Bedrosian Director wins journal award for analysis of American West settlers

By Matthew Kredell

In the early history of the United States, settlers moved west into unsurveyed land and built homes and farms without regard to land title.

As the country expanded, one of the federal government’s chief means of acquiring revenue was the sale of public land. When the government put land up for auction, frontier settlers were at risk of losing their homes or farms.

Researchers gather to discuss methods for causal arguments in the study of the history of American Politics

by Nathan K. Micatka and Nicholas Napolio 

While the field of political science may seem staid to outsiders, it has evolved significantly in terms of research methods over the last 40 years. The behaviorally based studies that dominated in the 1970s gave rise to the subfield of American Political Development (APD) in the 1980s as a way to more fully realize and incorporate the study of history and institutions. APD scholars made narrative-based causal arguments to understand the history of American politics. Over the past decade, a trend toward more data-oriented studies of causal relationships has emerged …

New paper: Distributive politics and congressional voting: public lands reform in the Jacksonian era

New paper published: “Distributive politics and congressional voting: public lands reform in the Jacksonian era” by Sean Gailmard, Jeffery A. Jenkins

During the 1830s, Congress passed a series of laws reforming U.S. policy on acquiring public lands. These laws established a federal land policy of preemption, under which squatters on public land obtained legal title to it in exchange for payment of a minimum (and low) price per acre. Preemption significantly liberalized the terms of land ownership in the U.S. We analyze roll call voting on the preemption acts in Congress from a distributive politics perspective …