Democracy Awakening: Notes on the State of America with Heather Cox Richardson

Professor of history and Letters from an American author/podcaster Richardson discusses her new book.



Graham Chapel

Washington University in St. Louis


  • Democracy Awakening: Notes on the State of America

    Heather Cox Richardson

In the midst of the 2019 impeachment crisis, history professor Heather Cox Richardson began writing a daily Facebook essay, providing historical context for the daily churn of news. It soon became a chart-topping Substack newsletter, Letters from an American, which now has over two million subscribers—passionate, dedicated readers who rely on Richardson’s plainspoken, insightful take on America, past and present, as a much-needed dose of sanity in today’s insane world.

In her compelling new book, Democracy Awakening: Notes on the State of America (Viking), Richardson explains how a small group of wealthy people have made war on American ideals, leading us down a dangerous path to authoritarianism. By weaponizing language and promoting a false history, they have created a disaffected population and then promised to recreate an imagined past where those people could feel important again. Richardson argues that taking our country back starts by remembering the elements of the nation’s true history that marginalized Americans have always upheld—their dedication has sustained our democracy in the past and can be a road map for our future. 

Graham Chapel offers open seating and doors will open at 6:00 p.m. for this event. Tickets are not required and seating will be “first come, first served.”

Free and open to all. Please register at or 314-935-9345 so we can appropriately plan for your visit. Your registration does not guarantee a seat.

All attendees are welcome to join us for a reception with the speaker immediately following her talk. Local independent bookseller Left Bank Books will be on site for purchase of Professor Richardson’s book.

Visitor parking is available on the fourth level of Millbrook Garage or in the Danforth University Center (DUC) underground garage. Pull a ticket at the gate when you enter. Parking is free in yellow spaces (you will be ticketed if in a red space) weekdays between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. and on weekends. For more information on parking, visit

About the speakers

Professor Heather Cox Richardson is Professor of History at Boston College. She has written about the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Gilded Age, and the American West in award-winning books whose subjects stretch from the European settlement of the North American continent to the history of the Republican Party through the Trump administration. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Guardian, among other outlets. She was the co-host of the Vox Media podcast, Now & Then. She received her B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Professor Laurie Maffly-Kipp is the Archer Alexander Distinguished Professor at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics. Maffly-Kipp’s research and teaching focus on African American religions, Mormonism, religion on the Pacific borderlands of the Americas, and issues of intercultural contact. Prior to joining the Center, Maffly-Kipp taught for twenty-four years at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Religious Studies and American Studies. She earned her B.A. from Amherst College in English and Religion and completed the Ph.D. in American History at Yale University.

Please call us at (314) 935-9345 or email us at with any questions or accommodation requests.