Law professor's book wins political history honor

The latest book by Bill Novak has won the 2023 H. Wayne Morgan Prize from the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.

The award recognizes “New Democracy: The Creation of the Modern American State” (Harvard University Press, 2022) as the best book on US political history from 1865–1929.

Novak received the award at the recent Organization of American Historians Conference in Los Angeles.

According to the awards committee, “This hugely ambitious book recaptures the significance of the transformation in American governance that occurred during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It situates the emergence of modern American democracy during those pivotal decades, cogently and elegantly demonstrating that fundamental reforms in the nature of citizenship, legal conventions, regulation, social welfare and the provision of public services were already in place before Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. His book will be required reading for understanding the Gilded Age and Progressive Era origins of the modern American state.”

Novak currently is working on a book covering the period of America’s founding.

Novak teaches in the fields of legal history, legislation, and regulation, and his research interests focus on the history of the modern American regulatory state.