Few historians of the United States have written as well as Carl Becker, Cornell University's famous professor of modern European history. Becker was born in Iowa and studied at the University of Wisconsin, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1907. His study The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers (1932), is a classic, as is The Heavenly City Revisited. Becker taught at Dartmouth and the University of Kansas before joining the Cornell faculty in 1917. After his retirement in 1941, Beck was professor emeritus and university historian at Cornell. His work continues to remain a model for writers of history, with its economy of words, keen analytical sense, and graceful style. As a distinguished essayist, practicing historian, and apostle of democracy, Becker almost always made freedom and responsibility his themes. Beck died in 1945.