庆开会，张嘉森被 指定为出席会议的民盟四个代表之一，其他三人是张澜、张东荪、罗隆基。当 时他正在从美国去英国途中，由于他赶回国内，参加了会议的第二次会议。
1945年张嘉森在旧金山遇见了民主立宪党的领导人李大明，当时该党的党 魁是伍宪子。这个党是康梁保皇党的直接继承者，由于民国的成立而取消了忠 君的内容，张嘉森和李大明当时讨论了两党合并的可能性。1946年8月，张嘉 森的国家社会党和李大明、伍宪子的民主立宪党合并组成新的民主社会党。他 们的政纲宣称，反对内战，反对一党专政或一个阶级专政，主张在中央政府领 导下的国家统一和大工业的国家社会主义化。1947年后，国内形势笼罩着日益 加剧的内战危机，民主同盟被政府宣布为非法，同盟的领导人日益接受中国共 产党提出的政治总纲。当形势更为恶化时，张嘉森仍留在南京，继续为争取宪 政而努力。1949年4月25日,他离开上海去葡属澳门。
1949年10月，当中央人民政府在北京成立时，他由印度教育部请去印度讲 哲学。1950年5月24日宣布辞去民主社会党主席职务。1952年8月，他到香 港，他的名字一度与张发奎、顾孟余等联在一起，准备发起一个第三势力的运 动。4月，他由香港飞往日本，又由日本去美国。他的政治生涯的自传《中国 的第三势力》1952年于纽约出版。在这本书中，他阐述了从孙逸仙到毛泽东这 个阶段在中国发生的事件，而对他个人在现代中国政治历史中的作用的阐述并不是没有偏见的。这本书被认为是对蒋介石以及对美国的战时和战后对华政策 的谴责，又谴责了中国共产党背叛中国传统。
1952年后，张嘉森以大部分精力从事哲学著述。他最著名的著作是一本历 史性的概述《理学的发展》二卷，分别在1957年、1962年出版。这本书之所以 引人注意，部分地是因为作者自认为是二十世纪的理学家。这本书详尽阐述了 从唐到宋的中国哲学，附有不少简短的译文以及与西方思想作对比的阐述。他 于1958年在《东西方哲学》杂志上发表的文章《孟子要义》，称孟子为对中国 思想影响最大的儒家，他的思想与柏拉图、康德等思想家有类似的地方。明代 大理学家王阳明也是张嘉森近年来注意研究的对象。《东西方哲学》杂志登了 他的一篇论王阳明的文章，对王阳明的哲学作了简要通俗的解说。他在1962年 出版了关于王阳明的书,书名为《王阳明：十六世纪中国的理想主义哲学家》。 1954年8月，他在香港《再生》杂志上发表的一篇题为《名理谈》的有意义的 文章，列举了十七世纪基督教学者李之藻的1631个逻辑例证。1956年他还写了 一篇《中国和甘地主义的印度》，在加尔各答发表。