Photo of Jonathan Levy
Jonathan Levy Associate Faculty Member, Law School
Faculty Affiliate, Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture
Faculty Chair, Law, Letters, and Society
Senior Fellow, Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts, the College
Office: Social Science Research Building, room 504 Mailbox 32 Phone: (773) 702-8369 Email Interests:

United States; economic history; capitalism; global and comparative history; legal history; intellectual history; slavery and emancipation

James Westfall Thompson Professor of US History, Fundamentals, Social Thought, and the College

University of Chicago, PhD '08


I am a historian of the economy and of the United States. In addition to being a member of the Department of History and the John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought I am the current Faculty Director of the Law, Letters, and Society program.

My most recently completed book is Ages of American Capitalism: A History of the United States (Random House, 2021), which is a history of American economic life from British colonial settlement through the Great Recession. The book is also a single-volume history of the United States.

My next book, The Real Economy (forthcoming Princeton University Press), collects published and unpublished essays on economic theory and history. The topic that is the current focus of my teaching and research is the role of money in the emergence of global capitalism in the early modern period. I am also interested in writing about the history of the United States in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Related to that, a final project is a planetary history of the city of Houston. I wrote a series of essays on this topic in 2019 for the Visualizing Climate and Loss Project at Harvard’s Center for History and Economics.

My first book, Freaks of Fortune: The Emerging World of Capitalism and Risk in America (Harvard, 2012), won the Organization of American Historians' Frederick Jackson Turner Award, Ellis W. Hawley Prize, and Avery O. Craven Award and the American Society for Legal History's William Nelson Cromwell Book Prize.


Recent Courses Offered



  • Property and the Public Interest

  • History of the Corporation

  • History of American Capitalism


  • The Global History of Money

  • Topics in US History: The New Deal

  • Modern Global Economic History

Recent Research / Recent Publications

Publications (Selected)