Richard Hofstadter was an American historian and public intellectual of the mid-20th century. Hofstadter, the DeWitt Clinton Professor of American History at Columbia University, became the "iconic historian of postwar liberal consensus", largely due to his emphasis on ideas and political culture rather than the day-to-day doings of politicians. His influence is ongoing, as modern critics profess admiration for the grace of his writing, and the depth of his insight.
His most important works are Social Darwinism in American Thought, 1860–1915; The American Political Tradition; The Age of Reform; Anti-intellectualism in American Life, and the essays collected in The Paranoid Style in American Politics. He was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize: in 1956 for The Age of Reform, an unsentimental analysis of the populism movement in the 1890s and the progressive movement of the early 20th century; and in 1964 for the cultural history Anti-intellectualism in American Life.
The delicate thing about the university is that it has a mixed character, that it is suspended between its position in the eternal world, with all its corruption and evils and cruelties, and the splendid world of our imagination.