Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Oxford University
Website URL AND
American Presidential Elections, Democratization, Populism, Imperial Presidency, Transformational Presidency,
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She can also be reached at OR

Personal Info

About Me

Professor Laura Ellyn Smith is a presidential historian. She graduated with a PhD in History from the University of Mississippi. Her thesis was entitled “Populism and Democratization in the Presidential Election of 1832.” She gained a Distinction in her MA in U.S. History and Politics at University College London, where she was awarded the Americas Excellence Award. She graduated with First Class Honors for her BA in American Studies with a Year Abroad from the University of Leicester.

She is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor teaching the American Presidency at Richmond, The American International University in London. She is also teaching American Race Relations and Politics at Canterbury Christ Church University, while pursuing a second doctorate – a DPhil in History analyzing the US imperial presidency at Oxford University, St. Anne’s College.

See her ORCiD page for expanded CV:

Recent Publications

Journal Articles and Book Chapters:

“A Promise Fulfilled? Obama and Cuba,” in The Obama Administration: Perceptions and Encounters Beyond America, eds. Rachel Pistol and Dawn-Marie Gibson. Forthcoming.  


“FDR and Women’s Baseball,” in The Sporting Presidency: Presidents and Sport from Theodore Roosevelt to Donald Trump, eds. Adam Burns and Rivers Gambrell (Edinburgh University Press). Forthcoming.  


“Anti-Jacksonian democratization: The first national political party conventions,” American Nineteenth Century History, Volume 21, Issue 2 (August 2020), pp. 149-169.


“The Death of the Transformational Presidency?” Journal of American Studies in Italy (JAm It!): Nationalism: Hyper and Post, Number 1 (May 2019), pp. 26-54. Available at:


“Southerners Divided: The Opposition of Mississippi Whigs to Texas Annexation during the Presidential Election of 1844 as portrayed by The Republican of Woodville, Mississippi,” Journal of Mississippi History, Volume LXXX, No. 3 and No. 4 (Fall/ Winter 2018), pp. 133-153. Available at:


“The Forgotten and the Unforgettable: The Imperial Presidencies of James Knox Polk and Franklin Delano Roosevelt,” White House Studies, Volume 14, Issue 2 (2018), pp. 131-145.


“Through the Eyes of the Enemy: Why Henry Clay Lost the Presidential Election of 1844 through the Lens of The Daily Argus of Portland, Maine,” Maine History, Volume 50, Number 1(Winter 2016), pp. 58-78. Available at:


“A Northern Great Society? A Comparative Study of Two Illinois Newspapers on School Desegregation from 1968 to 1969,” Journal of Illinois History, Volume 18, Number 4 (Winter 2015), pp. 277-292.


Book Entries and Book Reviews

“2020 Presidential Election,” Encyclopedia of the American Presidency, edited by Michael Genovese and Alison Howard, 2020 Update, Forthcoming.


Richard Ellis, Old Tip vs. the Sly Fox: The 1840 Election and the Making of a Partisan Nation, H-Nationalism, H-Net Reviews, October, 2020. Available at:


David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler, The Rise of Andrew Jackson: Myth, Manipulation, and the Making of Modern Politics for Ohio Valley HistoryVolume 19, Number 1 (Spring 2019), pp. 94-96.


Gregory P. Downs, After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War for Southern Historian: A Journal of Southern History, Volume XXXVIII (Spring 2017), pp. 104-105.


