Miller Center

Miller Center National Fellowship

Beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year, the National Fellowship Program, a longstanding initiative of the Miller Center, will fall under the leadership of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation at U.Va.. The Jefferson Scholars Foundation, created in 1980, currently offers the premier graduate fellowship and undergraduate scholarship at the University. To learn more about the National Fellows Program, including how to apply, click here.

Meet The Fellows

Ariel David Adesnik - History, Oxford University

Project: The Rebirth of American Democracy Promotion: Carter and Reagan in Central America

Adesnik photo

Fellowship year: 2005

Mentor: Melvyn Leffler, University of Virginia

David Adesnik is Policy Director at the Foreign Policy Initiative.

He focuses on defense and strategy issues. Previously, Adesnik was a visiting fellow at the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. For two years, he served as deputy director for Joint Data Support at the U.S. Department of Defense, where he focused on the modeling and simulation of irregular warfare and counterinsurgency. Adesnik also spent several years as research staff member at the Institute for Defense Analyses. In that capacity, he spent several months in Baghdad as an operations research and systems analyst for Multinational Corps–Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2008, he was part of the foreign policy and national security staff for John McCain’s presidential campaign. 

Adesnik's academic interests include the impact of rhetoric on foreign policy, democracy promotion, and Latin America. He received his Ph.D. and Masters of Philosophy from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. His dissertation focused on the Reagan administration’s approach to democracy promotion. David received a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the Council on Foreign Relations, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Harvard University, and the University of Virginia. His work has been published in Foreign Policy, The Weekly Standard, The National Review, The Washington Free Beacon, The Washington Quarterly, Forbes.com, FoxNews.com and The Daily Caller. David has served as a commentator on several cable television networks and radio programs.

Selected Recent Publications

"The Logic of American Exceptionalism.The Journal of International Security Affairs, no. 26 (Spring/Summer 2014).

"Rand Paul Sees No Threat From Terrorist Safe Havens In Iraq.Forbes, June 20, 2014.

"O’s Counterterrorism Fund.National Review Online, June 4, 2014.


Saladin Ambar - Political Science, Rutgers University

Project: The Rise of the Hudson Progressives: How Governors Helped Shape the Modern Presidency

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Fellowship year: 2008

Mentor: Sidney Milkis, University of Virginia

Saladin Ambar is Associate Professor of Political Science at Lehigh University.

He teaches courses in American politics on the American presidency and governorship, race and American political development, and political parties and elections. Professor Ambar is the author of How Governors Built the Modern American Presidency (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012) which won the Robert C. and Virginia L. Williamson Prize in the Social Sciences, and the newly released Malcolm X at Oxford Union: Racial Politics in a Global Era (Oxford University Press, 2014).  He is currently working on a book about the political career and thought of former New York Governor, Mario M. Cuomo. Since his arrival in 2009, Professor Ambar has been active in Lehigh's Africana Studies program where he has taught courses in Black Political Thought, along with a First Year Seminar on the Political Philosophy of Barack Obama.

Ambar's dissertation explored how pre-presidential executive office and leading Progressive Era state executives built a line of practices that reinvigorated and expanded the scope of presidential action. The central case studies of Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt's governorships are examined against a backdrop of shifting executive practices, exemplified by such instrumental governors as Grover Cleveland, Bob LaFollette, and Hiram Johnson. This study challenged the presumption of the modern presidency's origins. It posited that the modern American presidency cannot be fully apprehended without recognition of its ties to developments launched by state executives.

Selected Recent Publications

Malcolm X at Oxford Union (Oxford University Press, 2014)

How Governors Built the Modern American Presidency (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012)

Malcolm X at the Oxford Union.” Race and Class (London, UK: April, 2012): 24-38.


Emily Charnock - Political Science, University of Virginia

Project: From Ghosts to Shadows: The National Party Organizations and Interest Groups

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Emily Charnock is the Keasbey Research Fellow in American Studies at Selwyn College at the University of Cambridge.

