Another loss to our movement. Forrest McDonald, an eminent historian and social critic, passed away at the age of 89. News of it from a Philadelphia Society email today appears below:
It is with a grieving heart that I write to inform you that our Distinguished Member Forrest McDonald died on Tuesday, January 19, 2016, at the Hospice of West Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Ellen was at his side and reports that he died peacefully and was not in pain.
Born in Orange, Texas, on January 7, 1927, McDonald marked his 89th birthday earlier this month.
One of the foremost historians of the U.S. Constitution and the early national period, McDonald earned his Ph.D. in history in 1955 from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied with Fulmer Mood. He taught at Brown University (1959-67), Wayne State University (1967-76), and the University of Alabama (1976-2002). In 1987 the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded McDonald the Thomas Jefferson Lectureship. McDonald had long been critical on Constitutional grounds of the Endowment, and he accepted the honor, but had to devise a circuitous scheme to avoid accepting the monetary award that accompanied it.
McDonald served as President of The Philadelphia Society from 1988-90, and as Trustee of the Society for three terms, 1983-86, 1988-91, and 1994-97. In 2010, the Society paid special tribute to McDonald at a Saturday evening dinner at the National Constitution Center co-hosted by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and Young America’s Foundation. Those tributes may be listened to here.
I met McDonald a few times at Philadelphia Society events and got to hear him hold forth on his deep knowledge of American history. He was heads and shoulders above other historians in the room… and the room was filled with folks who prided themselves on knowing American history. His presentations were dense with facts and insights.
We have several of his books in our library, though not all of them. His bibliography, taken from his Conservapedia entry, follows:
We The People: The Economic Origins of the Constitution (University of Chicago Press, 1958; new ed. Transaction, 1992)
Insull (University of Chicago Press, 1962)
E Pluribus Unum: The Formation of the American Republic (Houghton-Mifflin, 1965; new ed., Liberty Press, 1979)
The Presidency of George Washington (University Press of Kansas, 1974, paperback ed., 1985)
The Phaeton Ride: The Crisis of American Success (Doubleday, 1974)
The Presidency of Thomas Jefferson (University Press of Kansas, 1976; paperback ed., 1987)
Alexander Hamilton: A Biography (Norton, 1979; paperback ed., 1980)
The American People, textbook with David Burner and Eugene D. Genovese; Revisionary Press, 1980
Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution (University Press of Kansas, 1985; paperback ed., 1987)
Requiem: Variations on Eighteenth-Century Themes (University Press of Kansas, 1988), with Ellen Shapiro McDonald
The American Presidency: An Intellectual History (University Press of Kansas, 1994; paperback ed., 1995)
States Rights and the Union: Imperium in Imperio, 1776-1876 (University Press of Kansas, 2000)
Recovering the Past: A Historian’s Memoir (2004), autobiography