David Hackett Fischer

Last updated
David Hackett Fischer
Born (1935-12-02) December 2, 1935 (age 83)
Occupation Professor
Nationality United States
Genre History
Notable works Washington's Crossing (Pivotal Moments in American History) ; Albion's Seed

David Hackett Fischer (born December 2, 1935) is University Professor and Earl Warren Professor of History at Brandeis University. Fischer's major works have covered topics ranging from large macroeconomic and cultural trends ( Albion's Seed, The Great Wave ) to narrative histories of significant events (Paul Revere's Ride,Washington's Crossing) to explorations of historiography (Historians' Fallacies, in which he coined the term "historian's fallacy").

Earl Warren United States federal judge

Earl Warren was an American jurist and politician who served as the 14th Chief Justice of the United States (1953–1969) and earlier as the 30th Governor of California (1943–1953). The Warren Court presided over a major shift in constitutional jurisprudence, with Warren writing the majority opinions in landmark cases such as Brown v. Board of Education, Reynolds v. Sims, and Miranda v. Arizona. Warren also led the Warren Commission, a presidential commission that investigated the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Brandeis University private research university in Waltham, Massachusetts

Brandeis University is an American private research university in Waltham, Massachusetts, 9 miles (14 km) west of Boston. Founded in 1948 as a non-sectarian, coeducational institution sponsored by the Jewish community, Brandeis was established on the site of the former Middlesex University. The university is named after Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish Justice of the U.S Supreme Court.

<i>Albions Seed</i> book by David Hackett Fischer

Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America is a 1989 book by David Hackett Fischer that details the folkways of four groups of people who moved from distinct regions of Great Britain (Albion) to the United States. The argument is that the culture of each of the groups persisted, to provide the basis for the modern United States. Fischer explains "the origins and stability of a social system which for two centuries has remained stubbornly democratic in its politics, capitalist in its economy, libertarian in its laws and individualist in its society and pluralistic in its culture." Fischer describes Albion's Seed as a modified Teutonic germ theory within the framework of the Frontier Thesis and the migration model.



Fischer grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. He received an A.B. from Princeton University in 1958 and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1962. [1]

Princeton University University in Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The institution moved to Newark in 1747, then to the current site nine years later, and renamed itself Princeton University in 1896.

Johns Hopkins University Private research university in Baltimore, Maryland

The Johns Hopkins University is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1876, the university was named for its first benefactor, the American entrepreneur, abolitionist, and philanthropist Johns Hopkins. His $7 million bequest —of which half financed the establishment of Johns Hopkins Hospital—was the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the United States up to that time. Daniel Coit Gilman, who was inaugurated as the institution's first president on February 22, 1876, led the university to revolutionize higher education in the U.S. by integrating teaching and research. Adopting the concept of a graduate school from Germany's ancient Heidelberg University, Johns Hopkins University is considered the first research university in the United States. Over the course of several decades, the university has led all U.S. universities in annual research and development expenditures. In fiscal year 2016, Johns Hopkins spent nearly $2.5 billion on research.


Fischer has been on the faculty of Brandeis University for 50 years, where he is known for being interested in his students and history. [2]

He is best known for two major works: Albion's Seed (1989), and Washington's Crossing (Pivotal Moments in American History) (2004). In Albion's Seed, he argues that core aspects of American culture stem from four British folkways and regional cultures and that their interaction and conflict have been decisive factors in U.S. political and historical development. In Washington's Crossing, Fischer provides a narrative of George Washington's leadership of the Continental Army during the winter of 1776–1777 during the American Revolutionary War.

<i>Washingtons Crossing</i> (book) book by David Hackett Fischer

Washington's Crossing is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book written by David Hackett Fischer and part of the "Pivotal Moments in American History" series. It is primarily about George Washington's leadership during the 1776 campaign of the American Revolutionary War, culminating with the famous crossing of the Delaware River and the subsequent campaign, with the Battle of Trenton, the Second Battle of Trenton, and the Battle of Princeton.

George Washington 1st president of the United States

George Washington was an American political leader, military general, statesman, and Founding Father who also served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. He led Patriot forces to victory in the nation's War of Independence, and he presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which established the new federal government. He has been called the "Father of His Country" for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the new nation.

Continental Army Colonial army during the American Revolutionary War

The Continental Army was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the ex-British colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in their revolt against the rule of Great Britain. The Continental Army was supplemented by local militias and volunteer troops that remained under control of the individual states or were otherwise independent. General George Washington was the commander-in-chief of the army throughout the war.

He was admitted as an honorary member of The Society of the Cincinnati in 2006. He is a member of the board of College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine.

College of the Atlantic

College of the Atlantic (COA) is a private, liberal-arts college in Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island, Maine, United States. Founded in 1969, it awards bachelors and masters (M.Phil.) degrees solely in the field of human ecology, an interdisciplinary approach to learning. Focus areas include arts and design, environmental sciences, humanities, international studies, sustainable food systems, and socially responsible business.


Washington's Crossing (Pivotal Moments in American History) (2004) won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for History [3] and was a 2004 finalist for the National Book Award in the Nonfiction category. [4]

Pulitzer Prize for History

The Pulitzer Prize for History, administered by Columbia University, is one of the seven American Pulitzer Prizes that are annually awarded for Letters, Drama, and Music. It has been presented since 1917 for a distinguished book about the history of the United States. Thus it is one of the original Pulitzers, for the program was inaugurated in 1917 with seven prizes, four of which were awarded that year. The Pulitzer Prize program has also recognized some historical work with its Biography prize, from 1917, and its General Non-Fiction prize, from 1952.

The National Book Awards are a set of annual U.S. literary awards. At the final National Book Awards Ceremony every November, the National Book Foundation presents the National Book Awards and two lifetime achievement awards to authors.

He received the 2006 Irving Kristol Award from the American Enterprise Institute. [5]

In 2008, he published Champlain's Dream, an exploration of Samuel de Champlain, the French explorer and founder of Quebec City. The book was a runner-up in the 2009 Cundill Prize. [6]

In 2015, Fischer was named the recipient of the Pritzker Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. [1] [7]

In addition to these literary awards, he has been recognized for his commitment to teaching with the 1990 Carnegie Prize as Massachusetts Professor of the Year and the Louis Dembitz Brandeis Prize for Excellence in Teaching. [1]

Selected works

External video
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Booknotes interview with Fischer on Paul Revere's Ride, July 17, 1994, C-SPAN
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Presentation by Fischer on Champlain's Dream at the New York Historical Society, October 23, 2008, C-SPAN
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Presentation by Fischer on Washington's Crossing, February 26, 2004, C-SPAN

Related Research Articles

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  1. 1 2 3 "David Hackett Fischer". pritzkermilitary.org.
  2. "Historian David Hackett Fischer Marks 50 Years at Brandeis - Brandeis Magazine". Brandeis Magazine.
  3. "David Hackett Fischer Receives Pulitzer Prize". historians.org.
  4. "David Hackett Fischer, 2004 National Book Award Finalist: Nonfiction, National Book Foundation". nationalbook.org.
  5. "David Hackett Fischer to Receive 2006 Irving Kristol Award". AEI.
  6. "2009 Short List - Cundill Prize in History". cundillprize.com. Archived from the original on 2015-06-29.
  7. "Brandeis professor Fischer wins $100,000 Pritzker Award". BostonGlobe.com.