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Assembly Series

A tradition of convening thought leaders since 1953

McKelvey School of Engineering

Brown School

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

Monday, December 4, 2023 | 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Graham Chapel
Graham Chapel, St. Louis, MO 63105

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. 


We are thrilled with the enthusiastic response to this event! At this time, we have made additional plans to host our guests on campus. We will have two additional, smaller spaces for viewing a livestream of the discussion in Graham Chapel. All venues are open seating and doors will open at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are not required so seating will be “first come, first served.” We will also host two reception spaces and Prof. Richardson will visit both!

Alternately, you may register to watch via Zoom from home by registering at this link: https://wustl.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_40JDRoXvRsmvSaOl8L_Ufg

We will provide open seating and doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for this event. Free and open to all. Please register at rap@wustl.edu or 314-935-9345 so we can appropriately plan for your visit.

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 parking.wustl.edu/parking/visitor.

Please call us at 314-935-9345 or email us at rap@wustl.edu with any questions or accommodation requests.

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations


Humanities & Society



John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics
Event Contact

Hannah Pierce | rap@wustl.edu

Speaker Information

Professor 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, amonother outlets. She was the co-host of the Vox Media podcast, Now & Then. She received her B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

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