Phillip W. Magness

U.S. Economic & Political History



Dr. Phillip W. Magness is a historian based in the Washington, D.C. region. He specializes in the “long” 19th century, with a dual emphasis upon slavery and the history of American capitalism. He is a leading expert on black colonization during the Civil War era, and its sometimes-strained relationship with the African-American emigrationist movement of the same period. His other works have explored the economic history of the United States including historical tariff policy, the federal income tax, and the relationship between taxation and wealth inequality. He also researches the history and political economy of higher education and the American university system.

Magness’ research has 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 Journal of Business Ethics, and Liberal Education.

His popular press writings have appeared in Newsweek,, the History News Network, and the New York Times. He has fact-checked Politifact, discussed the economics of higher education on NPR’s Marketplace, and presented on Black Abolitionism for C-Span’s American History TV.

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. He currently teaches Public Policy at George Mason University.


Link to Curriculum Vitae


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

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