“A university is not a service station. Neither is it a political society, nor a meeting place for political societies. With all its limitations and failures, and they are invariably many, it is the best and most benign side of our society insofar as that society aims to cherish the human mind."
Richard Hofstadter (1916–1970)
The historian Richard Hofstadter was a core member of the group of postwar Columbia intellectuals that included Lionel Trilling, Jacques Barzun, Robert Merton, and Daniel Bell. At a time when politics were assumed essentially to reflect economic interests, Hofstadter began studying alternative explanations for political conduct: unconscious motives, status anxieties, irrational hatreds, paranoia. Hofstadter wrote some of the most influential books to appear in American political and cultural history, among them The Age of Reform (1955) and Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (1963), both recognized with Pulitzer Prizes, and the celebrated The Paranoid Style in American Politics (1965). His American Political Tradition (1948), an enduring classic, remains today a standard work in both college and high-school history classes and has been read by millions outside the academy.