Nebraska Authors

John D. Hicks

Born 1890 Nodaway County, MO (USA)

In his 1931 book, The Populist Revolt, Hicks offered the first positive re-assessment of populism as a healthy regional defense of democracy, by people who were genuinely oppressed, at a time when democratic requirements were threatened by financial and industrial developments. Previously, historians had tended to treat populism as a movement of misguided rural rabble.

Hicks became a distinguished American historian. After leaving the University of Nebraska, where he had been Dean of Arts and Sciences, he served as Morrison Professor of History at the University of California at Berkeley from 1942-1957. While at Nebraska, Hicks encountered Everett Dick as a student, and got Dick into the Ph.D. program at the University of Wisconsin. Hicks was also well acquainted with Mari Sandoz, probably from the late 1920s, according to Helen Winter Stauffer, and Sandoz took a course from Hicks in 1932. Sandoz remembered Hicks as something of a mentor and mentioned him in connection with her novel Capitol City.

Historians with related interests include Robert Cherny and Christopher Lasch. See also Charlyne Berens.


Places Lived

Lincoln, NE
Berkeley, CA

Author Of

  • Nonfiction
  • Biography


American history; Populism; Democracy; Autobiography


M.A.and A.B., Northwestern University
PhD., 1916, University of Wisconsin


Academic Dean

Places Worked

University of Nebraska, Lincoln, chairman of history department, then Dean of Arts and Sciences
University of Wisconsin
University of California at Berkley


Agricultural Historical Society, member and past president
Mississippi Valley Historical Association, member and past president


The Populist Revolt. 1931.
The American Nation. 1941.
A Short History of American Democracy. 1943.
Agricultural Discontent in the Middle West. 1951. (with Saloutas)
Twentieth Century Populism. 1951 and 1964.
Republican Ascendancy, 1921-33. 1960.
Federal Union. 1970. (5 different editions)
Rehearsal for Disaster: The Boom and Collapse of 1919-20. 1961.
My Life With History: An Autobiography. 1968.

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John D. Hicks

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