Harvard Kennedy School


Alexandar Keyssar: Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College?


Harvard Kennedy School
Matthew W. Stirling, Jr. Professor of History and Social Policy

Alexander Keyssar is the Matthew W. Stirling Jr. Professor of History and Social Policy. An historian by training, he has specialized in the explanation of issues that have contemporary policy implications. His book, The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States (2000), was named the best book in U.S. history by both the American Historical Association and the Historical Society; it was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. A significantly revised and updated edition of The Right to Vote was published in 2009. His 1986 book, Out of Work: The First Century of Unemployment in Massachusetts, was awarded three scholarly prizes. Keyssar is coauthor of The Way of the Ship: America's Maritime History Reenvisioned, 1600-2000 (2008), and of Inventing America, a text integrating the history of technology and science into the mainstream of American history. In addition, he is coeditor of a series on Comparative and International Working-Class History. In 2004/5, Keyssar chaired the Social Science Research Council's National Research Commission on Voting and Elections, and writes frequently for the popular press about American politics and history. Keyssar's current research interests include election reform, the history of democracies, and the history of poverty.

Selected Publications

Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles

Keyssar, Alexander. "How Americans Vote." Election Law Journal: Rules, Politics, and Policy 10.4 (December 2011): 471-473.


  • Keyssar, Alexander. "The Strange Career of Voter Suppression." New York Times, February 12, 2012.
  • Keyssar, Alexander. "The Real Grand Bargain, Coming Undone." Washington Post, August 19, 2011.

Magazine and Newspaper Articles

Keyssar, Alexander. "The Balancing Act of Barack Obama." Estudos e Análises de Conjuntura. January 2011, 1-10.

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