Richard Bensel (Ph.D. Cornell University) is Associate Chair and the Gary S. Davis Professor of Government. His primary fields are American politics and political economy.
His research and teaching interests include American political development, parties and elections, the United States Congress, comparative state formation, political culture, and institutional change.
He is the author of, most recently, Passion and Preferences: William Jennings Bryan and the 1896 Democratic National Convention (Cambridge University Press, 2008), The American Ballot Box in the Mid-Nineteenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2004), and The Political Economy of American Industrialization, 1877-1900 (Cambridge University Press, 2000). The last book was awarded the 2002 David Greenstone Prize from the Politics and History Section of the American Political Science Association and was selected by Choice as one of the “Outstanding Academic Titles of 2001” in Economics.
Among his other publications are Yankee Leviathan: The Origins of Central State Authority in America, 1859-1877 (Cambridge University Press, 1991) and Sectionalism and American Political Development, 1880-1980 (University of Wisconsin Press, 1984), as well as articles in the American Political Science Review, Polity, Studies in American Political Development, Social Science History, and many edited volumes and collections.
Current research includes preparation of several book manuscripts: The Material Construction of Courage: The Political Economy of Violence in the American South, 1865-1900 and States out of Nature: The Legislative Founding of Democracies.