Phillip W. Magness

U.S. Economic & Political History


Phillip W. Magness, PhD

Email: philwmagness (at) gmail-dot-com, phil.magness (at) aier-dot-org


2010   Ph.D., Public Policy, George Mason University (Fields: Economic & Policy History, Political Economy, and International Trade)
2004   MPP, George Mason University
2003   B.A., Political Science, University of St. Thomas (Houston, Texas), Minors: Economics & Philosophy


2018-current  Senior Research Fellow, American Institute for Economic Research
2017-2018  Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics, Berry College
2010-2017  Adjunct Professor of International Commerce and Policy, George Mason University
2010-2017  Academic Program Director, Institute for Humane Studies, George Mason University
2008-2010  Lecturer, School of Public Affairs, American University


  • Economic History
  • Slavery and the U.S. Civil War Era
  • International Trade
  • Inequality & Taxation
  • Higher Education Policy
  • History of Economic Thought


The 1619 Project: A Critique. (American Institute for Economic Research, 2020).

Cracks in the Ivory Tower: The Moral Mess of Higher Education. Co-authored with Jason Brennan. (Oxford University Press, 2019).

What is Classical Liberal History? Co-authored/edited with Michael J. Douma. (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018)

Colonization after Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement. Co-authored with Sebastian N. Page. (University of Missouri Press, 2011)

The Rules of the Game: How Government Works and Why it Sometimes Doesn’tCo-authored with Paul Weissburg. (The Modern Scholar, 2011)


“The Bias Against Presidential Restraint.” Co-authored with Vincent Geloso and Frank Garmon. Social Science Journal (forthcoming, 2020)

The Great Overestimation: Tax Data and Inequality Measurements in the United States, 1913-1943.” Co-authored with Vincent Geloso. Economic Inquiry (April 2020).

The anti-discriminatory tradition in Virginia school public choice theory.” Public Choice. James M. Buchanan Centennial Issue. (March 2020).

John Maynard Keynes, H.G. Wells, and a Problematic Utopia.” Co-authored with James Harrigan. History of Political Economy (Spring 2020)

Detecting Historical Inequality Patterns: A Replication of Thomas Piketty’s Wealth Concentration Estimates for the United Kingdom.” Social Science Quarterly (Summer 2019)

School Vouchers, Segregation, and Consumer Sovereignty.” Co-authored with Chris Surprenant. Journal of School Choice (Spring 2019)

James M. Buchanan and the Political Economy of Desegregation,” Co-authored with Art Carden and Vincent Geloso. Southern Economic Journal (January 2019)

Lincoln’s Swing State Strategy: Tariff Surrogates and the Pennsylvania Election of 1860” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, (January 2019)

Inequality, Prosperity, and Fiscal Policy: A Case for Caution in Interpreting Income Distributions.” International Trade Journal (September 2018)

Market-Based Measurement for School Achievement” Co-authored with Chris Surprenant. Journal of Markets and Morality, (Fall 2018)

Between Evidence, Rumor, and Perception: Marshal Lamon and the ‘Plot’ to Arrest Chief Justice Taney” Journal of Supreme Court History. (July 2017)

The Economic Eugenicism of John Maynard Keynes,” Co-authored with Sean J. Hernandez. Journal of Markets and Morality. (July 2017)

“Are Adjuncts Exploited?: Some Grounds for Skepticism.” Co-authored with Jason Brennan. Journal of Business Ethics. (Spring 2017).

For-Profit Universities and the roots of Adjunctification in U.S. Higher Education.” Liberal Education. (Spring 2016).

“Estimating the Cost of Adjunct Justice: A Case Study in University Business Ethics.” Co-authored with Jason Brennan. Journal of Business Ethics. (January, 2016)

The American System and the Political Economy of Black Colonization.” Journal of the History of Economic Thought, (June 2015).

