About

I am the Edward Orsborn Professor of United States Politics & Political History at the University of Oxford, and (from 1 October 2019) Director of the Rothermere American Institute. I’m also a fellow of University College Oxford. Between 2002 and 2019 I taught at  University College London (UCL) and before that at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and Queen Mary, University of London. I got my BA from Oxford, MA from Sheffield and  PhD from Cambridge (1999). In 2009, I was a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Between 2011 and 2016 I served as the Honorary Secretary of the Royal Historical Society, which represents scholarly historians in the UK. I am currently a board member of the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission, which awards scholarships to US students wishing to study in the UK.

I regularly write and present documentaries — mainly on BBC Radio 4 — and I write for various magazines and websites. (You can read some recent articles here.)

My specialism is the history of the United States in the nineteenth century. In 2017, the University of North Carolina Press published my latest book, The Stormy Present: Conservatism and the Problem of Slavery in Northern Politics, 1846-1865. My previous books include No Party Now: Politics in the Civil War North (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006). (If you like, you can watch a video of me giving a lecture about that book here.)  I’m also the author of The American Civil War (New York: Palgrave, 2007), of  a short biography of Abraham Lincoln published by the History Press in 2014, and of the Connell Guide to the American Civil War (2017). I also contributed to an AHRC-funded Images of America project and to a book on the global image of Abraham Lincoln. Details of my books are here.

I take a close interest in education policy and especially university admissions and school history teaching.

I was born in Durham and I live in St Albans with my wife Caroline and three lovely daughters: Rosie, Eleanor and Lucy.

I can be contacted by email at a.i.p.smith@ucl.ac.uk