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Colloq with Rachel A. Shelden

April 2, 2024, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm EDT

Join us on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, at 5:00 pm in the Cox classroom of the Reeder Media Center, lower level of Swem Library, as we welcome Rachel A. Shelden.

Professor Shelden will discuss “John Marshall and the Partisan Politics of Early America.”

This first chapter in Professor Shelden’s manuscript The Political Supreme Court explores the relationship between John Marshall and the fluid partisan political world at the turn of the nineteenth century. While Marshall is often portrayed as a clever institutionalist, who built up the power of the Supreme Court in his 35 years on the bench, this chapter argues that this picture of the Chief Justice projects the Marshall of the 1830s backward. Instead, Marshall’s early years on the bench should be understood as both contingent and deeply tied to partisan politics.

Rachel A. Shelden is an associate professor of history and the director of the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center at Penn State University. She is the author of Washington Brotherhood: Politics, Social Life, and the Coming of the Civil War (University of North Carolina Press, 2013) and co-editor of A Political Nation: New Directions in Mid-Nineteenth-Century American Political History (University of Virginia Press, 2012). Her current book project, The Political Supreme Court, has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon, the Virginia Historical Society, and the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress.

The OI holds between three and six colloquia per semester to discuss projects (usually a postdoctoral book chapter or article) in progress. The paper is pre-circulated and available by request. Although only postdoctoral work is presented, graduate students at all levels are warmly encouraged to attend the sessions and participate in the discussions.

To receive a copy of the pre-circulated paper you must register in advance. All colloq participants are expected to have read the paper before the discussion and are asked to refrain from sharing the papers with others. We thank you for your observance of this request.