Peter J. Duignan

Peter J. Duignan


Peter J. Duignan was a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He passed away on November 17, 2012.

He has written extensively on comparative colonial history, modern European history, African documentation and bibliography, Hispanics in the United States, US foreign policy, Africa, immigration to the United States, and the Atlantic Alliance (the US and Europe since 1945). His current research focuses on the role of immigration in the making and remaking of America, Islamic fundamentalism, and Americans and African-Americans in Africa and Africans in America, a study of reciprocal relations.

His most recent publications are Bilingual Education: A Critique (Hoover Essay) and NATO: Its Past, Present and Future (Hoover Press, 2000) and, with Lewis Gann, The Spanish Speakers in the United States: A History (University Press of America, 2000), and Africa and the World (UPA, 2000).

A prolific writer, he has authored, edited, or coauthored over forty-five books on Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East and was coeditor of the five volume set Colonialism in Africa and the influential United States in the 1980s (Hoover Press, 1979). He coauthored (with Lewis Gann) Why South Africa Will Survive, The United States and Africa: A History, and Hope for South Africa. He is also a member of the editorial board of Orbis magazine.

Duignan published (with Lewis Gann) an extensive three-volume historical analysis of the Atlantic community since the end of World War II—The Rebirth of the West: The Americanization of the Democratic World, 1945–1958 (Blackwell, 1992), Contemporary Europe and the Atlantic Alliance (Blackwell, 1997), and The United States and the New Europe, 1945–1993 (Blackwell, 1994)—and has a number of monographs in the Hoover Essays in Public Policy series on the same period. He also coedited the influential Politics in Western Europe (Hoover Press, 1988, 1992) and The Debate Over Immigration in the United States (Hoover Press, 1998).

His awards include a Ford foreign area fellowship to Africa (1957–59) and a Rockefeller Foundation international fellowship (1963–64). He also received a Guggenheim fellowship (1973–74), a three-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (1973–75), and was a fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge, St. Antony's College, Oxford, and the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton.

He has been a member of the Stanford University African Studies Committee since 1964 and a member of the European Studies Council at the university since 1985.

Duignan was elected to the board of the African Studies Association and has chaired committees of that organization and the Association of Research Libraries. He is also a member of the American Historical Association, the Middle East Studies Association, the American Political Science Association, and the American Professors for Peace in the Middle East. Duignan was elected a fellow of the Royal Historical Society in London in 1995.

He received his master's and doctoral degrees in history from Stanford University and was a member of Stanford's Western civilization staff in the late 1950s before joining the Hoover Institution in 1960.

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Recent Commentary

Robert Bates on failing states in Africa after independence

with Robert Bates, Peter J. Duignanvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Professor Robert Bates explores with Hoover senior fellow Peter Duignan the harsh reality of failed and failing states in Africa after independence. Bates outlines some of the key policy failures at work during the transition from colonial rule and explains how more recent democratization efforts have typically resulted in highly authoritarian and abusive regimes. Despite the risks associated with foreign aid, there is hope that the economic and political climate of Africa can improve with new funding strategies and free trade initiatives.

Who Could Have Asked for More?

by Peter J. Duignanvia Hoover Digest
Saturday, July 30, 2005

Sixty years after the end of World War II, Peter Duignan reflects on what arose from the ashes.

Making and Remaking America: Immigration into the United States

by Peter J. Duignanvia Analysis
Monday, September 15, 2003

Continued immigration constantly reshapes the demography, economy, and society of the United States. As a country of immigrants, America must respond to three fundamental immigration questions: how many immigrants should be admitted; from where and in what status should they arrive; and how should the rules governing the system be enforced?

During the 1980s and 1990s, the U.S. Congress responded to growing gaps between immigration policy and immigration reality by making major changes in immigration laws and their administration. In 1986, the United States enacted the world’s largest legalization program for unauthorized foreigners and introduced sanctions on employers who knowingly hired illegal foreign workers. Instead of slowing illegal immigration, however, this program allowed more foreigners to arrive legally and illegally, which prompted another round of reforms in 1996 aimed at ensuring that new arrivals would not receive welfare payments.

