Jay Sexton

Jay Sexton
Professor and Kinder Endowed Chair in Constitutional Democracy
209 Read Hall
Research Area: 
U.S. and Global History

B.A. University of Kansas

M.St. and D.Phil. University of Oxford


Born and raised in the rural heartland, Jay Sexton studied abroad as an undergraduate. It changed his life. His mission is to empower Missouri students by helping them to expand their intellectual horizons.

Sexton offers an undergraduate class on Global History, which includes a week spent in England, and directs a one-year MA in Atlantic History and Politics that includes a summer school month embedded in Oxford University.

After spending nearly two decades in Britain as a Marshall Scholar and then faculty member at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, Sexton returned to the Midwest in 2016 as the Kinder Institute Chair of Constitutional Democracy at Mizzou. Click here to watch his inaugural lecture in which he outlines his take on U.S. history.

His most recent book, A Nation Forged by Crisis: A New American History (Basic Books, 2018), reveals how the United States that we know today is the product of transformative moments of change whose origins and implications extended beyond the nation’s borders. It was named 2018 History book of the year by The World magazine. Listen to Sexton discuss the book with NYC radio host Brian Lehrer, download his Bernath Lecture which provides an overview of his arguments, and read reviews in the Wall Street Journal and h-net.

Sexton’s other books include a study of foreign investment in the United States and a history of the Monroe Doctrine, which has attracted recent interest as a result of actions taken by the Trump administration. Sexton has edited books with Richard Carwardine on the global legacy of Abraham Lincoln, the history of anti-imperialism with Ian Tyrrell, and, most recently, with Kristin Hoganson on America’s trans-imperial entanglements. In the run-up to the 2016 election, he produced a report with Patrick Andelic on the voting patterns of U.S. expats.

In addition to regular trips to the U.K., where he is Emeritus Fellow of Corpus Christi College and Distinguished Fellow of Oxford’s Rothermere American Institute, Sexton has lectured across Europe, North America, and Japan. His work and commentary has appeared in public outlets on five continents, and has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese.

Sexton works with enterprising students, both undergraduate and graduate, who set their own intellectual agenda. When he is not reading or talking history, he is following KC sports teams.