Reeve Huston

Reeve Huston

Associate Professor of History

External address: 
212 Carr Bldg, Durham, NC 27710
Internal office address: 
Box 90719, Durham, NC 27708-0719
(919) 684-2271


My teaching, thinking, and writing center on U.S. political history and on the history of capitalism.  In the latter interest, I teach and write in both US and global/comparative history.  I teach several courses in these fields: a two-semester survey of U.S. political history, the History of Capitalism in the United States, a gateway seminar called Capitalism and its Critics, and courses in the global and transnational history of capitalism.  My undergraduate courses are all more or less “flipped”: discussion occupies the vast majority of class energy, with brief lectures making an occasional appearance.  Course readings are a mix of documents and historians’ interpretations.

I am currently writing a book called Reforging American Democracy: Political Practices in the United States, 1812-1840.  This period witnessed the simultaneous appearance of several kinds of democratic  movements: Jacksonian and anti-Jacksonian parties, evangelical reform (temperance, abolitionism, etc.), a new African American radicalism in the North, Antimasonry, the Workingmen’s party, and numerous movements for autonomy among Native Americans.  Each of these movements sought to educated and mobilize mass constituencies, and all claimed to be trying to enforce the will of “the people” in public affairs.  But they all used dramatically different practices in doing so, and each condemned the methods of its competitors.  Reforging American Democracy explains why and how these competing democratic practices and ideals emerged at the same time and examines what was at stake in these conflicts.  In the process, it seeks to rethink a critical period in American political development by tracing how electoral democracy interacted with alternate political repertoires.

I have also written about conflicts over the distribution of land in the nineteenth century US, an interest I plan to pursue on a global scale in the future.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Yale University 1995

  • M.A., Yale University 1985

  • B.A., Wesleyan University 1982

Selected Grants

Reforging American Democracy: Political Practice in the United States, 1812-1840 awarded by American Antiquarian Society (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2018

Huston, R. “Land Conflict and Land Policy in the United States, 1785-1841.” In The World of the American Revolutionary Republic: Land, Labor, and the Conflict for a Continent, edited by Andrew Shankman. Routledge, 2014.

Huston, R. “Rethinking the Origins of Partisan Democracy in the United States, 1795-1840.” In Practicing Democracy: Popular Politics in the United States from the Constitution to the Civil War, edited by Adam I. P. Smith and Daniel Peart. forthcoming, University Press of Virginia, 2014.

Huston, R. “Rethinking 1828: The Emergence of Competing Democracies in the United States.” In Contested Democracy: Participation and Contestation in the English-Speaking World, edited by Emmanuelle Avril and Johann Neem. Routledge, 2014.

Huston, R. “Multiple Crossings: Thomas Devyr and the American Fate of British Agrarianism.” In Transatlantic Rebels: Agrarian Radicalism in Comparative Context, edited by James C. Scott and Thomas Summerhill. Michigan State University Press, 2004.

Huston, R. “Popular Movements and Party Politics: The Case of the New York Anti-Rent Wars.” In Beyond the Founders: Explorations in the Politics of the Early American Republic, edited by Jeffrey Pasley, Andrew Robertson, and David Waldstreicher. University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

Huston, R. “Capitalism at the center and on the margins.” Reviews in American History 44, no. 4 (December 1, 2016): 569–74. Full Text

Huston, R. “That’s No Guppy, That’s Leviathan: Rethinking the Nineteenth-Century American State.” Reviews in American History 39 (Sept. 2011) (2011).

Huston, R. “What We Talk About When We Talk About Democracy: Reengaging the American Democratic Tradition.” Common Place: The Interactive Journal of Early American Life, October 2008.

Huston, R. “The "Little Magician" after the show: Martin Van Buren, country gentleman and progressive farmer, 1841-1862.” New York History 85, no. 2 (December 1, 2004): 93–121.

Huston, R. “review of Joanne Freeman, Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic.” American Nineteenth Century History 3 (2002): 98–100.

Huston, R. “Battling over the Boundaries of the American Electorate.” Reviews in American History 29 (2001): 628–34.

Huston, R. “The Parties and ’the People’: The New York Anti-Rent Wars and the Contours of Jacksonian Politics.” Journal of the Early Republic 20 (2000): 241–71.

Fall 2019

Capitalism In The U.s. (HISTORY 363)
East Duke 204D, TuTh 11:45 AM-01:00 PM
Labor/cptlsm/bus Cultr (Top) (HISTORY 790S-11)
Branson 202, Th 03:05 PM-05:35 PM

Spring 2019

Alexander Hamilton (HISTORY 309)
Class Bldg 240, MW 03:05 PM-04:20 PM

Fall 2018

U S Political Hst 1900-Present (HISTORY 362)
Soc/Psych 129, WF 01:25 PM-02:40 PM

Fall 2017

Gtwy Sem-Meaning Of Freedom (HISTORY 177S)
West Duke 108A, WF 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
Capitalism In The U.s. (HISTORY 363)
Allen 326, TuTh 10:05 AM-11:20 AM

Spring 2017

Alexander Hamilton (HISTORY 309)
West Duke 202, WF 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
Capitalism In The U.s. (HISTORY 363)
West Duke 105, WF 01:25 PM-02:40 PM

Fall 2016

U S Political Hst 1900-Present (HISTORY 362)
Bio Sci 155, WF 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
Labor/cptlsm/bus Cultr (Top) (HISTORY 790S-11)
White 104, W 03:05 PM-05:35 PM

Spring 2016

History Of U.s. Neoliberalism (HISTORY 510S)
White 105, W 03:05 PM-05:35 PM
Capitalism In The U.s. (HISTORY 363)
Languages 211, WF 01:25 PM-02:40 PM

Spring 2015

First-Year Seminar (Top) (HISTORY 89S)
Friedl Bdg 118, W 03:05 PM-05:35 PM
The New Nation (HISTORY 338)
Soc/Psych 127, WF 01:25 PM-02:40 PM

Fall 2014

U.s. Political History To 1900 (HISTORY 361)
Languages 211, WF 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
Gtwy Sem-Capitalism & Critics (HISTORY 179S)
White 106, W 03:05 PM-05:35 PM