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Erik B. Alexander

Erik B. Alexander photograph

Assistant Professor
Graduate Program Co-Director
Cooperative Doctoral Program Coordinator
Peck Hall Room 0227


Erik Alexander joined SIUE in 2013 as an assistant professor in the Department of Historical Studies. 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 finishing a book manuscript, tentatively titled Revolution Forestalled: Northern Democrats and the Politics of Reconstruction, 1865–1877, a study of Northern politics in the post-war years, especially the Northern Democratic Party. It explores the waning commitment of white Northerners 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 following the Civil War.

Research Focus and Interests

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

Courses Taught

HIST 200: United States History and Constitution to 1877
HIST 300: Abraham Lincoln's America, 1809-1865
HIST 300: The Rise and Fall of the Slave South
HIST 301: Historical Methods
HIST 337: The Coming of the Civil War
HIST 338: The Civil War and Reconstruction
HIST 401: Historical Research
HIST 444: The Civil War Era
HIST 500a: Graduate Seminar in American History
HIST 556: Graduate Seminar in Historical Research
HONS 320A: Abraham Lincoln and American Memory


PhD, University of Virginia
MA, University of Virginia
BA, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Selected Publications

Revolution Forestalled: Northern Democrats and the Politics of Reconstruction, 1865–1877 (book manuscript, in progress).

“Reconstruction on Film: Free State of Jones and the Memory of Reconstruction,” in Modern Film and the Historical South, Bryan Jack, ed. (University Press of Kentucky, under review).

“Politics of the Civil War and Reconstruction,” in The Oxford Handbook of American Political and Policy History, Paula Baker and Donald T. Critchlow, eds. (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

“The New Departure: The Northern Democratic Press and Reconstruction,” in After the War: The Press in a Changing America, 1865–1900, David B. Sachsman, ed. (Transaction Publishers, 2017):21–30.

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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