On September 11, 2001, foreigners in the United States hijacked four commercial planes. Two were flown into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, bringing them down and killing 3,000 people. President George W. Bush declared war on terrorists and the countries that harbor them, and Congress enacted legislation to fight terrorism. This includes new measures for tightening procedures for issuing visas to foreign visitors, tracking foreign students and visitors while they are in the United States, and giving immigration authorities new power to arrest and detain foreigners suspected of ties to terrorism. The Immigration and Naturalization Service was abolished, and its functions of preventing illegal immigration and providing services to foreign visitors and immigrants were separated in the new Department of Homeland Security.

However, anti-terrorism measures have not slowed immigration to the United States. America is poised to remain the world’s major destination for immigrants, and as patterns in U.S. history suggest, most of the newcomers will soon become Americans. However, past success in integrating immigrants does not guarantee that integrating newcomers will be easy or automatic. As immigrants continue to make and remake the country, the United States must develop an immigration policy for the twenty-first century.

NATO Ten Years from Now

by Peter J. Duignanvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 30, 2001

The Europeans want a bigger share in running NATO—and a smaller U.S. presence on their continent. Hoover fellow Peter Duignan explains why nothing would serve our interests better.

Bye-Bye, Bilingual

by Peter J. Duignanvia Hoover Digest
Friday, July 30, 1999

English is the most widely spoken language in the world at large, but in many of America’s own classrooms it remains a foreign tongue. Peter Duignan argues that bilingual education has proven an abject failure—and must be abolished.

VETO NATO? The Future of NATO

with Peter J. Duignan, Melvyn B. Kraussvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, January 12, 1999

In the past decade we have witnessed the end of the cold war and the demise of the Soviet Union. Should NATO be the next to go? Peter Duignan, Hoover Institution Senior Fellow, and Melvyn Krauss, William L. Clayton Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution ask what are NATO's new missions, and what justifies America's continued involvement in them?

Bilingual Education: A Critique

by Peter J. Duignanvia Analysis
Tuesday, September 1, 1998

Bilingual education has been a subject of national debate since the 1960s. This essay traces the evolution of that debate from its origin in the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Bilingual Education Act (1968), which decreed that a child should be instructed in his or her native tongue for a transitional year while she or he learned English but was to transfer to an all-English classroom as fast as possible. These prescriptions were ignored by bilingual enthusiasts; English was neglected, and Spanish language and cultural maintenance became the norm.

Bilingual education was said to be essential for the purposes of gaining a new sense of pride for the Hispanics and to resist Americanization. The Lau v. Nichols (1974) decision stands out as a landmark on the road to bilingual education for those unable to speak English: bilingual education moved away from a transitional year to a multiyear plan to teach children first in their home language, if it was not English, before teaching them in English. This facilitation theory imprisoned Spanish speakers in classrooms where essentially only Spanish was taught, and bilingual education became Spanish cultural maintenance with English limited to thirty minutes a day. The essay discusses the pros and cons of bilingual education.

Criticism of bilingual education has grown as parents and numerous objective analyses have shown it was ineffective, kept students too long in Spanish-only classes, and slowed the learning of English and assimilation into American society. High dropout rates for Latino students, low graduation rates from high schools and colleges have imprisoned Spanish speakers at the bottom of the economic and educational ladder in the United States.

This revolt, the defects of bilingual education, and the changes needed to restore English for the Children are covered in the essay. The implications of Proposition 227 abolishing bilingual education in California are also discussed.

The More NATO, the Better

by Peter J. Duignanvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, July 30, 1998

The Senate has now approved the Clinton administration’s proposal to expand NATO to include Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. Arguing that NATO has kept the peace for fifty years, Hoover fellow Peter Duignan votes a resounding aye. Take that, Mel Krauss (see below).