Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of Mississippi
Website URL
American Presidential Elections, Democratization, Populism, Imperial Presidency, Transformational Presidency,
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Personal Info

About Me

Dr. Laura Ellyn Smith 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.

Recent Publications

Journal Articles:

“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.


“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 Reviews

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:

“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,


“Miss Elizabeth Colley,” Women and Social Movements in the United States (WASM): Online Biographical Dictionary of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the United States, (New York: SUNY Binghamton) Forthcoming in Fall 2020.


“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
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, 20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
American Presidents, Politics