Last updated on: 1/13/2011 | Author:

John P. Diggins, PhD Biography

Former Distinguished Professor of the Graduate Center of History at the City University of New York
Pro to the question "Was Ronald Reagan a Good President?"

“My belated respect for [Reagan] grew from appreciating his boldness in dealing with the three miseries of the modern era – one terrifying, the other crippling, the third inhibiting.

The first abomination was a suicidal nuclear arms race of such potential massive destruction that it threatened the world with extinction; the second, an expanding welfare state that had made the poor helplessly dependent, reduced them to debilitating objects of pity, and destroyed any hope for self-esteem; the third, a joyless religious inheritance that told people their kingdom was not of this world and they needed to be careful about pursuing happiness in case they came to enjoy it. Reagan, it is now clear, delivered America from fear and loathing. He stood for freedom, peace, disarmament, self-reliance, earthly happiness, the dreams of the imagination and the desires of the heart.”

Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History, 2007

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Distinguished Professor, Graduate Center of History, City University of New York (CUNY), 1990-2009
  • Acting Director, Graduate Center of History, CUNY, 1996-1997
  • Commonwealth Lecturer, University of London, 1991
  • Professor of History, University of California at Irvine, 1972-1990
  • Residence Scholar, Rockefeller Foundation, 1989
  • Chair of American Civilization, L’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, 1988-1989
  • Visiting Professor, Princeton University, 1977-1978
  • Fellow, Churchill College, Cambridge University, 1975-1976
  • Associate Professor, University of California at Irvine, 1969-1972
  • Assistant Professor of American Intellectual History, San Francisco State University, 1966-1969
  • Education:
  • PhD, History, University of Southern California, 1964
  • MA, San Francisco State University, 1959
  • AB, University of California at Berkeley, 1957
  • Other:
  • Died on Jan. 29, 2009
  • Recipient, Guggenheim Fellowship, 1975-1976
  • Recipient, National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 1972-1973
  • Recipient, John H. Dunning Award, American Historical Association, 1972
  • Quoted in:
    Pro & Con Quotes: Was Ronald Reagan a Good President?