[Photo of Dr. Burton W. Folsom]

Dr. Burton W. Folsom

Senior Fellow in Economic Education

Dr. Burton Folsom Jr. is a history professor at Hillsdale College and senior fellow in economic education for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. He currently serves on the Mackinac Center’s Board of Scholars, and from 1994 to 1999 was the Center's senior fellow in economic history.

For the Mackinac Center, Folsom has authored dozens of widely reprinted articles about Michigan's rich and varied past as well as a 1997 book, Empire Builders: How Michigan Entrepreneurs Helped Make America Great. His other books include Urban Capitalists: Entrepreneurs and City Growth in Pennsylvania's Lackawanna and Lehigh Regions, 1800-1920 (1981); The Myth of the Robber Barons: A New Look at the Rise of Big Business in America (1991), now in its sixth edition; New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR's Economic Legacy Has Damaged America (2008); and FDR Goes to War (2011), which he co-authored with Anita Folsom. He also has edited two volumes, The Spirit of Freedom: Essays in American History and The Industrial Revolution and Free Trade. His work has appeared in major newspapers and magazines including The Detroit NewsThe American Spectator, and The Wall Street Journal. He blogs at BurtFolsom.com.

Folsom received his Ph.D. in American history from the University of Pittsburgh.

From Hospitals to Tsunami Relief: Lessons of Charles Hackley

Millions of Americans have contributed generously, just as they were accustomed to doing a century ago, because Americans have long believed that people voluntarily helping people is the way civil society is meant to work. … more

Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington and Liberty

We cannot know what views Douglass and Washington might hold if they were alive today. But it’s worth remembering that the injustice and racial discrimination they faced in their era were at least as unforgiving as any persecution experienced in America in recent decades. … more

Black History Month: Remembering Ralph Bunche

“There is,” he said, “a steady tendency toward polarization of the white and non-white peoples of the world which can lead to ultimate catastrophe for all.” … more

Ford Did Indeed Have A Better Idea

It was clear to Ford that hard work and entrepreneurial risk-taking were the sources of America’s great wealth. “Our help does not come from Washington, but from ourselves,” he wrote. “The government is our servant and never should be anything but a servant.” … more

The Crystal Gazer from Crystal Falls

Emil Hurja, a native of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, was the pioneer of political polling, and was instrumental in the success of the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his political program, "The New Deal." Later, a disillusioned Hurja broke with Roosevelt over policy and lost a run for Congress. Known as "the Crystal Gazer from Crystal Falls," Hurja was a local boy with a national impact. … more

An Anniversary All Michigan Citizens Can Celebrate

By an overwhelming vote of citizens, the 1851 Michigan Constitution took the state out of economic development and gave wide berth to free markets and entrepreneurship. … more

Let There Be Lighthouses!

One of the Century's Major Books: Kirk's The Roots of American Order

Michiganian Russell Kirk's quarter-century-old book, The Roots of American Order, has become one of the most important explanations of America's unique rise to greatness and warnings of the erosion of her freedom and prosperity. … more

Are High School Economics Textbooks Reliable?

A review of the 16 most-used high school economics textbooks in Michigan reveals that many contain gross errors and dangerous myths about the market economy and the proper role of government. … more

How Reliable Are Michigan High School Economics Textbooks?

  A strong knowledge of sound economic principles is not only important in the twenty-first century global marketplace, it is essential for the maintenance of a free society. Are Michigan high school students being taught what they need to know in order to succeed and prosper?
  This review of 16 of the most commonly used economics textbooks in Michigan high schools uses 12 criteria-including issues of trade, taxation, and the role of government-to evaluate which texts are and are not effective at presenting students with a balanced and accurate perspective on the modern market economy. Each text is graded, from A to F, on its ability to clearly instruct students in the "economic way of thinking."
  An abridged 27-page written copy of the report may be ordered normally, or the full reviews of each textbook may be downloaded at no charge via www.mackinac.org… more