Richard Hofstadter

(1916 - 1970)

Adapted from a lecture delivered at Oxford University, Richard Hofstadter’s “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” was excerpted in Harper’s Magazine in 1964; a longer version ran as the title essay in a book published the following year. The historian writes that the paranoid spokesman and conspiracy theorist “sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms—he traces in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values.” Hofstadter was the DeWitt Clinton Professor of American History at Columbia University.

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