In her dissertation, “From Ghosts to Shadows: The National Party Organizations and Interest Groups,” Charnock explores the institutional impact of the relationship between key interest groups and the parties with which they have traditionally been allied. Her project promises to inform our current debate about the way interest groups like the Tea Party or labor can drive the political debate and party’s agendas. Charnock has published a co-authored piece in Political Science Quarterly.

Selected Recent Publications

"The Second Emancipation Proclamation." Virginia Quarterly Review, August 28, 2013.

"What happened to post-partisanship? Barack Obama and the New American Party System." with Sidney M. Milkis, Perspectives on Politics 10, no. 1 (2012): 57-76.

"What to Expect in the Second Term: Presidential Travel and the Rise of Legacy Building, 1957-2009." with James A. McCann and Dunn Tenpas, Brookings Institute: Issues in Governance Studies 54 (December 2012)


Daniel Galvin - Political Science, Yale University

Project: Presidential Party Building in the United States

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Daniel Galvin is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Northwestern University.

His research focuses on the development of political institutions, political organizations, and public policy in the United States. He is the author of Presidential Party Building: Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush (Princeton University Press, 2010), numerous scholarly articles and book chapters, and coeditor of Rethinking Political Institutions: the Art of the State (NYU Press, 2006). His current research examines the effects of organized labor’s decline on public policy, party politics, and the working poor.

Galvin has won the “Emerging Scholar Award” from the American Political Science Association’s Political Organizations and Parties section, the E. LeRoy Hall Award for Excellence in Teaching from Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern, the R. Barry Farrell Teaching Award from the Department of Political Science, and was twice elected by the Northwestern student body to the Faculty Honor Roll. He currently serves as the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Political Science department and is affiliated with the Comparative-Historical Social Science program. He is a co-coordinator of the interdisciplinary Political Parties Working Group and the American Politics Workshop.

Galvin's dissertation examined the actions undertaken by presidents to change their parties, and finds that at best only half the story is in view. The aim of his dissertation was to demonstrate the fact that some modern presidents have acted more constructively with regard to their parties than others, to consider why this might be so, and to bring presidential party building into view as a component of modern American political development whose significance and variability is clearly evident in politics today.

Selected Recent Publications

Presidential Party Building: Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush, Princeton University Press (2010).

"Wage Theft, Public Policy, and the Politics of Workers' Rights," Institute for Policy Research Working Paper Series WP-15-08 (2015). 
"Qualitative Methods and American Political Development" in The Oxford Handbook of American Political Development, Richard Valelly, Suzanne Mettler, and Robert Lieberman, eds. (2015).

"Presidents as Agents of ChangePresidential Studies Quarterly 44, no. 1 (March 2014).


Evan D. McCormick - Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia

Project: "Between Revolution and Repression: U.S. Foreign Policy and Latin American Democracy, 1980-1989"

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Evan D. McCormick is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

He joined the CPH in August 2015. Evan's research focuses on the history of U.S.-Latin American relations during the Cold War, with a focus on the intersection of U.S. development policies, Latin American democracy, and human rights. Evan is currently expanding his research and writing interests in presidential and public history through involvement in the CPH's Collective Memory Project, an oral history program that focuses on specific aspects of the administration of George W. Bush.

Before joining SMU, Evan was a dissertation fellow at the Miller Center and an Eisenhower/Roberts Fellow of the Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College. He was the recipient of the University of Virginia's Albert Gallatin Graduate Research Fellowship and a junior fellow in the University of Virginia Society of Fellows. 

Evan received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia in 2015.

His dissertation, “Beyond Revolution and Repression: U.S. Foreign Policy and Latin American Democracy, 1980-1989,” explored the history of U.S. efforts to promote democracy amidst Latin American civil conflicts during the Reagan years. Evan earned an M.A. in international relations from Yale University (2007) and a B.A. in international relations from Boston University (2003).  Before returning to academia, he served as a policy analyst at the Department of Homeland Security where he specialized in U.S.-Latin American security issues. His work has appeared in The Journal of Cold War Studies.

