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Erik B. Alexander

Erik B. Alexander

Assistant Professor
Peck Hall Room 0227


Erik Alexander is an assistant professor in the department of historical studies. He was previously research assistant professor in history and an assistant editor of the papers of Andrew Jackson at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and did his graduate work at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Dr. Alexander specializes in nineteenth-century United States history, especially the antebellum through the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. His research focuses broadly on party politics and political developments, with special interest in the intersections between social and political change, the coming of the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Dr. Alexander is currently at work on his first book-length project, a revision of his doctoral dissertation entitled Revolution Forestalled: The North and Reconstruction, 1865–1876. The book is a study of northern politics in the post-war years, especially the northern Democratic Party. It explores the waning commitment of the North to sustaining Reconstruction as an explanation for the failure of the federal government to preserve civil, social, and economic equality for newly-freed African Americans in the South.

Research Focus and Interests

Nineteenth-century United States
Civil War and Reconstruction
Antebellum and Jacksonian Eras
Party Politics and Political History
Documentary Editing

Courses Taught

HIST 200: United States History and Constitution to 1877
HIST 338: The Civil War and Reconstruction
HIST 443: Origins of the American Civil War


Ph.D., University of Virginia
M.A., University of Virginia
B.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Selected Publications

Assistant Editor, The Papers of Andrew Jackson, Volume IX: 1831, with Daniel Feller, Laura-Eve Moss, and Thomas Coens (University of Tennessee Press, 2013).

“The Fate of Northern Democrats After the Civil War: Another Look at the Presidential Election of 1868,” in A Political Nation: New Directions in Mid-Nineteenth-Century American Political History, Gary W. Gallagher and Rachel Shelden, eds. (University of Virginia Press, 2012):188–213.

“‘The Democracy Must Prepare for Battle’: Know-Nothingism in Alabama and Southern Politics, 1851–1859,” Southern Historian 27 (Spring 2006):23–39.

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