Challenging the Empirical Contributions of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century.” Co-authored with Robert P. Murphy. Journal of Private Enterprise, (Spring 2015)

The British Honduras Colony: Black Emigrationist Support for Colonization in the Lincoln Presidency.” Slavery & Abolition, 34-1 (March 2013)

Mitchell and the Mystery of the U.S. Emigration Office Papers.Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, 32-2 (Summer 2011)

Morrill and the Missing Industries: Strategic Lobbying Behavior and the Tariff of 1861.Journal of the Early Republic, 29 (Summer 2009).

Constitutional Tariffs, Incidental Protection, and the Laffer Relationship.” Constitutional Political Economy, 20 (Winter 2008).

Benjamin Butler’s Colonization Testimony Reevaluated.” Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, 29-1 (Winter 2008).

“Growing Government Demands for Accountability vs. Independence in the University.” Co-authored with A. Lee Fritschler & Paul Weissburg, Liberal Education, 94-4 (2008).


“Taxation and Inequality as Economic History” in G.P. Manish and Stephen C. Miller, eds. Income Inequality (forthcoming, Routledge 2020)

New Research Avenues in the Foreign Relations of the Late Antebellum and Civil War Era” in Christopher Dietrich, ed. Companion to the History of U.S. Foreign Relations(Wiley-Blackwell, April 2020)

“The Myth that School Choice has Racist Origins.” in Neal McCluskey and Corey DeAngelis, eds. School Choice Myths: Setting the Record Straight on Education Freedom. (Cato Institute Press, 2020)

A Paradox of Secessionism: Slavery and the Confederate Security State” in Joshua Hall and Marcus Witcher, eds. Public Choice Analyses of American Economic History, (Springer, 2018)

“The Changing Legacy of Civil War Colonization” in Beverly Tomek and Matthew Hetrick, eds. New Directions in the Study of African American Recolonization. (University Press of Florida, 2017)

“Empirical Critiques of Thomas Piketty,” Co-authored with Robert P. Murphy, in Emmanuel Martin, ed. Anti-Piketty: Capital for the 21st Century (Libre Echange, 2015; Cato Institute Press, 2017)

“Tariffs and the American Civil War” in the Essential Civil War Curriculum. (May 2017)

“Abraham Lincoln and Colonization” in the Essential Civil War Curriculum. (February 2016)

“Changing Relationships with Governments in Europe and the US: Balancing Quality Concerns with the Desire for Intellectual Independence in the University.” Co-authored with A. Lee Fritschler and Paul Weissburg, in Rovio-Johansson, ed. Essays on Supportive Peer Review. (NOVA Science, 2008)


Research Grant – The Economics of School Choice and Segregation, Center for the Study of Free Enterprise, Western Carolina University (2017-2018)

Research Grant – Origins of Economic Prosperity, Free Market Institute, Texas Tech University (2017)

Best Article Award (with Robert P. Murphy), Journal of Private Enterprise, Association of Private Enterprise Educators (2016)

Benjamin Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society (2012)

Albert J. Beveridge Grant, American Historical Association (2011)

Doctoral Research Grant, George Mason University (2009)

Doctoral Research Grant, George Mason University (2007)

Graduate Instructor Teaching Commendation, George Mason University (2006)

Alexis de Tocqueville Award for outstanding MPP graduate, George Mason University (2004)


The Adjunct Underclass” by Herb Childress. Journal of Value Inquiry (Summer 2020)

One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America” by Kevin M. Kruse. The Independent Review. (June 2020)

Overturning Brown: The Segregationist Legacy of the Modern School Choice Movement” by Steve Suitts. Reason (June 2020)

Free Enterprise: An American History” by Lawrence Glickman. Law & Liberty (December 23, 2019)

Lobbyists and the Making of US Tariff Policy, 1816-1861” by Daniel Peart. The Historian (December 2019)

The Case Against Socialism” by Rand Paul. National Review (December 19, 2019)

Lincoln and Liberty,” by Lucas E. Morel, ed. in Pennsylvania History (Fall 2019)

Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism” by Quinn Slobodian. Reason (January 2019)

The Contradictions of Capital in the Twenty-First Century” by Pat Hudson and Keith Tribe, eds. Economic History Review (October, 2018)

