175 Makers of History: David M. Potter

David M. Potter 32C 57H
Historian; Pulitzer Prize Winner

David Potter

David M. Potter won the 1977 Pulitzer Prize for history for his definitive work on antebellum America, The Impending Crisis: America before the Civil War, 1848–1861. Potter died of cancer six years before its publication. The work was completed and edited by his Stanford University colleague Don Fehrenbacher.

But during his lifetime, Potter was no stranger to success. His innovative and well-received 1958 book, People of Plenty, used the insights of social psychology and cultural anthropology to interpret the whole of American history, establishing him as one of the nation's most important and influential historians.