Selected Recent Publications

"Freedom Tide? Ideology, Politics, and the Origins of Democracy Promotion in U.S. Central America Policy, 1980–1984." Journal of Cold War Studies 16, no. 4 (Fall 2014)


Patrick O’Brien - Political Science, Yale University

Project: "The Unitary Executive as an Historical Variable: Presidential Control and Public Finance"

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Patrick O'Brien's dissertation, “The Unitary Executive as an Historical Variable: Presidential Control and Public Finance,” examines the policy domain of public finance – broadly defined to include expenditures, receipts, and money and banking or, in modern terms, fiscal policy and monetary policy – in order to demonstrate that presidential control over administration varies in broad historical patterns. Specifically, using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, O'Brien provides an overview of four historical systems of administration for public finance, describing what he terms the New Deal era apparatus (1933-1980) and the Reagan era apparatus (1981-present) during the modern period and the Founding era apparatus (1789-1828) and the Jackson era apparatus (1829-1860) during the early period. Moreover, O'Brien shows how presidential control varies not only across eras but also within eras, unfolding as a process of innovation, stabilization, and constraint.

 

The theory and findings from O'Brien's dissertation call into question the foundation of the unitary executive framework, the leading political science approach to studying the presidency. Rather than assume that all presidents maintain the same, fixed structural advantages relative to the other branches of government – a first-mover advantage, a collective-action advantage, and an informational advantage – and then focus on standard political variables such as party control of the presidency, congressional support, and popular support, he provides a theory that explains why these very structural advantages change over time. Additionally, O'Brien demonstrates empirically that a change in structural advantages is a stronger indicator of a change in policy than are any of the standard political variables. 


Robert Rakove - History, University of Virginia

Project: Befriending the Nonaligned: Kennedy, Johnson and the Neutral Powers

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Robert Rakove is a Lecturer in History at Stanford University.

Rakove studies the history of U.S. foreign relations.  His book, Kennedy, Johnson, and the Nonaligned World examines a critical period in the history of the relationship between the United States and the postcolonial world.  He is broadly interested in the interaction between the Cold War and decolonization.  

Rakove's dissertation examined the goals and strategies behind the policy of nonalignment, as well as its impact on world events in the 1960s. More broadly, this project pondered the dilemmas posed by efforts to reach beyond existing geopolitical relationships. Inevitably, it must consider basic structural questions: were the nonaligned states, each fielding major regional aspirations, viable partners for Washington? Were there inherent structural obstacles that could not be overcome? The dilemmas of great power status were central to this project, and the lessons we might learn from studying the challenges faced by Kennedy and Johnson bear some relevance in today's multipolar world.

Selected Recent Publications

Kennedy, Johnson, and the Nonaligned World (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Two Roads to Belgrade: The United States, Great Britain and the First Nonaligned Conference.” Cold War History 14, No. 3 (2014) 337-357


Jesse Rhodes - Political Science, University of Virginia

Project: Making the Educational State: The Transformation of Educational Governance in the U.S. from a Nation at Risk to No Child Left Behind

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Jesse Rhodes is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Rhodes's major areas of scholarly interest are social policy (especially education policy), political parties, and the American presidency. His book, An Education in Politics: The Origins and Evolution of No Child Left Behind, has been published by Cornell University Press. With support from the Spencer Foundation, he is also analyzing the effects of education standards, testing, and accountability policies on citizenship; and with a Faculty Research Grant, I am investigating patterns of presidential partisan rhetoric. His research on political parties includes a longterm project, with Sidney Milkis, on the developing relationship between the presidency and the political parties during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama; and a multi-article study, with Shamira Gelbman, of the factors that inhibit or permit parties to embrace new positions on racial issues. 

Rhodes' dissertation blended historical and quantitative methods to model the development of new governing arrangements in education at the state and federal levels from the late 1970s to the present. As it showed, a national reform coalition composed of business elites, governors, and conservative intellectuals set a new agenda for education policy stressing high standards and accountability for results, profoundly shaping the trajectory of state educational policymaking during the 1980s and 1990s. However, the structure of opportunities and constraints provided by a diverse federal polity mediated the diffusion of the new educational agenda, helped create feedback loops that led to the reformulation of educational agendas and the refocusing of reformers on national government involvement, influenced the formation of new educational coalitions and organizations, and provided platforms and prestige for strategically placed individuals and groups to shape both state and national education debates. This policy feedback fed the increasing nationalization of educational governance, culminating in No Child Left Behind (NCLB), that has characterized the past two decades. However, states' commitment to the reform agenda have continued to be mediated by their unique political and racial environments, producing a patchwork of reform that belies NCLB's nationalizing pretensions.

