William Goetzmann was born in 1931 in St. Paul Minnesota. He received his BA and PhD from Yale University. He also taught taught at Yale before going to the University of Texas at Austin to develop his American Studies program. He is a historian and emeritus professor in American studies at the University of Texas in Austin. He won the Parkman Prize and Pulitzer Prize for historians for his work on the American west. His written works are focused on the topics of American philosophy, American political history and American arts. He wrote Beyond the Revolution: A History of American Thought From Paine to Pragmatism in 2009.