R.I.P. Lee Benson, Author of The Concept of Jacksonian Democracy

Lee Benson, author of The Concept of Jacksonian Democracy: New York as a Test Case (1961), has died. While Jacksonian historians recognize Benson's work as pioneering the use of social science research and quantitative methods to argue for an ethnocultural interpretation of the Jacksonian period, the UPenn professor was also deeply involved in civic engagement: …

Early Republic Biographies That Need To Be Written

While I'm on break this week, I'm posting two of the blog posts that generated the most interest. Today's post is one of the first posts I wrote for the blog. It addresses the Early Republic individuals who still need a scholarly or an updated biography written about them. From 28 July 2010: In a …

The Many Faces of Sean Wilentz

Sean Wilentz is an historian familiar to those who have studied Jacksonian politics. The Chronicle of Higher Education has an interesting piece on him this week. Even his harshest critics, however, pay their respects to Wilentz's academic career. His first book, Chants Democratic: New York City and the Rise of the American Working Class, 1788-1850 (Oxford University …

2010 Presidential Rankings

Siena Research Institute, housed at Siena College in Loudonville, New York, recently released its presidential expert poll. The SRI press release explains the methodology used:  The Siena College Research Institute (SRI) Survey of U.S. Presidents is based on responses from 238 presidential scholars, historians and political scientists that responded via mail or web to an invitation …

Biographies That Need Writing

In a 1997 essay entitled "American Political Biography," Robert V. Remini assessed the state of the field and found it wanting: "Old-fashioned political biographies of 'dead white males' that are 'character-driven narratives' seem to have little appeal for graduate students. . . . These biographies could be written by doctoral candidates and would add significantly to our …