The Progressive Legacy Rolls On: A Critique of Steinbaum and Weisberger on Illiberal Reformers. Econ Journal Watch, Vol. 15-1 (January 2018)

“Democracy in Chains” by Nancy MacLean. Review co-authored with Art Carden. Regulation (July 2017)

“Lincoln and the Politics of Slavery: The Other Thirteenth Amendment and the Struggle to Save the Union” by Daniel Crofts, Reviews in History (February, 2017)

Lincoln’s Dilemma,” by Paul Escott, North Carolina Historical Review (October 2016)

“Exploring Lincoln,” by Holzer, Symonds, and Williams, eds. Journal of Southern History (August 2016)

“William Wells Brown: An African-American Life” by Ezra Greenspan, Missouri Historical Review (Fall 2016)

Slavery, Race, and Conquest in the Tropics” by Robert E. May, Reviews in History (January, 2015)

Making the Modern American Fiscal State” by Ajay K. Mehrotra, (November 2014)

Lincoln and McClellan at War” by Chester G. Hearn, North Carolina Historical Review (January 2014)

Slaves for Hire” by John J. Zaborney, Virginia Magazine of History, (Summer 2013)

“Colonization and its Discontents” by Beverly Tomek, Civil War History, (March 2013)

Lincoln and the Border States” by William C. Harris, North Carolina Historical Review (July 2012)

“Lincoln on Race and Slavery” by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, (Summer 2011)


G. Warren Nutter. The Strange World of Ivan Ivanov.(American Institute for Economic Research, 2019)

Karl Marx. The Best of Karl Marx. History of Economic Thought Series (American Institute for Economic Research, 2019)

Lysander Spooner. Public Letters and Political Essays. History of Economic Thought Series (American Institute for Economic Research, 2019)

Lysander Spooner [1876]. Two Treatises on Competitive Currency and Banking. History of Economic Thought Series. (American Institute for Economic Research, 2018)


“Interpreted as It Ought to Be” National Review, July 27, 2020

Sweden’s Lockdown Paradox” Politico, June 9, 2020

Does Classical Liberalism Need Intersectionality Theory?” Cato Unbound, May 2020.

The IRS Proves the Left’s Favorite Economists Wrong” co-authored with Stephen C. Miller. Wall Street Journal, March 12, 2020.

How the 1619 Project Rehabilitates the ‘King Cotton’ Thesis” National Review, August 26, 2019

William Leggett: Free Trade, Hard Money, and Abolitionism” Online Library of Liberty, July 2019

Social Justice, Public Goods, and Rent-Seeking Narratives.” co-authored with Vincent Geloso. Independent Review (Summer 2019)

School Vouchers and the Inverse-Hirschman Scenario.” Library of Economics and Liberty, December 4, 2017

No, the Electoral College Isn’t, November 15, 2017

The Progressive Tax MythU.S. News and World Report, October 31, 2017

We Can’t Stop Hurricanes, but here’s how to limit the damage” co-authored with Benjamin Powell. September 11, 2017

Don’t blame sprawl for Houston’s floodsHouston Chronicle, September 4, 2017

Finding Social Darwinism in the Assault on Sumner’s Laissez Faire” Online Library of Liberty, July 2017

Are Full-Time Faculty Being Adjunctified? Recent Data Show Otherwise.” James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, May 19, 2017

Alexander Hamilton as Immigrant.” The Independent Review (Spring 2017)

How libertarians should think about the Civil War,” Newsweek, July 18, 2015

How we should remember Lincoln,” Daily Caller, July 19, 2013

The Ile a Vache: From Hope to Disaster,” New York Times “Disunion” series, April 12, 2013

A Separate Peace,” New York Times “Disunion” series, January 8, 2013

Wither Liberia? Civil War Emancipation and Freedmen Resettlement in West Africa,” The Civil War Monitor, November 2012

Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Johnson” Co-authored with Sebastian N. Page. New York Times “Disunion” series, February 3, 2012

Lincoln and Black Colonization after Emancipation,”, April 11, 2011

Lincoln and Colonization: Navigating the Evidence.” Co-authored with Sebastian N. Page. History News Network, March 20, 2011


