William Appleman Williams (1921-90)
AHA Staff, April 1990
William Appleman Williams, noted historian of American foreign policy, died March 5, 1990 at the age of sixty-eight. Williams was best known for his sharp criticism of American foreign policy and is considered by many to be the founder of the revisionist school of American history.
He was the author of more than a dozen books that challenged traditional views of American history including: The Shaping of American Diplomacy, 1750–1955, America Confronts a Revolutionary World: 1776–1976, and The Roots of the Modern American Empire.
Williams received his B.A. at the U.S. Naval Academy and M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin. He went on to teach at the University of Wisconsin from 1957 to 1968 and then at Oregon State University from 1968 until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1986. Williams served as president of the Organization of American Historians in 1980.