Phillip W. Magness

Historian – 19th century United States



Dr. Phillip W. Magness is a historian based in the Washington, D.C. region. He specializes in the mid and late 19th century United States, with a dual emphasis upon slavery & abolitionism and the history of capitalism. His writings on these subjects have appeared in multiple scholarly and popular venues, including the Journal of the Early Republic, the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, Slavery & Abolition, Constitutional Political Economy,, the History News Network, and the New York Times.

Outside of his writing on the Civil War, Magness is an Academic Program Director at  the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University. Having previously taught at American University in Washington, D.C., he is also faculty at GMU’s School of Public Policy. You can often find him blogging about American history and current issues in higher education at Kosmos Online. He is also an avid SCUBA diver and plays Underwater Hockey for the Washington, D.C. Beltway Bottomfeeders.

Magness holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. He obtained his MPP and Ph.D. from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, specializing in policy history.


Other works by Phil Magness:

Morrill and the Missing Industries: Strategic Lobbying Behavior and the Tariff, 1858-1861, Journal of the Early Republic, Summer 2009

Constitutional tariffs, incidental protection, and the Laffer relationship, Constitutional Political Economy, 2008

Benjamin Butler’s Colonization Testimony Re-evaluated, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, 2008

From Tariffs to the Income Tax: Trade Protection and Revenue in the United States Tax System Dissertation, now available on Kindle

Review: Lincoln on Race and Slavery, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society. Vol. 108, No. 4, Fall 2010

James Mitchell and the Mystery of the Emigration Office Papers, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, Vol. 32, No. 2, Summer 2011



Podcast on the history of the Income Tax Amendment with, April 15, 2011

The Career of Abolitionist John Willis Menard, C-Span American History Television, February 15, 2012

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