“Revisiting the Inequality U-Curve,” Western Carolina University, March 17, 2018

“James M. Buchanan and the Economics of School Choice,” Dickinson College, March 7, 2018

“The Economics of Inequality and Taxation,” Troy University, February 9, 2018

“Income Inequality and Poverty: Is the American Dream in Crisis?” Metropolitan State University of Denver, (November 9, 2017)

John Maynard Keynes, H.G. Wells, and a Problematic Utopia” Department of Economics – History of Political Economy Seminar, Duke University, September 29, 2017

“The Political Economy of Higher Education,” Department of Economics, San Jose State University (October 17, 2016)

“Inequality in Piketty and Beyond,” Department of Political Science, University of Washington (May 6, 2016)

“Slavery, Westward Expansion, and Liberty in Texas: From the Alamo to the Civil War,” Free Market Institute, Texas Tech University (February 6, 2016)

“Slavery and Capitalism: Partners or Antagonists?,” Political Economy Project, Towson University (April 7, 2015)

“Picking Apart Piketty,” Strata, Utah State University (March 3, 2015)

“The Constitutional Havoc of the Income Tax Amendment,” Free Market Institute, Texas Tech University (January 30, 2015)

“Challenging the Legend of Abraham Lincoln: Plans for Colonization after Emancipation,” Centre for the Study of International Slavery, University of Liverpool (October 2, 2014)

Symposium on Alexander Crummell, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Washington D.C. (September 10, 2014)

“The Political Economy of Colonization from Mathew Carey to Abraham Lincoln” Symposium on American Political Economy from the Age of Jackson to the Civil War. Bowdoin College (October 19-20, 2013)

“The American Civil War: A Classical Liberal View” Institute of Economic Affairs, London (October 9, 2013)

“Emancipation and its Corollaries: Contextualizing Compensation, Colonization, and Black Soldiers in Lincoln’s Proclamation,” Benjamin P. Thomas Symposium Lecture, Abraham Lincoln Association, Springfield, IL (February 12, 2013)

Speaker, 5th Annual Civil War Study Group Symposium, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, IL (September 15, 2012)

“D.C. Emancipation: The Struggle for Freedom,” 150th Anniversary Commemoration of the District of Columbia Emancipation Act, National Archives Lecture Series, Washington, D.C. (April 18, 2012)

Emancipation, Emigration, and Revolt: John Willis Menard, the American Civil War, and the Jamaican uprising of 1865.” Black History Month Lecture Series, United States Capitol Historical Society, Washington, DC (February 15, 2012)

“African Americans and Lincoln: The Colonization Debate.” Lecture sponsored by the Afro-American History Society, National Archives and Records Administration Annex, College Park, MD (October 19, 2011).”

“Lincoln and Haiti: Colonization and Haitian Recognition During the Civil War,” National Archives Lecture Series, Washington, D.C., (December 2, 2010).


“Back From the Future: John Maynard Keynes, H.G. Wells, and a Problematic Utopia” Co-authored with James R. Harrigan. History of Economics Society, Toronto, ON (June 23-25, 2017)

“A Problem of Measurement: Inequality vs. Tax Incidence in Early 20th Century Tax Data” Public Choice Society, New Orleans, LA (March 2-5, 2017)

“The Economic Eugenicism of John Maynard Keynes,” Co-authored with Sean J. Hernandez, Association of Private Enterprise Education, Las Vegas, NV (April 3-5, 2016)

“Between Data and a Historical Narrative: An Evidentiary Critique of Wealth Inequality Trends,” Association of Private Enterprise Education, Cancun, Mexico (April 12-14, 2015)

“The Intellectual Legacy of South Royalton: IHS’s Seminar Program and the Reemergence of Austrian Thought” with Mario Villareal-Diaz and Scott King, Southern Economic Association, Atlanta, GA (November 22-24, 2014)

“The Disputed and Changing Legacy of Civil War Colonization,” Society of Civil War Historians Conference, Baltimore, MD (June 12-14, 2014)

