Thomas Woods

Thomas Ernest Woods Jr. (born August 1, 1972) is an American author, historian, and libertarian commmentator who is currently a senior fellow at the Mises Institute.[2][3][4] Woods is a proponent of the Austrian School of economics.[5] He hosts a daily podcast, The Tom Woods Show, and he formerly co-hosted the now defunct Contra Krugman.[4][6][7]

Thomas Woods
Woods in February 2011
Thomas Ernest Woods Jr.

(1972-08-01) August 1, 1972 (age 48)
Melrose, Massachusetts, United States
School or
Austrian School
Alma materHarvard University (A.B., 1994)
Columbia University (M.Phil., Ph.D.)
Alan Brinkley[1]

Woods completed his doctorate in history from Columbia University in 2000. He first received media attention for writing the Politically Incorrect Guide to American History in 2004, which promoted a libertarian interpretation of American history and was a New York Times bestseller.[8] His subsequent writing has focused on promoting libertarianism and libertarian leaning political figures such as former Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul. His 2009 book Meltdown, which attempted to exonerate free markets from blame in the 2008 economic crisis, also became a New York Times bestseller.[9]

Education and affiliations

Woods holds a A.B. from Harvard University, and both a M.Phil. and a Ph.D. from Columbia University, all in history. He is a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama and a member of the editorial board for the institute's Libertarian Papers.[10] Woods was an ISI Richard M. Weaver Fellow in 1995 and 1996.[11] He received the 2004 O.P. Alford III Prize for Libertarian Scholarship and an Olive W. Garvey Fellowship from the Independent Institute in 2003. Woods received the 2019 Hayek lifetime achievement award from the Austrian Economics Center.[12] He has additionally been awarded two Humane Studies Fellowships and a Claude R. Lambe Fellowship from the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University.[13] His 2005 book, The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy, won the $50,000 first prize in the 2006 Templeton Enterprise Awards.[14]


Woods is the author of twelve books. His book The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History was on The New York Times Best Seller list for paperbacks in 2005.[15] His 2009 book Meltdown also made the bestseller list in 2009.[16] His writing has been published in numerous popular and scholarly periodicals, including the American Historical Review, the Christian Science Monitor, Investor's Business Daily, Modern Age, American Studies, Journal of Markets & Morality, New Oxford Review, The Freeman, Independent Review, Journal des Économistes et des Études Humaines, AD2000, Crisis, Human Rights Review, Catholic Historical Review, the Catholic Social Science Review and The American Conservative.[17]


Woods is a Rothbardian anarcho-capitalist and libertarian.[18]

U.S. Constitution

Woods co-authored Who Killed the Constitution? with Kevin Gutzman, Professor of History at Western Connecticut State University. Woods and Gutzman criticize what they view as unconstitutional political overreach spanning from World War I to the Obama Administration.[19] Woods has promoted the views of Lysander Spooner, who argued that the Constitution holds no authority because the public has not explicitly consented to it and because the Federal Government in his view has not followed its obligations and limits.[20][21][22][23]

Woods advocates the compact theory theory of the Union and promotes the legal theory of nullification.[24][25]

Woods views the Bill of Rights as a limitation solely on federal power, and not on the power of the states. In an article for the Southern Partisan magazine in 1997 Woods writes: "The Bill of Rights, moreover, erroneously invoked by modern Civil Libertarians, was never intended to protect individuals from the state governments. Jefferson is far from alone in insisting that only the federal government is restricted from regulating the press, church-state relations, and so forth. The states may do as they wish in these areas."[26]


Woods was received into the Roman Catholic Church from Lutheranism.[27] He wrote How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. For eleven years, he was associate editor of the Latin Mass Magazine, which advocates traditional Catholicism. As a traditionalist Catholic,[28] Woods is also recognized for his books attacking the post-Vatican II church.[29][30] Woods advocates what he calls the Old Latin Mass[31] and cultural conservatism.[32][33]


Tom Woods at CPAC in February 2010.

