Thomas E. “Tom” Woods, Jr. is an American historian, economist, political analyst, and New York Times-bestselling author. He has written extensively on the subjects of American history, contemporary politics, and economic theory. Woods is considered a libertarian and is a proponent of the Austrian school of economics.
Woods graduated high school in 1990 and intended to major in math entering Harvard University. However, in a desire to strengthen his ability to argue against students supporting communism switched to majoring in history. A key turning point for the development of Woods’ views was his attendance of the 1992 Mises University conference, held by the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and meeting Austro-libertarian economist Murray Rothbard while there. He then headed to Columbia University in 1994 to obtain a Ph.D. in history.
He served as a history department faculty member at Suffolk County Community College in New York until 2006, and is now a scholar and senior faculty member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute (LvMI) in Auburn, Alabama, as well as a member of the editorial board for the institute’s Journal of Libertarian Studies and Libertarian Papers. He is also an associate scholar of the Abbeville Institute.
Woods was present at the founding of the League of the South, and has contributed to its newsletter. His past membership in the group has generated criticism, but Woods asserts his involvement was limited.
He was an ISI Richard M. Weaver Fellow in 1995–96. Woods was also the recipient of the 2004 O.P. Alford III Prize for Libertarian Scholarship and of an Olive W. Garvey Fellowship from the Independent Institute in 2003. He has additionally been awarded two Humane Studies Fellowships and a Claude R. Lambe Fellowship from the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University.
Woods is co-editor of Exploring American History: From Colonial Times to 1877, an eleven-volume encyclopedia.
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