headshot (k. beck)_o18
Photo Credit: Ken Beck

I am a professor of history and the project director of the Papers of Martin Van Buren.

My primary research focus is on the Early Republic and Civil War periods (roughly 1815 to 1877). I am the author or editor of eight books, including the award-winning Andrew Jackson, Southerner and The Coming of Democracy: Presidential Campaigning in the Age of Jackson. My current research project is on the 1844 presidential election. 

Besides writing for traditional academic audiences, I have contributed my expertise to a number of media outlets, including the Washington Post, C-SPAN, NBC News, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, CTV News, the Associated Press, Voice of America, the Nashville Tennessean, and History News Network

Although I post infrequently now, my blog generally focuses on the Early Republic period, defined by the Society for Historians of the Early Republic (SHEAR) as encompassing the years 1776-1861. Most of the posts center on Andrew Jackson and Jacksonian politics, but they also address other topics, including teaching, writing, the Civil War, southern history, and the history of conspiracy theories.

Disclaimer: This website is not sponsored or hosted by my university, and the opinions and views I express in the postings and comments are solely my own.

8 thoughts on “Home

  1. Dr. Cheathem –

    Your recent interview with Brian Lamb was excellent although the timing threw me off a bit. Your biography on Jackson is excellent (a signed copy resides on my shelves). I look forward to your upcoming books on the 1840 and 1844 elections.

    Do you know the status of James Bradley’s bio of Martin Van Buren?


    1. I hope by timing you meant the fact that the book came out in 2013, not my pauses after Brian’s questions!

      James is plugging away, but I’m not sure exactly where he’s at in MVB’s life.

      Thanks for writing.


  2. I enjoyed watching Q and A tonight on C-span. I had signed up to be on the mailing list but have never received anything to date. Could you please check on this for me? FYI.. I was a student of Robert Remini in a survey course back in the ’70s. Since then I taught AP United States History for 33 years.

    1. Bill,

      Glad you liked it.

      I actually don’t have any control over the mailing list. You would need to re-subscribe using the button at the bottom of my website.


  3. I have a gold coin/token(?) with a bust of Andrew Jackson on one side and on the reverse it says 2nd inauguration, Andrew Jackson president of united states 1833. (+/- a few words/spelling). Do you know what I have? And, does it have any monetary or historical significance? I have had it about 50 years and got it from my grandmother.

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