In a 2011 interview, Woods said that he entered Harvard as a "middle-of-the-road Republican, the very thing that drives me most berserk today" and then later became a "fully-fledged libertarian."[3] He has criticized those he deems "neoconservative" and has identified as a traditional conservative.[34]

Woods' Politically Incorrect Guide to American History was scathingly reviewed by conservative commentator Max Boot[35] of The Weekly Standard. Boot accused Woods of being overly sympathetic with Southerners such as John C. Calhoun and their belief in a state's right to secede and in state nullification, while exaggerating the militarism of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Bill Clinton.[35] James Haley, by contrast, praised the book in the conservative Weekly Standard as "a compelling rebuttal to the liberal sentiment encrusted upon current history texts."[36] Woods responded by criticizing Boot as an embodiment of " everything that is wrong with modern conservatism."[37]


Woods has been highly critical of Keynesian economics.[38] Woods formerly co-hosted the Contra Krugman podcast with economist Robert P. Murphy; the podcast critiqued the writings of Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman.[7] Woods has been an advocate of hard money.[39] and is critical of the Federal Reserve and other central banks which he views as responsible for unnatural inflation and the business cycle.[40]

Affiliation with League of the South and Neo-Confederate organizations

In 1994, Woods co-founded the League of the South, a neo-conferederate organization, and has been criticized for this affiliation.[35][41][42] Woods contended in 2018 that the League was founded as a "decentralist" organization and then later took a "dramatic" and "vicious" turn toward racism and anti-semitism.[43] Woods declined to apologize for his membership in the League, asserting that it is "largely a cultural Southern organization."[44]

In a 2005 article in Reason Magazine, Cathy Young criticized Woods as "no libertarian," noting Woods's involvement in the neo-confederate League as well as his failure in his book to acknowledge that the Confederacy was dedicated to preserving slavery.[44] Young noted Woods' frequent writing in the group's magazine, The Southern Patriot, including a 1997 article in which Woods claimed that the Confederates' defeat was "the real watershed from which we can trace many of the destructive trends that continue to ravage our civilization today."[44]

In 2013, an article by the non-profit Political Research Associates noted that Woods was a frequent speaker at neo-confederate events throughout the 1990s and since then, along with contributing to the American Secession Project started in 2000. The authors noted that a 1997 article written by Woods in the neo-confederate Southern Partisan magazine had him include in the author byline that he was a "founding member of the League of the South."[45]


The Tom Woods Show

Since September 2013, Woods has delivered a daily podcast, The Tom Woods Show, originally hosted on investment broker Peter Schiff's website. On the podcasts, which are now archived on Woods' own website, Woods conducts interviews on economic topics, foreign policy, and history.[6]

Contra Krugman

In September 2015, Woods began Contra Krugman, a weekly podcast, with economist Robert P. Murphy that critiques The New York Times columns of economist Paul Krugman by analyzing Krugman's viewpoints through the lens of free market Austrian economics. The podcast sought to teach economics "by uncovering and dissecting the errors of Krugman."[6][7] The podcast released its final episode on June 11, 2020.


As author

  • The Great Façade: Vatican II and the Regime of Novelty in the Catholic Church (co-authored with Christopher Ferrara;[46] 2002) ISBN 1-890740-10-1
  • The Church Confronts Modernity: Catholic Intellectuals and the Progressive Era (2004) ISBN 0-231-13186-0
  • The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History (2004) ISBN 0-89526-047-6
  • The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy (2005) ISBN 0-7391-1036-5
  • How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (2005) ISBN 0-89526-038-7
  • 33 Questions About American History You're Not Supposed to Ask (2007) ISBN 0-307-34668-4
  • Sacred Then and Sacred Now: The Return of the Old Latin Mass (2007)[47] ISBN 978-0-9793540-2-1
  • Who Killed the Constitution?: The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush (co-authored with Kevin Gutzman; 2008) (ISBN 978-0-307-40575-3)
  • Beyond Distributism (2008)
  • Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse (February 2009) (ISBN 1-5969-8587-9, 978-1-5969-8587-2)
  • Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century (2010) ISBN 1-59698-149-0
  • Rollback: Repealing Big Government Before the Coming Fiscal Collapse (2011) ISBN 1-59698-141-5
  • Real Dissent: A Libertarian Sets Fire to the Index Card of Allowable Opinion (2014) ISBN 1-50084-476-4

