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Stephen Wertheim

Stephen Wertheim is a historian of the United States in the world. He is a Co-Founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and Research Director of its Ending Endless War program. He is also a Research Scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University.


Stephen specializes in U.S. foreign relations and international order, particularly concepts of global politics from the late nineteenth century to the present. His first book, tentatively titled Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy in World War II, is under contract with Harvard University Press. It argues that in the two years before the Pearl Harbor attack, American officials and intellectuals first decided that the United States should become the world’s supreme political-military power, even though armed supremacy had previously struck them as unnecessary at best and imperialistic at worst.


Stephen has published scholarly articles on a range of subjects, including colonial empire, ideas of international law and organization, and humanitarian intervention. His articles have appeared in Diplomatic History, Journal of Contemporary History, Journal of Global History, Journal of Genocide Research, and Presidential Studies Quarterly. His research on the intellectual origins of the League of Nations won the Fischel-Calhoun Prize from the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.


Stephen also regularly writes essays and reviews on current affairs. His pieces have been featured in Dissent, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, The Nation, The National Interest, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The Times Literary Supplement, War on the Rocks, and The Washington Post.


He was previously a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Columbia University; a permanent Lecturer in History at Birkbeck, University of London; a Junior Research Fellow at King’s College, University of Cambridge, where he was a fellow of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law; and a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Values and Public Policy at Princeton University, where he was part of the University Center for Human Values and the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.


Stephen received a PhD with distinction from Columbia University in 2015. His doctoral studies were supported by a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, Doris G. Quinn Fellowship, and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Dissertation Research Fellowship. Stephen received an MPhil from Columbia University in 2011 and an AB summa cum laude from Harvard University in 2007.


In his spare time, Stephen thinks up comedy ideas, talks about them, and fails to carry them out.