Jack Rakove

William Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies; Professor of Political Science and (by courtesy) of Law

At Stanford Since

Ph.D., Harvard University 1975; A.B., Haverford College 1968

Research Interests

  • Origins of the American Revolution
  • Creation of a national polity and government between the early 1770s and 1800
  • Origins of the Constitution and the early history of its interpretation
  • Political ideas and career of James Madison

Courses Taught

  • Colonial and Revolutionary America
  • The Constitution: A Short History
  • Creating the American Republic
  • Constitutional Interpretation in History and Theory


  • The Beginnings of National Politics: An Interpretive History of the Continental Congress (Knopf, 1979) ed.,
  • Interpreting the Constitution: The Debate over Original Intent (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1990)
  • James Madison and the Creation of the American Republic (Scott Forsman, 1990); expanded ed., (Longman, 2001, 2006)
  • Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution (Knopf, 1996)
  • Declaring Rights: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford 1997)
  • ed., James Madison: Writings (Library of America, 1999)
  • ed., The Unfinished Election of 2000 (Basic Books, 2001)
  • ed., with John Ferejohn and Jonathan Riley, Constitutional Culture and Democratic Rule (Cambridge University Press, 2001)
  • ed., The Federalist: The Major Essays (Bedford, 2003)
  • Founding America: Documents from the Revolution to the Bill of Rights (Barnes & Noble, 2006)
  • Revolutionaries: Inventing an American Nation (Houghton Mifflin, forthcoming)
  • Beyond Belief, Beyond Conscience: The Radical Significance of the Free Exercise of Religion (Oxford University Press, forthcoming)

Awards and Fellowships

  • 1997 Pulitzer in History
  • Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Prize, The Society of the Cincinnati Book Prize and Doctor of Humane Letters, all for Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution (Barat College, 2002)

University Service

  • Appointments and Promotions Committee, School of Humanities & Sciences, 2004-2006
  • Decanal Search Committee, Stanford Law School, 2004
  • Athletic Compliance Committee, 2002-2005
  • Provostial Search Committee, 2000
  • Board of Governors, The Hanna House, Stanford, California 1996-
  • Board of the Stanford University Press, 1997-99
  • Overseas Studies Advisory Committee, 1997-99
  • University Committee on Land, Building, and Development, 1993-96
  • Committee on Graduate Studies, 1993-96 (chair, 1994-96)
  • Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of History, 1991-97, 1999-2000
  • Director, American Studies Program, 1985-88, 2002-2003

Professional Affiliations

  • Fellow, American Philosophical Society (2007)
  • Society for the History of the Early American Republic (Council 1994-1997; President 2002-2003)
  • Associate, Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture (Council 1999-2002)
  • Organization of American Historians
  • American Historical Association
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1999)
  • American Antiquarian Society
  • American Political Science Association