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Reeve Huston, Associate Professor

Reeve Huston

My teaching, thinking, and writing center on U.S. political history and on the history of capitalism.  In the latter interest, I teach and write in both US and global/comparative history.  I teach several courses in these fields: a two-semester survey of U.S. political history, the History of Capitalism in the United States, a gateway seminar called Capitalism and its Critics, and courses in the global and transnational history of capitalism.  My undergraduate courses are all more or less “flipped”: discussion occupies the vast majority of class energy, with brief lectures making an occasional appearance.  Course readings are a mix of documents and historians’ interpretations.

I am currently writing a book called Reforging American Democracy: Political Practices in the United States, 1812-1840.  This period witnessed the simultaneous appearance of several kinds of democratic  movements: Jacksonian and anti-Jacksonian parties, evangelical reform (temperance, abolitionism, etc.), a new African American radicalism in the North, Antimasonry, the Workingmen’s party, and numerous movements for autonomy among Native Americans.  Each of these movements sought to educated and mobilize mass constituencies, and all claimed to be trying to enforce the will of “the people” in public affairs.  But they all used dramatically different practices in doing so, and each condemned the methods of its competitors.  Reforging American Democracy explains why and how these competing democratic practices and ideals emerged at the same time and examines what was at stake in these conflicts.  In the process, it seeks to rethink a critical period in American political development by tracing how electoral democracy interacted with alternate political repertoires.

I have also written about conflicts over the distribution of land in the nineteenth century US, an interest I plan to pursue on a global scale in the future.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  212 Classroom Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:  (919) 684-3014
Email Address: send me a message

Teaching (Fall 2024):

    Class Bldg 101, TuTh 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
    (also cross-listed as ICS 179S.01)
  • HISTORY 362.01, U S POLITICAL HST 1900-PRESENT Synopsis
    East Duke 204D, TuTh 03:05 PM-04:20 PM
Office Hours:

Mondays 3-5 PM

Ph.D.Yale University1995
M.A.Yale University1985
B.A.Wesleyan University1982

Labor and Working Class History
Politics, Public Life and Governance
United States and Canada
Research Interests:

My research focuses on the emergence of two-party democracy in the United States--a process that took place between the 1790s and the 1840s. My current book project examines the origins of Jacksonian democracy. I also think and write about social and political conflicts over the distribution of land in North America during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Areas of Interest:

American political history
American rural history
American social history
American labor history
American reform movements
Early American republic
Antebellum U.S.

Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Huston, R, Capitalism at the center and on the margins, Reviews in American History, vol. 44 no. 4 (December, 2016), pp. 569-574, Johns Hopkins University Press [doi]
  2. Huston, R, Origins of Jacksonian Democracy: American Political Practices,, 1812-1840 (2016)
  3. Huston, R, Land Conflict and Land Policy in the United States, 1785-1841, in The World of the American Revolutionary Republic: Land, Labor, and the Conflict for a Continent, edited by Shankman, A (March, Submitted, 2014), Routledge
  4. Huston, R, Rethinking 1828: The Emergence of Competing Democracies in the United States, in Contested Democracy: Participation and Contestation in the English-speaking World, edited by Avril, E; Neem, J (Submitted, 2014), Routledge
  5. Huston, R, Rethinking the Origins of Partisan Democracy in the United States, 1795-1840, in Practicing Democracy: Popular Politics in the United States from the Constitution to the Civil War, edited by Smith, AIP; Peart, D (Submitted, 2014), forthcoming, University Press of Virginia

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