As editor


  1. "How Does a Libertarian Survive College or Grad School? | Tom Woods". Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  2. "Thomas E. Woods, Jr". Mises Institute. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  3. Naji Filali, Interview with Thomas E. Woods, Jr., Harvard Political Review, August 16, 2011.
  4. Woods, Tom. "About Tom Woods". Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  5. "Liberty Classroom | The History and Economics They Didn't Teach You". Liberty Classroom. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  6. "Profile: Thomas E. Woods, Jr". Mises Institute. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  7. O'Leary, Lizzie (24 September 2019). "The Libertarians on the Anti-Krugman Cruise Just Want to Be Left Alone". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  8. "What You Should Know About the Author of the NYT Bestseller, Politically Incorrect Guide to American History | History News Network".
  9. "Best Sellers - Books - the New York Times". The New York Times.
  10. "Editorial Board at Libertarian Papers". Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  11. "First Principles – Banana Republic, U.S.A". 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  12. "About: Author, Historian, Libertarian | Tom Woods". Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  13. Inferno New Media. "About Tom Woods | Tom Woods". Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  14. "ISI Announces 2006 Templeton Enterprise Award Winners". Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  15. New York Times "Bestseller List" (Paperback non-fiction), January 9, 2005
  16. New York Times "Bestseller List" (Paperback non-fiction), March 08, 2009
  17. "About: Author, Historian, Libertarian | Tom Woods". Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  18. "Libertarian Anarchy: Against the State". 2014-03-14. Retrieved 2018-06-30.
  19. "They Don't Dare Tell You the Real Meaning of July 4 | Tom Woods". Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  20. "Ep. 322 Lysander Spooner: Anti-Slavery, Pro-Secession | Tom Woods". Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  21. "Ep. 323 Does the Constitution Bind Anyone? | Tom Woods". Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  22. "Ep. 1086 Lysander Spooner: The Evolution of a Radical Libertarian | Tom Woods". Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  23. "Ep. 1468 Spooner vs. Locke: Can Governments Rest on "Consent"? | Tom Woods". Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  24. "Is Nullification Unconstitutional? | Tom Woods". Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  25. Sanford Levinson, The Twenty-First Century Rediscovery of Nullification and Secession in American Political Rhetoric: Frivolousness Incarnate or Serious Arguments to Be Wrestled With?, Vol. 67, No. 1, Arkansas Law Review (initially prepared for delivery as the Wylie H. Davis Distinguished Lecture, University of Arkansas School of Law, September 27, 2013).
  26. Thomas, Woods (1997). "Christendom's Last Stand". Southern Partisan. 17 (2nd Quarter 1997): 26–29.
  27. Woods, Thomas E. (Presenter) (2008). The Catholic Church: Builder of Civilization (Television production). Episode 8: "Catholic Charity". Eternal Word Television Network. ASIN B00C30D3NG. Retrieved 2013-05-21. My personal favorite in this list is Martin Luther because I, myself, am a former Lutheran.
  28. "A Profound Philosophical Commonality by Anthony Flood". 1987-11-22. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  29. Beirich, Heidi. "Two Treatises: A pair of recent books attack the Vatican and its current policies form the core of radical traditionalist teachings". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  30. Woods, Thomas E.; Ferrara, Christopher A. (2002). The Great Façade: Vatican II and the Regime of Novelty in the Catholic Church. The Remnant Press. ISBN 978-1890740108.
  31. "Sacred Then and Sacred Now: The Return of the Old Latin Mass". 2007-09-14. Archived from the original on 2008-05-01. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  32. "History and Truth: An Interview With Thomas E. Woods, Jr. by Bernard Chapin". 2005-07-23. Archived from the original on 2014-03-13. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  33. "Up From Conservatism – Mises Media". Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  34. E. Woods, Thomas. "The Split on the Right". Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  35. Boot, Max (Feb 14, 2005). "Incorrect History". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  36. "Haley, James W., The Standard Reader, Weekly Standard 01/31/2005". 31 January 2005.
  37. "A Factually Correct Guide for Max Boot". The American Conservative. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  38. kanopiadmin (2014-08-05). "Keynesian Predictions vs. American History". Mises Institute. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  39. "Why the Greenbackers Are Wrong (AERC 2013) | Tom Woods". Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  40. Woods, Thomas E. (2009). Meltdown : a free-market look at why the stock market collapsed, the economy tanked, and government bailouts will make things worse. Washington, DC: Regnery Pub. ISBN 978-1-59698-587-2. OCLC 276335198.
  41. "Review Essay of The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History by Thomas E. Woods, Jr". 2014-07-30. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  42. Max Blumenthal (July 14, 2006). "Parshall featured founding member of neo-Confederate hate group as guest American history expert". Media Matters for America.
  43. Tom Woods (May 10, 2018). "What's the Deal with Woods and the "League of the South"?".
  44. Young, Cathy (June 2005). "Behind the Jeffersonian Veneer". Reason. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  45. Tabachnick, Rachel; Cocozzelli, Frank L. (November 22, 2013). "Nullification, Neo-Confederates, and the Revenge of the Old Right". Political Research Associates. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  46. On Woods' association with Ferrara, see "On Chris Ferrara"
  47. Also on audio book Archived 2011-07-08 at the Wayback Machine, as read by the author Thomas Woods.