Progressive Forum Presents Heather Cox Richardson in Houston, October 19, 2023

Acclaimed historian with more than 2 million avid readers of her daily newsletter, Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson will discuss her upcoming book, Democracy Awakening: Notes on the State of America, at The Progressive Forum, Thursday October 19, at 7:30 p.m. CT, at Congregation Emanu El. Paying attendees will receive a free copy of Democracy Awakening, and Richardson will sign books at the evening’s conclusion.

General admission tickets are $45 and $70. Reserved seat tickets are $150 and include a reception with the speaker. Tickets are available online at, and at 800-514-3849 Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST. They will also be available at the door on event night (card transactions only).

The event is generously sponsored by the Beverly M. Manne Trust. The trustee is high-profile attorney Neal Manne, former managing partner of Susman Godfrey, who is honoring his mother.

“Professor Richardson’s perspective is the tonic of understanding we need today,” said Progressive Forum founder Randall Morton. “Her earlier books explain that after the Civil War, confederate white oligarchy didn’t end, it moved West — what we’re dealing with in Texas today.”

About Democracy Awakening: Notes on the State of America

Heather Cox Richardson presents a vital narrative that explains how America, once a beacon of democracy, now teeters on the brink of autocracy — and how we can turn back.

In the midst of the impeachment crisis of 2019, Richardson launched a daily Facebook essay providing the historical background of the daily torrent of news. It soon turned into a newsletter, and its readership ballooned to more than 2 million dedicated readers who rely on her plainspoken and informed take on the present and past in America.

In Democracy Awakening, Richardson crafts a compelling and original narrative, explaining how, over the decades, a small group of wealthy people have made war on American ideals. By weaponizing language and promoting false history they have led us into authoritarianism — creating a disaffected population and then promising to recreate an imagined past where those people could feel important again. She argues that taking our country back starts by remembering the elements of the nation’s true history that marginalized Americans have always upheld. Their dedication to the principles on which this nation was founded has enabled us to renew and expand our commitment to democracy in the past. Richardson sees this history as a roadmap for the nation’s future.

Richardson’s talent is to wrangle our giant, meandering, and confusing news feed into a coherent story that singles out what we should pay attention to, what the precedents are, and what possible paths lie ahead. In her trademark calm prose, she is realistic and optimistic about the future of democracy. Her command of history allows her to pivot effortlessly from the Founders to the abolitionists to Reconstruction to Goldwater to Mitch McConnell, highlighting the political legacies of the New Deal, the lingering fears of socialism, the death of the liberal consensus, and birth of “movement conservatism.” 

Many books tell us what has happened over the last five years. Democracy Awakening explains how we got to this perilous point, what our history really tells us about ourselves, and what the future of democracy can be.

About Heather Cox Richardson

Richardson is professor of history at Boston College. She has written about the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Gilded Age, and the American West in award-winning books whose subjects stretch from the European settlement of the North American continent to the history of the Republican Party through the Trump administration. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Guardian, among other outlets. She is cohost of the Vox podcast “Now & Then.”