Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Oxford University
Website URL AND
Presidential Historian, American Elections, Political History, Foreign Policy, Domestic Policy, Democratization, Populism, Managerial Presidency, Presidential Power,
Additional Contact Information
She can also be reached at OR

Personal Info

About Me

Professor Laura Ellyn Smith is a presidential historian. She graduated with a Ph.D. in History from the University of Mississippi. Her thesis was entitled “Populism and Democratization in the Presidential Election of 1832.” This work has become the basis for her book “Rhetoric versus Reality: Democratization and the Presidential Election of 1832,” under contract.

She is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor teaching the American Presidency at Richmond, The American International University in London, as well as a Tutorial Instructor in U.S. History and Politics at the University of Oxford. From March 2020-May 2021, she taught American Race Relations and Politics at Canterbury Christ Church University. Her students at Canterbury Christ Church University nominated her for two teaching awards, Most Dedicated to Students’ Learning, and Most Dedicated to Supporting Students.

She is pursuing a second doctorate – a DPhil in U.S. History at Oxford University, St. Anne’s College, analyzing the development of presidential power in foreign policy at the turn of the 20th century. She is the recipient of the Philip Davies Fellowship in U.S. Politics at The British Library.

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 enjoys contributing to public history. See for example, Missouri Humanities panel on 19th century political parties:

See her ORCiD page for expanded CV:

She can also be found on LinkedIn:

Recent Publications


Rhetoric versus Reality: Democratization and the Presidential Election of 1832 (Under contract).

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.  

A Clash of Ideas: Presidential Election Policy Debates in 1832 Kentucky,” in The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, Vol. 119, No 3 (Summer, 2021), pp. 253-270. Available at:

“Trump and Congress,” in The Trump Administration: The President’s Legacy Within and Beyond America, ed. Toby S. James (Routledge: Oxford, 2022). Available at:

“Trump and Congress,” Policy Studies, Volume 42, Issue 5-6 (October 2021), pp. 528-543. Available at:

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

“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

“U.S. presidential election, 2020,” in Encyclopedia of the American Presidency, eds. Michael A. Genovese and Alison D. Howard, 4th edn (New York: Facts on File, [1994] 2021), pp. 3343-3349.

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:

NBC LX interview on President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign, April 25, 2023,

BBC News Live with Lucy Hockings, on President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign announcement, April 25, 2023,

Sky News Live TV with Kay Burley, on Donald Trump’s arraignment, April 5, 2023, Audio clip available:

Sky News Live TV with Sarah-Jane Mee, on Donald Trump’s arraignment, April 4, 2023, Audio clip available:

BBC News Live TV with Samantha Simmonds, on Donald Trump’s arraignment, April 4, 2023, 

BBC Radio 5 Live with Stephen Nolan, regarding Donald Trump’s indictment, March 31, 2023,

BBC Radio 5 Live with Colin Murray, Presidential History regarding Donald Trump’s legal jeopardy, March 22, 2023,

“Mike Pence is wrong about vice presidents testifying before Congress,” The Washington Post, August 26, 2022,

“Fixing Statuary Hall can’t fix our democracy by itself, but it could help,” The Washington Post, January 21, 2022,

Interviewed by Amber Phillips for her article: “What Democrats need to do to maintain power in 2022,” The Washington Post, November 24, 2021,

“Before Jan. 6, Trump’s allies chose a citadel of democracy for their war room,” The Washington Post, November 2, 2021,

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
BBC News Live TV interview:
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, 20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
American Presidents, Politics