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Wilfred M. McClay

Contributing Editor

Wilfred M. McClay, a New Atlantis contributing editor, is the G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty at the University of Oklahoma. He is also a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a senior fellow at the Trinity Forum. From 2002 through 2012, he served on the National Council on the Humanities, the advisory board for the National Endowment for the Humanities.

In The New Atlantis

On the Shelf

Number 52 ~ Spring 2017

A Far Other Butterfly

Number 33 ~ Fall 2011

The Particularities of Place

Number 31 ~ Spring 2011

Principle, Prudence, and the “Party of Death”

Number 15 ~ Winter 2007

Beyond the Right to Life

Number 14 ~ Fall 2006

Science and Self-Government

Number 4 ~ Winter 2004


  • Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Civic Life in Modern America, edited (New Atlantis Books, 2014)
  • Figures in the Carpet: Finding the Human Person in the American Past, edited (Eerdmans, 2007)
  • Religion Returns to the Public Square: Faith and Policy in America, coedited with Hugh Heclo (Johns Hopkins, 2003)
  • A Student’s Guide to U.S. History (ISI, 2000)
  • The Masterless: Self and Society in Modern America (North Carolina, 1994)

  • Other Publications

  • “History, American Democracy, and the AP Test Controversy,” Imprimis, July/August 2015
  • “Liberalism Betrays the Possibility of Jewish Identity,” Mosaic, June 3, 2015
  • “From Anti-War Pastor to Pro-Life Priest,” Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2015
  • “On the Need for Erasure,” The Hedgehog Review, Spring 2015
  • “Issues,” The Hedgehog Review, Summer 2014
  • “The High-Low Coalition,” Claremont Review of Books, Winter 2013/2014
  • “My Dinner with Irving,” Mosaic, October 16, 2013
  • “The Voice of Michael Oakeshott in the Conversation of Conservatism,” The University Bookman, Fall 2013
  • “The Family That Shoulds Together,” The Hedgehog Review, Fall 2013
  • “Still the Redeemer Nation,” Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2013
  • “The Federal Idea,” The Imaginative Conservative, January 5, 2013
  • “Honoring Faith in the Public Square,” Christianity Today, October 11, 2012
  • “The Tocquevillean Moment . . . and Ours,” The Wilson Quarterly, Summer 2012
  • “Liberalism After Liberalism,” First Things, May 2012
  • “Response to Papers by Major, Baldwin, and Bailey: Democratic Statesmanship and the Blue Guitar,” Perspectives on Political Science, Spring 2012
  • “The Desert's Austere Grace,” First Things January 2012
  • “The Cities of God and Man,” The City, Winter 2011
  • “Winter Stories,” Commentary, December 2011
  • “A Day for The Constitution,” Jack Miller Center Quarterly Report, Fall 2011
  • “Memorializing September 11,” National Affairs, Fall 2011
  • “The Enduring Irving Kristol,” First Things, August/September 2011
  • “In Search of the Next Great American Songbook,” in Acculturated, edited by Naomi Schaefer Riley and Christine Rosen (Templeton Press, May 2011)
  • “The Illusion of Mastery: Man and Authority,” The City, Spring 2011
  • “Exceptionally American,” Claremont Review of Books, Winter/Spring 2011
  • “How to Understand Rush Limbaugh,” Commentary, February 2011
  • “‘The Report of Our Death Was Greatly Exaggerated,’” Commentary, November 2010
  • “The Sources of American Renewal,” Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2010
  • “A Complex Parade: Problems and Prospects for Picturing the Nation,” Historically Speaking, January 2010
  • “The Equilibrist,” National Review, October 19, 2009
  • “What Do Experts Know?,” National Affairs, Fall 2009
  • “The Soul and the City: The House of Our Realities,” The City, Summer 2009
  • “An American Virtue,” In Character, Spring 2009
