Wertheim, Stephen

Visiting Assistant Professor


Ph.D — Columbia University, 2015
M.Phil. — Columbia University, 2011
M.A. — Columbia University, 2009
A.B. — Harvard University, 2007


Interests and Research

Stephen Wertheim is a historian of the United States in the world. He researches U.S. foreign relations and international order from the nineteenth century to the present, with a special focus on concepts of politics and law. He is currently writing a book about the birth of U.S. global supremacy in World War II. Before coming to Columbia, Stephen was a permanent Lecturer in History at Birkbeck, University of London; a Junior Research Fellow at King’s College, University of Cambridge; and a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University. He has also written essays in Foreign AffairsForeign PolicyThe NationThe New York Review of BooksThe New York TimesThe Washington Post, and elsewhere.



Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy in World War II (forthcoming from Harvard University Press)



“Instrumental Internationalism: The American Origins of the United Nations, 1940–3,” Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 55, No. 2 (April 2019).

“The Birth of Global Knowledge: Intellectual Networks in the World Crisis, 1919-39” (with Ludovic Tournès and Inderjeet Parmar), International Politics, Vol. 55, No. 6 (November 2018): 727-733.

“The League of Nations: A Retreat from International Law?” Journal of Global History, Vol. 7, No. 2 (July 2012): 210-232.

“The League That Wasn't: American Designs for a Legalist-Sanctionist League of Nations and the Intellectual Origins of International Organization, 1914-1920,” Diplomatic History, Vol. 35, No. 5 (November 2011): 797-836.

“On Moralism and Rwanda: A Reply to Linda Melvern,” Journal of Genocide Research, Vol. 13, No. 1-2 (Spring 2011): 159-163.

“A Solution from Hell: The United States and the Rise of Humanitarian Interventionism, 1991-2003,” Journal of Genocide Research, Vol. 12, No. 3-4 (September-December 2010): 149-172.

“Reluctant Liberator: Theodore Roosevelt's Philosophy of Self-Determination and Preparation for Philippine Independence,” Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 3 (September 2009): 494-518.



“Grand Strategy: An American Power Politics,” in Elizabeth Borgwardt, Christopher McKnight-Nichols, and Andrew Preston, eds., Rethinking Grand Strategy (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

Reading the International Mind: International Public Opinion in Early Twentieth Century Anglo-American Thought,” in Nicolas Guilhot and Daniel Bessner, eds., The Decisionist Imagination: Sovereignty, Social Science, and Democracy in the Twentieth Century (Berghahn Books, 2018), ch. 1.

Trump Against Exceptionalism,” in Diane Labrosse, Frank Gavin, Joshua Rovner, and Robert L. Jervis, eds., Chaos in the Liberal Order: The Trump Presidency and International Politics in the 21st Century (Columbia University Press, 2018), ch. 9.

Donald Trump Versus American Exceptionalism: Toward the Sources of Trumpian Conduct,” H-Diplo and The International Security Studies Forum (Policy Series: America and the World - 2017 and Beyond), February 1, 2017.


Journalistic essays

2020 Will See a Monumental Clash Over America’s Place in the World,” The New York Times, February 26, 2019.

Democratic Party Elites Silence Ilhan Omar at Their Peril” (with Trita Parsi), The Guardian, February 16, 2019.

Don’t Let Democrats Become the Party of War” (with Trita Parsi), Foreign Policy, February 4, 2019.

Return of the Neocons,” New York Review of Books, January 2, 2019.

The War Against War,” Review of Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro, The Internationalists: How A Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World (Simon & Schuster, 2017), The Nation, December 3/10, 2018, 27-32.

Paeans to the Postwar Order Won't Save Us,” War on the Rocks, August 6, 2018.

Forget Whether Trump is ‘Normal.' That Won’t Help Beat Him,” The Washington Post, June 6, 2018.

Trump's Foreign Policy Is Very American,” (with Thomas Meaney) New York Times, March 11, 2018, SR7.

Did We Take Trump Too Seriously?” (interview with Max Strasser and readers), New York Times, July 26, 2017.

A 'Trump Doctrine' Is Born: 'America First' Has Become 'Defending the West,'” New York Times, July 23, 2017, SR1-2.

The Long Road to Trump's War” (with Samuel Moyn), New York Times, April 10, 2017, A21.

Democratizing U.S. Foreign Policy: Bringing Experts and the Public Back Together” (with Daniel Bessner), Foreign Affairs, April 5, 2017.

Trump Isn't an Isolationist. He's a Militarist” The Washington Post, February 19, 2017, B2.

Trump and American Exceptionalism: Why a Crippled America Is Something New,” Foreign Affairs, January 3, 2017

Hunter-Blatherer: On Jared Diamond” The Nation, April 22, 2013, 35-37.

Grand Flattery: On the Yale Grand Strategy Seminar” (with Thomas Meaney), The Nation, May 28, 2012, 27-31.

Barack Obama and the Limits of Prudence” (with Thomas Meaney), Dissent, October 10, 2010.

When Humanitarianism Hurts,” The Utopian, Vol. 6, March 2010.

Bleeding for Humanity: Humanitarian Intervention Is Politics,” Harvard International Review, June 2009.