Sean Wilentz studies U.S. political and social history. He received his Ph.D. in history from Yale University after earning bachelor’s degrees from Columbia University and Balliol College, Oxford University. His many books include Chants Democratic, The Kingdom of Matthias, The Key of Liberty; and the editor of several other books, including The Rose and the Briar, a collection of historical essays and artistic creations inspired by American ballads. His project The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln, was awarded the Bancroft Prize and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Subsequent books include The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008; Bob Dylan in America, and The Politicians & The Egalitarians: The Hidden History of American Politics, a thematic collection of essays covering American political history from the Revolution through the 1960s. His most recent study, No Property in Man: Slavery and Antislavery at the Nation’s Founding, was the recipient of the annual Thomas A. Cooley Book Prize for the best book on the Constitution, awarded by the Georgetown University Law Center. In 2020, the Library of America published the first of three projected volumes of his authoritative edition of the writings of the historian Richard Hofstadter. Professor Wilentz has received numerous fellowships from, among other institutions, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the American Academy in Berlin. Formerly a contributing editor to The New Republic, and currently a member of the editorial boards of Dissent and Democracy, he lectures frequently and has contributed some four hundred articles, reviews, and op-ed pieces to publications such as the New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, the London Review of Books, The American Scholar, The Nation, Le Monde, and Der Spiegel. He has also given congressional testimony, notably before the House Judiciary Committee in 1998. His writings on American music have earned him two Grammy nominations and two Deems Taylor-ASCAP awards.
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