Elliott received his Ph.D. in American History from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He taught for many years in New York and Massachusetts. He lived in Australia and lectured at the University of Queensland on Business and Society, and History. His research focus has been on the Crisis of the American Dream. He received the Outstanding Teacher Award from the University of Chicago in 1993, 1991, and 1988, and he received the Andrew White Memorial Prize in European History, Yale University in 1957.