Damian Alan Pargas, Slavery and Forced Migration in the Antebellum South for History: The Journal of the Historical Association, Volume 102, Issue 349 (January 2017), pp. 167-169.Also available at:


Op-eds, Blog Posts, Biographies and Interviews:

Invited for radio interview as presidential historian on Franklin D. Roosevelt, talkRADIO, The Independent Republic of Mike Graham, February 24, 2021, time stamp 2.31 – 2.40,


Invited to write: “Donald Trump impeachment trial: how the process will unfold in the US Senate,” The Conversation, February, 9, 2021,


“Why Donald Trump’s impeachment should not be as meaningless as Andrew Jackson’s censure,” London School of Economics American Politics and Policy blog, January, 19, 2021,


“How Politicizing the Postal Service got America in Trouble Before,” OXPOL: The Oxford University Politics Blog, Ballot Box 2020: The US Election, October 31, 2020,


Interviewed by Holly Honderich for article: “How to avoid another Trump-Biden ‘car-crash’ debate,” BBC, October 1, 2020,


“The spread of covid-19 in the South shows the risks of anti-intellectualism,” The Washington Post, August 4, 2020,


“Campaigning in a Crisis: Political Communication and Rhetoric during COVID-19,” APSA blog post for “RAISE the Vote” for the theme “Candidates, Campaigns, and Political Communication,” June 9, 2020, and


“President Trump’s demand for a full arena reveals that party conventions still matters,” The Washington Post, May 27, 2020,


Interviewed by Andrew Buncombe for article: “Wipeout: What would it take for Trump to suffer historic landslide defeat in 2020?” The Independent, May 23, 2020,


“A deadly combination of states’ rights and racism means that many US states are choosing personal freedom over life,” London School of Economics American Politics and Policy blog, May 22, 2020,


“Trump’s immigration ban is another page in the long story of xenophobia in America,” London School of Economics American Politics and Policy blog, April 24, 2020,


“Past defeats helped Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders,” The Washington Post, March 10, 2020,


“Primary Primers: After contests in the mostly white states of Iowa and New Hampshire, Democratic candidates now face real test in Nevada and South Carolina,” London School of Economics American Politics and Policy blog, February 19, 2020,


“Trump’s war on the Fed could hurt his reelection chances,” The Washington Post, January 29, 2020,


Interviewed by Alexa Tirapelli for article: “Donald Trump: 3 Years as President,” News-O-Matic, January 17, 2020.


“Biographical Sketch of Elizabeth Colley,” Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920, 2019,


“The history behind Lindsey Graham’s about-face on President Trump,” The Washington Post, October 11, 2019,


“What happens when racism and executive overreach intersect in the Oval Office: It happened during Andrew Jackson’s administration, with fatal consequences,” The Washington Post, July 16, 2019,


Interviewed by Steve LeVine for article: “The 2020 trade war president,” Axios, June 7, 2019,


“Why Russia sees the NRA as key to manipulating American politics,”The Washington Post, December 19, 2018,


“Colin Kaepernick scored with Nike. So why can’t he score with the NFL?” The Washington Post, December 12, 2018,


Interviewed by Heather Timmons for article: “OZ & A: What history says to expect from America’s violently divided midterms,” Quartz, November 1, 2018


“The ‘Othering’ of American Politicians: Trump’s Tropes Have a Long History,” Clio: Newsletter of Politics & History section of the American Political Science Association, Vol. 28, Issue 1 (Winter 2018-19).


“The Kavanaughs of the Founding generation,” The Washington Post, October 8, 2018,


“It’s not just Confederate monuments that need to come down,” The Washington Post, August 10, 2018,


“How Bobby Kennedy’s assassination still shapes American politics,” The Washington Post, June 6, 2018,


“How Donald Trump put an end to the GOP’s Southern strategy,” The Washington Post, January 10, 2018,


“What Donald Trump can learn from Andrew Jackson’s reelection,” The Washington Post, November 16, 2017,


“Beauvoir, The Last Home of Jefferson Davis,” Muster, June 6, 2017, The Journal of the Civil War Era,


“‘Now let him enforce it’: The long history of the imperial presidency,” History@Work, March 27, 2017, National Council on Public History,


“At least as reliable as Andrew Jackson,” The Daily Princetonian, November 8, 2016, Princeton University,

Media Coverage See Missouri Humanities panel discussion July 10, 2020
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, 20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
American Presidents, Politics