  • “The Obama Dilemma,” Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2008
  • “Our Buried Sentiments,” Touchstone, September 2008
  • “The Burden of the Humanities,” Wilson Quarterly, Summer 2008
  • “Whatsoever Things Are True,” Provocations: Commentary & Conversion from the Trinity Forum, March 2008
  • “Religion and Secularism: The American Experience” Pew Forum, December 3, 2007
  • “A Left-Handed Salute,” Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2007
  • “Prof in a Box,” Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2007
  • “Recovering the Western Soul,” The Intercollegiate Review, Spring 2007
  • “Out of Mortal Threat, an Opportunity,” National Review Online, May 14, 2007
  • “God and Man in Rome,” Commentary, March 28, 2007
  • “God Rest Ye Merry: On Celebrating the Darker Meaning of Christmas,” Touchstone, December 2006
  • “The Storm Over Katrina,” Commentary, December 2005
  • “The Soul of a Nation,” The Public Interest, Spring 2004
  • “The Mixed Nature of American Patriotism,” Society, November—December 2003
  • “The Ph.D. Octopus, 100 Years On,” Books & Culture, November—December 2003
  • “Emerson and Us,” Weekly Standard, September 1—8, 2003
  • “Tradition, History, and Sequoias,” First Things, March 2003
  • “Pseudo-Intellectual,” The Public Interest, Spring 2002
  • “Mastery’s Shadow,” Touchstone, March 2002
  • “The Continuing Irony of American History,” First Things, February 2002
  • “America—Idea or Nation?,” The Public Interest, Fall 2001
  • “The American Scholar,” Weekly Standard, July 8, 2001
  • “Individualism and its Discontents,” Virginia Quarterly Review, Summer 2001
  • “History for a Democracy,” Wilson Quarterly, Autumn 2001
  • “Teaching Religion in American Schools and Colleges,” Newsletter of the Historical Society, November 2001
  • “Remembering Santayana,” Wilson Quarterly, Summer 2001
  • “Community and the Social Scientist,” The Public Interest, Spring 2001
  • “The Gods of Princes,” Touchstone, March 2001
  • “Clio’s Makeshift Laboratory,” First Things, March 2001
  • “Two Concepts of Secularism,” Journal of Policy History, Spring 2001
  • “Defining Humanities Up,” First Things, January 2001
  • “Croly’s Progressive America,” The Public Interest, Fall 1999
  • “Yesterday’s Philosophy of Tomorrow,” Weekly Standard, June 14, 1999
  • “Hazards of New Fortune,” First Things, December 1998
  • “Is America an Experiment?,” The Public Interest, Fall 1998
  • “Fifty Years of the Lonely Crowd,” Wilson Quarterly, Summer 1998
  • “Reagan versus the Intellectuals,” The Public Interest, Spring 1998
  • “The Worst Decision Since Dred Scott?,” Commentary, October 1997
  • “The Mystic Chords of Memory,” History Matters, October 1996
  • “The Soul of Man Under Federalism,” First Things, June—July 1996
  • “A More Perfect Union? Toward a New Federalism,” Commentary, September 1995
  • “The State of American Higher Education,” Academic Questions, Spring 1995
  • “The Socialization of Desire,” Society, May—June 1995
  • “The Hipster and the Organization Man,” First Things, May 1994
  • “Historical Research on the Refugee Intellectuals,” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, Spring 1994
  • “Clio in 2013: The Writing and Teaching of History in the Next Twenty Years,” Academic Questions, Winter 1993
  • “John W. Burgess and the Search for Cohesion in American Political Thought,” Polity, Autumn 1993
  • “A Tent on the Porch,” American Heritage, July–August 1993
  • “Religion in Politics; Politics in Religion,” Commentary, October 1988
  • “A Babylonian in Zion,” Reviews in American History, March 1988
  • “Weimar in America,” American Scholar, Winter 1986
  • “Two Versions of the Genteel Tradition: Santayana and Brooks,” New England Quarterly, September 1982