has spent much of her professional life writing and speaking about the importance of knowing American history and teaching it well. As chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1986 to 1993, she wrote and spoke about the importance of teaching children about the leaders, events, and ideas that have shaped our world, and she worked to provide opportunities for educators to gain the in-depth knowledge that lies behind outstanding teaching. Cheney has worked to bring tales of the American past to a wide audience, writing articles about history for numerous publications on topics ranging from women’s suffrage in the West to the way Americans celebrated the country’s centennial. She has also turned her attention to children and their families, writing six bestselling history books for them, including “We the People: The Story of Our Constitution
” (Simon & Schuster, 2008). Her most recent book — an in-depth biography of James Madison, titled “James Madison: A Life Reconsidered
” (Viking, 2014) — is a New York Times bestseller.