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Illiberal Reformers in Progressive Era Topic of IBC Bank and Commerce Bank Speaker Series Wednesday Posted: 10/04/18

Illiberal Reformers in Progressive Era Topic of IBC Bank and Commerce Bank Speaker Series Wednesday


Dr. Thomas Leonard
Dr. Thomas Leonard  

The Progressive Era in American history and what made progressives illiberal will be one of the topics explored at a presentation Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. at Texas A&M International University’s (TAMIU) Student Center Ballroom.

Dr. Thomas Leonard, historian of economics and research scholar for Princeton University, will present “Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics and American Economics in the Progressive Era,” as part of the IBC Bank and Commerce Bank 2018-2019 Keynote Speaker Series.

Admission is free and open to the public. A reception will start at 5:30 p.m.

The IBC Bank and Commerce Bank Keynote Speaker Series is presented by the TAMIU A. R. Sanchez, Jr. School of Business Center for the Study of Western Hemispheric Trade and sponsored by IBC Bank and Commerce Bank.

Dr. Leonard’s book, Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics & American Economics in the Progressive Era (Princeton University Press, 2016), tells the story of the progressive reformers who led the Progressive Era crusade to dismantle laissez-fare, and remade the American economy with a new instrument of reform, the administrative state.

His book delves into questions such as who progressives were and how they convinced the powerful to adopt net theories of how the economy worked and how it should be governed. It also explores topics such as what made the progressives illiberal, and, in particular, how racism and eugenics informed their reform crusade, as well as how progressive ideas and institutions of 100 years ago matter today.

Leonard is a historian of economics at Princeton, a Research Scholar in the Humanities Council, and a lecturer in the Department of Economics. Princeton has twice awarded him the Richard D. Quandt Prize for teaching excellence, and he has taught a generation of Princeton students to understand economic ideas in their historical, legal, and ethical contests.

He is a leading scholarly authority on American economic life during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries – its participants, theorists, and regulators. In 2017, the History of Economics Society awarded Illiberal Reformers the Joseph J. Spengler Price for book of the year. The book has been reviewed by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg View, and The New Republic, and by more than 40 other general interest and scholarly journals.

For more information contact Amy Palacios, associate director, Center for the Study of Western Hemispheric Trade, at 956.326.2820, or or visit offices in Western Hemispheric Trade Center, room 221.

Additional information is available at

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