Selected Recent Publications

"Financial Capacity, Ideology, and Political Donors in an Era of Deregulation." with Brian F Schaffner, Raymond J La Raja. (2016)

"Learning citizenship? How state education reforms affect parents’ political attitudes and behavior." Political Behavior 37, no. 1 (March 1, 2015): 181-220.

"The transformation of partisan rhetoric in American presidential campaigns, 1952–2012." with Zachary Albert. Party Politics (October 19, 2015)

An Education in Politics: The Origin and Development of No Child Left Behind (Cornell University Press, 2012).


Amanda Rothschild - Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Project: "Courage First: Dissent, Debate, and the Origins of US Responsiveness to Mass Killing"

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Amanda Rothschild’s dissertation, “Courage First: Dissent, Debate, and the Origins of US Responsiveness to Mass Killing,” proposes a novel theory explaining US policy in response to mass killing. Rothschild argues that the most critical factors historically responsible for shaping US policy include the degree of congressional pressure for action, the level at which dissent occurs within the government, and the extent to which the president views the atrocities as a political burden. To develop her theory, Rothschild investigates the policies of seven presidential administrations regarding five cases of mass killing: the Armenian Genocide of 1915; the Holocaust from 1938 to 1945; mass killings in Bangladesh in 1971; atrocities in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995; and the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. The presidential administrations under examination include the administrations of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush, and William Clinton. In developing her case studies, Rothschild draws on primary source documents from eight archives across the United States and on several oral history interviews. Her conclusions highlight the enduring role of dissent in shaping US policy on mass killing, the significance of individual leaders in international relations, and the critical relationship between domestic politics and foreign policy. Rothschild's findings not only provide new historical data and theoretical insights relevant to academic literature in political science, international relations, international security, and diplomatic history, but also offer novel ideas for understanding present day debates on US foreign policy, atrocity prevention, and human rights. 


Derek Webb - Political Science, University of Notre Dame

Project: Paving the Rights Infrastructure: Civic Education in the Presidencies of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt

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Fellowship year: 2007

Mentor: William Galston, The Brookings Institution

Derek Webb is Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University

Webb joined the Constitutional Law Center as a fellow in 2012.  He works in the fields of constitutional law, statutory interpretation, American political theory, and legal history.  His publications include articles in Law and History Review, the American Journal of Legal History, and the South Carolina Law Review, as well as a co-authored book about Anti-Federalists in New York.  Derek is the winner of the Warren E. Burger Prize from the American Inns of Court and the William B. Spong Moot Court Tournament at William and Mary Law School.  After receiving his B.A. in philosophy from Yale University, he earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Notre Dame and a J.D. from Georgetown University.  He has held research and teaching fellowships at the University of Virginia and Princeton University and summer clerkships in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.  In 2014 and 2015, Derek was a Supreme Court Fellowship in the Office of the Counselor to Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.

Through a comparative study of civic education in the presidencies of Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt, Webb extended and challenged the role of "liberal virtues" in American politics. In his dissertation, Webb extended the thesis that liberalism requires a range of civic virtues. Webb showed how different kinds of rights have required fundamentally different kinds of citizen virtue for their support. Challenging the thesis that liberalism embodies a comprehensive and self-sustaining conception of the good life, Webb showed how liberal ends have occasionally been achieved through reliance upon the moral ideals of complementary yet distinct non-liberal traditions.

Selected Recent Publications

Fitting Together Uneven Planks: The Constitution and the Spirit of Compromise, Constitution Daily, February 25, 2013.

Doubting a Little of One's Infallibility: The Real Miracle at Philadelphia, Constitution Daily, January 18, 2013.

The "Spirit of Amity": The Constitution's Cover Letter and Civic Friendship, Constitution Daily, December 13, 2012.


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