About American Commonwealth

I am a psychiatrist and historian who writes about the origins of our present political discontents and solutions to them.

One belief I hold dear is that ethical leadership is the glue that holds democracies together. As ethical values go––for example, civility, respect, fairness, truth-telling, nation over party, playing by the rules, compromise, and moral courage––so goes the democracy.

That is why if we wish to live in a democracy governed by peace and freedom, we have no choice but to be always demanding these values from leaders and citizens alike.

I write about these topics, with a special emphasis on the lessons of history, and welcome you to subscribe and share your ideas.

My Background and Books

I got two degrees from Yale, one from Stanford, and one from Case Western Reserve. I am currently a research professor in the Department of Political Science at Vanderbilt University.

My book Disunion Among Ourselves: The Perilous Politics of the American Revolution is scheduled for release in mid-2023.

I am currently at work on two other writing projects. One is a collection of essays called Demagogue in the White House: Lessons Learned from the Presidency of Donald J. Trump. The other is a collection of inspiring quotations about democracy derived from speeches given by world leaders at the Summit for Democracy. It is entitled Global Words on Democracy: Wisdom and Warnings from the First International Summit on Democracy.

Why Subscribe

  • To deepen your understanding of democracy and democratic values

  • To be active in the fight against corruption, demagoguery, and authoritarianism

  • To empower the next generation (children, grandchildren, students, young adults) to fight hard but fair for freedom, justice, and equality

  • And, not least, for the love of history

Subscribe to American Commonwealth

American Commonwealth is a newsletter about history, politics, and the democratic values we must embrace––and hand down to the next generation––in order to sustain our free form of government.


I am a doctor and political historian who is convinced that ethical democratic values are the glue that holds free government together. History teaches that when these values dissipate democracies descend into demagoguery, corruption, and violence.