Steven Pincus

The Thomas E. Donnelley Professor
Department of History and the College

Steven Pincus is a historian of Britain and its empire, of comparative revolutions and empires, and of northern Europe more broadly. His most recent publication, The Heart of the Declaration: The Founders’ Case for an Activist Government (Yale University Press, 2016), argues that by placing the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence in an imperial rather than proto-national context it becomes clear that Americans broke away from Britain not because they resented the imperial state, but because they wanted a different kind of state, one that would actively promote social and economic prosperity and equality. An earlier major monograph, 1688: The First Modern Revolution (Yale, 2009), received a number of best book honors and offered both a major revisionist account of England’s Glorious Revolution and a reappraisal of the literature on revolutions more broadly. He is currently working on a global history of the British Empire, circa 1650–1784, which is based on research in a wide range of European, North American, and West Indian archives.

Pincus holds a BA in history and classical archaeology from Dartmouth College, and an AM and PhD in history from Harvard University. He returns to the University of Chicago from Yale University, where he was the Bradford Durfee Professor of History and co-director of the Center for Historical Enquiry and the Social Sciences.

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