“Slavery and the Security State” Association of Private Enterprise Education, Las Vegas, NV, (April 13-15, 2014)

“The Geography of Black Colonization and Emigration,” American Historical Association, Washington, DC (January 2-5, 2014)

“The Political Economy of Colonization: Mathew Carey, Henry Clay, and Abraham Lincoln,” History of Economics Society, Vancouver, BC (June 21, 2013)

“The 50th Anniversary of Man, Economy, and State,” Southern Economics Association, New Orleans, LA (November 2012)

“Protection and the Income Tax Amendment: Wall Street’s Reaction to the Tariff Debate of 1909” Policy History Conference, Richmond, VA (June 7, 2012)

“Between Evidence, Rumor, and Popular Perception: Marshal Lamon and the “Plot” to Arrest Chief Justice Taney” The Historical Society Conference, Columbia, SC (May 31, 2012)

“The African Civilization Society’s delegation to the Lincoln White House.” 96th Annual ASALH Convention, Richmond, VA (October 5-9, 2011).

“The British Honduras Settlement: Henry Highland Garnet and Black Emigrationist Support for Colonization.” Organization of American Historians Annual Conference, Houston, TX (March 18, 2011).

“Tariffs, Excises and the Volstead Act: The Political Economy of Prohibition.” Policy History Conference, Columbus, OH (June 4, 2010).

“Colonization after the Emancipation Proclamation.” 29th Annual Conference of the Indiana Association of Historians – “Lincoln’s Legacy,” Fort Wayne, IN (February 28, 2009).

“Policy Entrepreneurship and the Warehousing Act of 1846.” Washington, D.C. Legal History Roundtable, Georgetown University (September 19, 2008).

“Walker and the Warehousing Act: A Study in Entrepreneurship.” Policy History Conference, St. Louis, MO (May 30, 2008).

“Calhoun, Story, and Legislative Intent: the Laffer Relationship as a basis for the Constitution’s Revenue Clause.” Southern Political Science Association, New Orleans, LA, (January 11, 2008).


Racial Determinism and Immigration in the Works of Ludwig von Mises: A Critique of Slobodian’s Alt-Right Thesis” (November 2019)

The Bias Against Presidential Restraint” Co-authored with Vincent Geloso and Frank Garmon (January 2019)

Situating Southern Influences in James M. Buchanan and Modern Public Choice Economics” Co-authored with Art Carden and Vincent Geloso (July 2017)

How Pronounced is the U-Curve? Revisiting Income Inequality in the United States, 1917-1945” Co-authored with Vincent Geloso, John Moore, and Philip Schlosser (June 2017)

A Club to Beat Down the Tariff: The Political Economy of Tax Swaps and the Interest Group Origins of the 16th Amendment” (May 2016)

Lincoln, Colonization and Evidentiary Standards: A Response to Allen C. Guelzo” Co-authored with Sebastian N. Page (May 1, 2013)


The Contradictions of Fair Hope,” Documentary Film. Whoopi Goldberg, Narrator, Rockell Metcalf, Writer, and  S. Epatha Merkerson, Director/Producer (2012)

The Career of Abolitionist John Willis Menard,” C-Span American History TV, (Aired March 17, 2012)


  • Principles of Economics (Micro & Macro)
  • Applied Political Economy/Public Choice
  • International Trade/International Economics
  • Quantitative Research Methods
  • Research Methods for Policy Analysis
  • Public Administration

Advanced Topics:

  • Economic History/History of Capitalism
  • History of Economic Thought
  • Slavery, Abolition, and the U.S. Civil War Era
  • American Political History
  • Administrative History of the United States


Senior Scholar, Freedom Trust
Board of Advisers, Greater Mekong Research Center
Consultant, Organizational Management, Office of the Inspector General – U.S. Postal Service (2007)
Trade Policy Intern, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives (2004)


“From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System” George Mason University, (Defended October 2009)


Jack C. High (Chair)
A. Lee Fritschler
Kenneth A. Reinert
Peter J. Boettke
Thomas K. McCraw

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