Burton Folsom, Jr. is an economic historian and author. He believes that Americans are an inventive people, no matter their backgrounds, and throughout our nation’s history, American entrepreneurs have benefited the world with their innovations. As a teacher, Folsom served as Professor of History at Hillsdale College from 2003 to August, 2017, holding the Charles Kline Chair in History and Management. He is now Professor Emeritus and was appointed a Distinguished Fellow of Hillsdale College in the summer of 2017. He also previously served as a senior fellow in economic education for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
Folsom has spent his life energized by the belief that freedom and free markets benefit all people. He has published 11 books, some co-authored, and also hundreds of columns and articles in newspapers and journals. Folsom’s most well-known book is "The Myth of the Robber Barons," in which he discusses the differences between political entrepreneurs and market entrepreneurs. He was one of the first historians to show that political entrepreneurs use government to pay the cost of their enterprises. Folsom is a great storyteller, and his narrative on American icons such as Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, and James J. Hill stands as a classic text in economic history. Another bestselling book is "New Deal or Raw Deal: How FDR’s Economic Legacy Has Damaged America." Folsom examines the disastrous effects of massive federal spending under Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal policies of the 1930s.
After the success of "New Deal or Raw Deal," Folsom and his wife Anita co-authored the sequel: "FDR Goes to War: How Expanded Executive Power, Spiraling National Debt, and Restricted Civil Liberties Shaped Wartime America." The Folsoms cover the period from the 1930s through the end of World War II, and the post-war recovery. The Folsoms’ next volume was "Uncle Sam Can’t Count: A History of Failed Government Investments, from Beaver Pelts to Green Energy." Their next book, "Death On Hold: A Prisoner’s Desperate Prayer and the Unlikely Family Who Became God’s Answer," is the story of the Folsom’s friendship with death row inmate Mitchell Rutledge, a man without hope who was given a future.
His work has appeared in major newspapers and magazines including The Detroit News, The American Spectator, and The Wall Street Journal. Folsom received his Ph.D. in American history from the University of Pittsburgh.
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