David Davenport is a research fellow emeritus at the Hoover Institution specializing in constitutional federalism, civic education, modern American conservatism, and international law. During his career at Hoover, he also served in administrative capacities as counselor to the director and the inaugural director of Hoover’s Washington, DC, program.

Davenport is the former president of Pepperdine University (1985–2000). Under his leadership, the university experienced significant growth in quality and reputation. He is the cofounder of Common Sense California and the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership. He also served on the board of California Forward, a major bipartisan reform group, and was a member of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s California Performance Review Commission. He is a former senior fellow of the Ashbrook Center, where he worked on civic education projects. 

Davenport and Jeffrey Sikkenga have co-authored a new book on civic education in 2024, A Republic If You Can Teach It:  Fixing America's Civic Education Crisis.

With his colleague Gordon Lloyd, Davenport co-authored Equality of Opportunity: A Century of Debate, which was released in 2023. They also co-wrote How Public Policy Became War (2019), Rugged Individualism: Dead or Alive? (2017), The New Deal and Modern American Conservatism: A Defining Rivalry (2013); These books offer distinctive ways of understanding both historic and current debates between progressives and conservatives in the United States.

Davenport has been a regular columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service, the San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes.com, and the Washington Examiner. He has also contributed radio commentaries to the Salem Network.

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