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SHEAR 2011
Posted on August 5, 2011 by Eric Beck

It was my privilege to attend SHEAR (Society for the Historians of the Early American Republic) last month in Philadelphia.  I gave a short presentation on the New Nation Votes project in conjunction with two papers that have made good use of our data.

The first was from David Houpt, a graduate student at the Graduate Center at City University New York.  His paper, “Critical Masses: Celebratory Politics and Political Mobilization in the Congressional Election of 1794″ discussed the rather surprising win of a Republican candidate in, what until then, had been the Federalist stronghold of Philadelphia.  His paper made use of these election results, with special detail on the ward level results.

The other paper was from Daniel Peart.  Entitled “An ‘Era of No Feelings’? Rethinking the Periodization of Early U.S. Politics”, it made use of a variety of elections throughout the Era of Good Feelings (1815 – 1824), measuring voter turnout in all of the existing states and refuting the notion that voter turnout declined as the Republican party gained a stronghold and Federalist competition declined, instead showing that the areas with the highest turnout were the areas with the least amount of Federalist competition.  Daniel recently completed his PhD at University College London and will start this month as a lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London.  He was inspired to pursue this idea when he heard a presentation at the 14th Annual Conference of The Association of British American 19th Century Historians given by Phil and the previous coordinator, Krista Ferrante.

I added a bit of context about the site and showed off one particularly interesting election – the 1824 North Carolina Presidential Election which contravenes the long-held notion that Andrew Jackson was the clear winner of the 1824 election.

Overall, it was a great opportunity to connect with the scholars who are making use of this project and to get some valuable feedback as well.  One result: a new feature on the home page that notes what the most recently updated data is.

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